Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts!

Massachusetts Moms (and other concerned voters): What are you doing after school drop off this Friday?

I'm channeling the Mayor of Who-ville, who ran through his town, telling the ordinary citizens: "We've GOT to make noises in greater amounts! So open your mouth... For every voice counts!" —Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

Which is another way of saying: I'm going to join Moms Demand Action here in Boston, for our state legislature's last scheduled public hearing on gun violence prevention.

Why? Because I support comprehensive common sense gun violence prevention legislation and I'm tired of being drowned out by a loud and vocal minority.

Under 13 per cent* of Massachusetts voters own guns, but the legislators hear them loud and clear, because they're organized and vocal.

Almost nine months after the massacre of first graders at Newtown, our state representatives are finally poised to act.

The hearing, which will take place in the Massachusetts State House's Gardner Auditorium, officially starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 13, but Moms Demand Action is encouraging those who are able to arrive closer to 9 a.m., because they expect lines at the entrance. Moms Demand Action will have signs and stickers for you. 

Massachusetts is already a leader in terms of common sense gun violence prevention legislation, but we can and must do better. Many legislators introduced a variety of bills after Newtown, and a key purpose of the public hearings is to craft a comprehensive bill for the consideration of both the MA House of Representatives and the State Senate.

A few of the common sense measures under consideration include:

  • Universal background checks for ALL gun purchases, including all private sales, no exceptions
  • Stricter penalties for violations of existing laws
  • Prohibition of high capacity magazines (like the ones used by Adam Lanza)
  • Mandatory liability insurance for gun owners
The gun lobby—the NRA—must not be the only voices our elected representatives hear. At the last hearing, the gun lobby bussed in roughly 300 Smith & Wesson employees, who got the day off from work to hear their boss testify. It sounds like a lot of people at a state house hearing, but remember, that crowd of attendees represents less than thirteen per cent of the electorate. They're just well organized. 

We moms, who stand for common sense laws to protect our children, who may not be politically active most of the time, can and must do better. 

So let's pack the Gardner Auditorium on Friday. Don't be shy about bringing your little ones.

Your representatives need to see that you care, that you won't be bullied by those who dismiss you as "just a mom." 

* Violence Policy Center says 12.8 percent of MA households own one or more firearms. Gun Owners of America (a gun lobby group) knows that gun owners are a minority: according to their statistics, 36 percent of households nationwide own one or more firearms.