Last weekend, Americans showed up in force for March for Our Lives events in Washington, D.C. and around the country. Led by students and gun violence survivors, they sent a clear message: protect us. They demanded that lawmakers make students’ lives and safety a priority and pass common-sense gun safety legislation that will make all Americans safer. Their powerful voices added to the growing momentum to end the cycle of gun violence that kills 96 Americans every day and leaves hundreds more injured.
March for Our Lives events were held in all 50 states, including in places like Beeville, TX, Wichita, KS, Lincoln, NE, Missoula, MT and Portland, ME. Marches took place in 387 U.S. congressional districts, including both red and blue districts and in 28 of the DCCC’s 33 “red to blue” target districts for the 2018 midterm elections.
Everytown for Gun Safety is harnessing that momentum to create real change. In state houses, in board rooms and in Congress, we’re bringing together Americans of all stripes to use their voices. Let’s take a look at examples of momentum around the country.
NEW STUDENT ORGANIZERS MOBILIZING COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE
Everytown has seen the volunteer base double in just over a month for Students Demand Action, an initiative aimed at empowering students to lead on gun safety, now with more than 35,000 student leaders. On Monday, Everytown announced new resources for the program, including a $1 million grant program, dedicated to spurring student-driven advocacy to end gun violence. In addition, we’re coordinating policy and organizing calls to discuss state-specific action plans and direct students to participate in one of the more than 200 events and meetings with elected officials that have already been scheduled over the next two weeks.
Americans of all ages are more engaged in the campaign for gun violence prevention than ever before. In fact, since the shooting in Parkland:
- In Atlanta, GA, this year more than 1,800 people attended an annual statehouse advocacy day. Last year, there were 100 participants.
- In Nashville, TN, the annual advocacy day had over 500 people this year. Normally about 80 people attend.
- In Raleigh, NC, the local Moms Demand Action chapter had more than 350 attendees at a chapter meeting. Normal attendance is usually around 20 people.
- In Springfield, IL, the annual advocacy day had more than 500 attendees this year. Last year 200 people attended.
And, since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, more than 155,000 new volunteers have joined Moms Demand Action and Everytown. More than 1,400 Moms Demand Action events have been scheduled to let lawmakers know that voters will “Throw Them Out” if they continue to fail to stand up for public safety.
The momentum has continued with an astounding increase in online engagement. Everytown has nearly 2 million new online supporters, including more than 100,000 new grassroots donors.
In red states, blue states and purple states people are coming together and looking for ways to channel their energy. At the local government level, 40 mayors joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including 10 from states President Trump won in 2016.
LEGISLATIVE MOMENTUM IN THE STATES
Because of their constituents speaking out, lawmakers in states across the country are taking up proactive gun safety legislation and defeating the gun lobby’s agenda.
- Following the Parkland shooting, lawmakers in Florida responded to the statewide outcry by passing a sweeping gun violence prevention package over the gun lobby’s objections. Among other steps, the bill establishes a Red Flag Law in the state, closes the Charleston Loophole, prohibits the purchase and possession of bump stocks and raises the legal age to purchase all firearms in Florida to 21.
- Florida isn’t the only state where Red Flag Laws – which empower local police officers and family members to seek a court order temporarily blocking a person from having guns if they are a risk to themselves or others – have gained new traction. Recently, prominent Republicans including Govs. John Kasich (OH), Rick Snyder (MI) and Phil Scott (VT) have indicated a new openness to supporting Red Flag Laws. Red Flag bills are currently pending in 24 states and Washington, D.C.
- Thanks to grassroots support from voters, bills to disarm domestic abusers are also moving full steam ahead.
- In Kansas, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to close gaps in state law that gives domestic abusers easy access to guns.
- In another unanimous vote, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill to close dangerous loopholes that make it easy for domestic abusers to access guns.
- And in Oregon, Gov. Brown signed legislation to protect women and children by closing the Boyfriend Loophole and prohibiting convicted stalkers from having guns.
- Finally, as some state sessions begin to wind down, many of the gun lobby’s top priorities failed to gain momentum. Last week, the end of session in Indiana marked defeat for dangerous bills that would have repealed the state’s handgun carry license requirement and allowed loaded handguns in schools. And, Alabama adjourned today without passing two dangerous gun bills – permitless carry and guns in schools.
POLLING SHOWS VOTERS WANT GUN SAFETY LAWS
We’re seeing a seismic shift and polling reveals that voters overwhelming demand stronger gun laws.
- A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 97 percent of voters support criminal background checks on all gun sales (including 97 percent of gun owners, and 97 percent of Republicans).
- A recent poll from Everytown and Giffords found that gun violence prevention is the top issue in deciding who to vote for among young people who will be eligible to participate in the 2018 midterms elections.
- A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research “found that nearly seven in 10 adults now favor stricter gun control measures.” It’s the strongest level of support since the AP first asked the question five years ago.
- According to a polling memo Everytown commissioned by Global Strategy Group, “if Congress and elected leaders continue to fail to act, a growing number of Americans ‘strongly’ agree that they should not be re-elected.” Specifically, 76 percent of Americans agree and 50 percent strongly agree. For the first time, post-Parkland the data indicates “that the American people have become so angered by Congress’ lack of action to reduce gun violence that they are demanding change – either in the laws, or in the people tasked with making those laws.”
CORPORATIONS DISTANCING THEMSELVES FROM THE NRA AND TAKING A STAND ON GUN SAFETY
Corporations are demonstrating corporate responsibility and taking a stand on gun policies, while also abandoning the NRA. From life insurance carriers to car rental companies and the (former) official NRA credit card company, businesses are standing up in the name of gun safety. Examples include: Budget, Chubb, Citigroup, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, Hertz, Simplisafe, Symantec, MetLife, and Walmart.
Now, more than ever, people are fed up with gun violence in America and political inaction. Gun safety advocates are raising their voices, online and offline, to fight for safer communities.