Group Reflects on Victories of 2016; Is Poised to Take on the Potentially NRA-Fueled Agenda of Trump Administration
NEW YORK – Today, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, marks four years since its founding by renewing its volunteers’ commitment to passing common-sense gun legislation and fighting the dangerous gun lobby agenda at the state level and by vowing to directly combat the dangerous “guns everywhere, for anyone, no questions asked” agenda of the National Rifle Association.
Moms Demand Action began as a Facebook page the day after the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting that killed 20 children and six educators. Now part of Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action has grown into a movement of more than three million supporters with a chapter in all 50 states.
“Over the last four years, Moms Demand Action volunteers have been on the frontlines of changing the conversation on guns in this country—from strengthening gun laws to changing corporate culture to sparking conversations about responsible gun storage,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We know how to be the David to the National Rifle Association’s Goliath – we’ve been taking them on and winning in statehouses across the country. And we’ll continue to bring that fight and our dedication to standing up for our children’s safety to Washington, D.C., and to the states.
“With the NRA pushing its bleak agenda of guns everywhere, anywhere for anyone with no questions asked in Washington, the importance of our work could not be clearer. Our movement is growing by the day and we are energized to combat the NRA and do everything we can to ensure that our families, communities and cities are safe from all forms of gun violence.”
“I’m grateful to all the incredible Moms Demand Action volunteers for your tireless advocacy over the past four years and for your deep commitment to preventing mass shootings and daily gun violence from becoming the new normal,” said New Hampshire Governor and Senator-elect Maggie Hassan. “I am honored to take this fight to the U.S. Senate, working alongside Moms volunteers to continue advancing common-sense, bipartisan safety measures that can save lives.”
“Since its founding after the Sandy Hook School shooting, Moms Demand Action volunteers have sent a loud and clear message that common sense gun safety measures matter — and that they will continue to show up to support leaders who stand up for public safety here in Oregon—and nationwide, “ said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “I look forward to continuing to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, and elevating this life-saving issue — and I know the Moms Demand Action volunteers will stand with me.”
“New York is leading the charge on gun safety with the strongest laws in the country,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. “Moms Demand Action has been a critical partner in this progress and a national leader on this vital issue. I offer my congratulations to Moms Demand Action on four years of accomplishments and look forward to continuing our important work together for years to come.”
“Each and every day, almost 300 Americans are affected by gun violence. These incidents have hit far too close to home in Isla Vista and UC Santa Barbara,” said Mayor Helene Schneider of Santa Barbara, Calif. “As Mayor of Santa Barbara, I have supported common sense gun laws as a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. It is my honor to work alongside Moms Demand Action volunteers to help keep my community and all of California safe.”
“Sadly, gun violence hurts our families far too often,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl of Evanston, Ill. “As a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, I am grateful to work alongside Moms Demand Action volunteers to help keep our community safe and help make our future free from gun violence.”
In 2017, Moms Demand Action will:
- Grow its volunteer base by organizing educators and the medical community.
- Expand its presence on Capitol Hill to counter a potentially NRA-fueled Trump Administration, starting by participating in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017.
- Continue its work in statehouses across the nation to strengthen gun laws and to defeat the gun lobby’s most dangerous proposals.
In 2016 alone, Moms Demand Action volunteers:
- Were a driving force behind passing new, life-saving gun safety ballot measures. While there were many surprises on Election Night, states held the only referenda on guns this cycle – and ballot initiatives in Nevada, Washington and California resulted in new, life-saving gun safety measures, despite strong opposition from the gun lobby. The win in Nevada marks a turning point: Virtually half of Americans will now live in states that have closed the background check loophole. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, eight states have passed or strengthened background check laws, bringing the total number of states with comprehensive laws to 19.
- Held elected officials – from the U.S. Senate on down – accountable for siding with the gun lobby’s interests instead of public safety. Perhaps the best example of this is New Hampshire U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, the only senator from Virginia to Maine to oppose expanding background checks after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School that killed 20 children and six educators. For siding with the gun lobby, Ayotte ultimately paid the price this election when voters ousted her and replaced her with gun sense champion Maggie Hassan.
- Led campaigns to defeat dangerous NRA-backed gun proposals in states across the country including red and blue states alike. For example, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a gun lobby-backed bill passed in the statehouse that would have forced guns on college campuses. It was a radical departure from his comments earlier in the year when he indicated some support for the policy – but the Georgia chapter of Moms Demand Action and state partners launched a 40-day campaign, successfully convincing him to reconsider and veto the bill.
In the last four years, Moms Demand Action has:
- Grown from a Facebook page to a grassroots army, with a chapter in all 50 states. Together with Everytown, Moms Demand Action has more than three million supporters across the country.
- Since 2014, Moms Demand Action chapters increased the number of active volunteers by 824 percent, the number of volunteer shifts completed by 1,803 percent, and increased the amount of times they reached out to voters in targeted districts by 3,706 percent.
- Helped pass background check laws in eight states since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School, bringing the total number of states with comprehensive laws to 19. Now, nearly half of Americans live in states that have closed the background check loophole. And thanks to the 2016 election work of the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action, volunteers will work to urge lawmakers to pass a law requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales during the 2017 legislative session.
- Defeated countless dangerous NRA-backed bills in state legislatures that would force guns into schools and college campuses, expand stand your ground laws and/or weaken background checks and permitting systems.
- Changed the culture, by working with corporations such as Target, Chipotle, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market to ask customers to leave their guns at home in the stores and restaurants where our families shop and dine. And worked with Facebook to enact a policy prohibiting unlicensed sales on its platforms.