Regarding the Moms Demand Action First Meeting In Normal, IL

I’m tired of the senseless killing of our school children.  It baffles me that the greatest nation on the planet can’t seem to put our country’s children first.  I simply can’t accept the tired phrase, “Well, there’s nothing we can do — it’s part of life.”  It’s not part of life.  I have two small children.  I teach hundreds of students every year.  Every single young person’s life is precious and should be protected.  We, as Americans, must demand the safety of our children.

If you’re like me, I want to take action, but outside of my own blog I don’t know what steps to take.  A friend told me about Moms Demand Action, a nationwide group striving for common sense gun laws in America.  As it happened, they planned to start a chapter in Bloomington-Normal and March 4th marked the date of their first meeting.

To be honest, I’m always leery of activist groups.  Like with politicians, funding often puts them in precarious positions and influences their allegiances.  I wasn’t willing to commit myself to Moms Demand Action without first learning more about them.

However, because I wanted to take action and knew of many others in a similar mindset, I contacted everyone whom I thought might be interested.  Of course, I made it very clear I was not yet affiliated with Moms Demand Action and didn’t know their political stance.  For me, it would purely be a reconnaissance mission.

First of all, I’ll say this: I liked what Moms Demand Action had to say.  I liked the group and I’m willing to hear more of what they have to say.  I also appreciate that you do not have to be a mom to join this organization.  You can be a dad, concerned citizen — whatever.

Some things, though, did give me pause.

I’d first like to discuss those things that sat well with me, and then I’d like to mention a few things that alarmed me.

Pros

*They are very well-organized: I desperately wanted direction on what to do, who to talk to, and how to go about doing both.  Moms Demand Action seem to know how to contact politicians, how to plan events, how to collect data, how to fund their cause, how to influence government officials, how to recruit … essentially how to get things done at both a state and federal level.

*They are focused: Moms Demand Action focus on achieving four things …

  1. Close loopholes in background check systems that allow felons and domestic abusers easy access to guns.
  2. Support reasonable limits on where, when, and how loaded guns are carried and used in public.
  3. Promote gun safety so that American children are no longer exposed to an unacceptable level of risk.
  4. Mobilize popular support for policies that respect Second Amendment rights and protect people.

I like that they know their goals and appear to know how to achieve them.

*They are bi-partisan:  This was the biggest issue for me.  I didn’t want to join a political campaign for a republican, democrat, or any other politician.  They said from the outset that they are bi-partisan.  They told us they are comprised of both parties.  The group today definitely seemed to lean left, but I felt reassured that they made a point to let everyone know they are not party specific.

*They welcome gun owners: Stick with me here.  They were very candid about wanting more gun owners in their organization.  They are glad to have responsible, knowledgeable gun owners who can’t stand the thought of a child dying by the misuse of a firearm.  This group is all about common sense gun laws, promoting gun safety, and educating the public about how to keep guns away from children.

*They do NOT want to take away your Second Amendment: They recognize the importance of the Second Amendment to a large portion of our nation and they in no way, shape or form want to ban it, dissolve it, or otherwise alter it.  They just want to make things more secure through better laws, better safety measures, and better education.

I won’t lie, though, a few things concerned me about the meeting today …

Cons

*They are extremely diplomatic: Though this is a bi-partisan group, everything felt very politically correct.  I understand why — they want to keep all lines of communication open with everyone of political influence.  Make no mistake, their four goals are plainly stated and they do not back down from those goals.  However, they definitely struck me as a group who wants to play it safe.  This is probably a good decision.  I’m sure they can achieve far more by being smart, reserved, rationale, and purposeful.  I think many of us in the room felt so much anger about the numerous mass shootings over the last twenty years that that we expected a little more … righteous fury.  Of course, the speaker at the event has been at this for many years — she knows what methods work best.  She had passion; she struck me as emotionally invested, but she also seemed fully in control, calm, and even good-humored.

*They are not willing to publicly call for a ban on assault weapons:  I totally understand their thought process behind this.  They realize that, by and large, handguns kill far more people daily than assault weapons.  Their focus is on gun violence in general.  Nonetheless, it troubled me that they would not, as a group, publicly denounce our nation’s casual use of military-grade assault weapons.  To the spokesperson’s credit, she fully recognized that their unwillingness to call for a ban turns some prospective members off.  They understand that some people want a more radical stance and she acknowledged that Moms Demand Action may not be the group for those people.

Like I said earlier, overall, I liked what Moms Demand Action had to say.  I like the steps they’ve already taken and I like that they know how to get things done.  They not only demand action, their actions garner results.  I plan to attend their next meeting and learn more.

If interested, here are some steps you can take …

*Click HERE to learn more about the origins of Moms Demand Action

*Click HERE to sign a petition for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign gun dealer licensing into law

*Click HERE to learn about Educators Demand Action

*Plan to attend the next Bloomington-Normal Moms Demand Action meeting at 7:00 p.m. on April 9th in the Normal Public Library

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