Update: Thank you for the positive response to this list. I’ll continue to update the list as I’m made aware of additional things one can do. In particular I’m looking for actions one can take to improve the mental health system. Leave a comment with your additions and I’ll evaluate them for inclusion. Please continue sharing this list.
The bone-chilling horror of the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School goes without saying so I won’t rehash it. Many friends have echoed my rage and have asked what we can do to prevent this from ever happening again. I can’t sleep anyway, so here are 10 (plus) things you can do right now to help prevent gun violence.
1. Have the conversation
It’s tempting to shy away from having discussions with friends and family about gun control. People can become emotional or aggressive about their opinions and most people don’t enjoy conflict. It’s important to remind yourself and others that your opinion and your vote matters as much as anyone else’s, even if you don’t feel you have a set list of talking points like someone else might. Silence can be a form of complicity.
2. Sign the following petitions
a. The We The People petition (UPDATE 1/1: This petition has been signed by 197K Americans and is now closed. President Obama has responded directly to this petition via the video posted on this site.) The petition asks President Obama to immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress. This petition is breaking records with its public support.
b. The Demand A Plan petition
Similar to the above, this petition is sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and demands that President Obama and Congress step forward with a plan to end gun violence.
c. Visit change.org, sign up as a member and sign these petitions:
“Senator Mark Warner: Support Senator Feinstein’s Bill to Ban Assault Weapons”
“US Federal Government: Increase the availability of mental health services now”
“CT Legislature, Please Write and Pass A Bill That Limits Demonstrations At Funerals”
d. Sign this Starbucks petition
This petition encourages Starbucks to prohibit people from carrying guns in their stores.
e. We Are Better Than This
This petition is sponsored by the Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence and is sponsored by a heartbreaking list of 32 families impacted by gun violence. It calls for “respectful and civil public conversation, focused simply on making this the safer nation we all want and deserve.”
f. Tell Walmart to stop selling military-style assault rifles
Walmart is the largest gun dealer in the US. “Tell Walmart to Stop selling military-grade assault rifles and the types of high-capacity magazines used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.” Please take a minute to educate yourself on the difference between “military-grade” and “military-style” assault rifles. I believe these petitioners mean “military-style”.
An 8-year old girl began this petition in support of the children killed at Newtown. She wrote a letter to President Obama in favor of gun control and is now asking for 1,000 signatures. If you agree with what she is asking, please sign.
“Request President Obama appoint a Special Investigator to determine if the NRA has legal liability for wrongful deaths, due to unregulated mass proliferation of weaponry and active deterrence of legislation for reasonable control of the gun industry. ”
“As a citizen and constituent of this great country, I am asking that you take a firm stand and make a positive change by restricting access to guns and saving lives.”
“We insist that you enact effective gun safety measures that will save child lives. You must protect children, not guns.”
3. Send money
a. Consider donating to Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly’s new Super PAC, Americans For Responsible Solutions. The site makes it easy to donate $25 or more. The Super Pac “…will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”
b. Consider supporting The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The site makes it very easy to donate $25 or more.
c. Support the town of Newtown with some of their needs. They need everything from donated school supplies, to the support of local businesses, to helping decorate the Sandy Hook School students’ new school.
4. Contact the White House
Express your feelings and request swift action.
You can also Email your thoughts here
Call with your comments: 202-456-1111
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please include your e-mail address
3. Contact and encourage the following champions
Thank them for supporting the ban on assault weapons and for supporting other gun violence control measures. Encourage their efforts by offering your support for their continued appointment, either through funding them or by helping to make election calls on their behalf when the time comes. Ask them to consider donating money offered or received by the NRA or gun manufacturers to The Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence.
|Who||Talking points||Link and/or contact information|
|New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg||Thank him for outlining legislation in support of avoiding another massacre and for publicly demanding Obama move faster on the issue. Encourage him to keep the heat on.||Web page: http://tinyurl.com/puc48|
|State Senator Mark Warner of Virginia||Thank him for his bravery. He is “An NRA member with a grade A rating believes that “enough is enough” and something must be done to make us all safer. “ Encourage him to support Diane Feinstein’s ban on assault weapons.||Email contact:
|US Senator Diane Feinstein of CA||Thank her for being the first to reintroduce the ban on assault weapons. Encourage her bravery and offer your help if possible.||Email contact:
Washington office (202) 224-3841
|Joe Scarborough, MSNBC Conservative Cable news show host||Thank him. Encourage his efforts and ask how you can help. In his words: “I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA’s highest ratings over 4 terms in Congress. I saw this debate as a powerful struggle between individual rights and government control…but the symbols…have been shattered….” Side note: fantastic speech.||Follow him on Twitter @JoeNBC
Message him on Facebook
4. Join and Share These Facebook Groups
If you are a Facebook user, join these causes by liking these first 3 groups then sharing any of their meaningful posts with your friends on your Facebook page. Join the last group listed, One Million Moms For Gun Control.
|Sandy Hook Promise||http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/|
|Parents Against Gun Crime||http://www.parentsagainstguncrime.org http://www.facebook.com/ParentsAgainstGunCrime|
|One Million Moms For Gun Control||http://onemillionmomsforguncontrol.org/|
Update: additional groups below
- MAGIC: Mothers Against Guns Injuring Children
- Teachers Against Gun Violence
5. Contact These Senators
With an enormous thank you to Mother Jones, here are the stats regarding Senator support for a ban on assault weapons as of 12/19/2012. Source: Mother Jones “Do your senators support an assault weapons ban?” Note: I borrowed all of the names and statistics below directly from the Mother Jones site and reformatted it. Thank you, Mother Jones.
Current Senatorial total: 99 sitting senators, 12 members-elect, and one member-designate.
- Number of senators who support a ban (as of December 19): 30
- Number of senators who might support a ban: 7
- Number of senators who oppose a ban: 9
- Number of senators (and senators-elect) who haven’t commented yet: 66
Call/email the Senators who oppose the ban
Here is the list of Senators who, since the Newtown massacre, have stated their opposition to a ban on assault weapons (Source: Mother Jones Senate Watch, Dec 19, 2012).
One message to consider sending is if they continue to stand with the NRA on this issue instead of protecting Americans from the tyranny of gun violence, you would consider enthusiastically funding their opponent and/or making phone calls on their opponent’s behalf in both the primary and general elections. Consider calling them as well as emailing them.
While you’re at it, take a look at the statistics of where the NRA spends its money. If your Senator or Congress member has accepted NRA money, consider asking them to donate that contribution to a victims’ fund or another charity of their choice. Remind them that you will remember where they stand on this issue come primary day as well as election day.
|Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)||Commented 3 days after Newtown: ”[D]enying the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens will not change the behavior of those intent on using firearms to commit horrific crimes.”||Call or write an email here:
|Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)||Commented 3 days after Newtown: “I’m sure I would vote against anything that impacts, in a negative way, the Second Amendment.”||Contact:
260 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5721
(only accepts emails from MO constituents)
|Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)||Commented 4 days after Newtown: “I continue to disagree that increased gun control is going to resolve the issues of violence that we have in our society.” Sidenote: Mormon who has publicly stated that he abstains from alcohol; arrested for DUI 12/23/12.||Contact:
|Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)||Commented 3 days after Newtown: “not convinced that more gun laws and restrictions are going to provide the security” the country is looking for.||Contact http://tinyurl.com/cgpyrzx|
|Rob Portman (R-Ohio)||Commented 4 days after Newtown:Told the Columbus Dispatch that he didn’t think a ban “will solve the problem, unfortunately.”||Contact:
|Jim Risch (R-Idaho)||Commented 4 days after Newtown: Through a spokesperson, he said: “[W]hen emotions are this high, now is not the time to make policy.”||Contact:
|Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) possible contender for 2016 Republican nomination for President||Commented 4 days after Newtown: After days of soft statements, he expressed skepticism about regulating guns: “This is not a policy position. This is in the Constitution of the United States, which I did not write.”||Contact:
|Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)||Commented 4 days after Newtown: An assault weapons ban? “We’ve seen that movie before and it’s sad.”||Contact:
Contact Senators who have not yet stated their position.
The Senators listed below the signature line have not responded with their point of view on assault weapon ban as of 12/19/12. Search for their webpage and contact them. One message to consider sending these senators is if they decide to stand with the NRA on this issue, you would consider funding their opponent and/or making phone calls on their opponent’s behalf in both the primary and general elections.
6. Contact your Congressperson
Find your congressperson here. Find their phone number here. Consider mentioning you are a constituent and urge him/her to share their plans for enacting changes in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. If he/she receives NRA funding, ask them to donate it to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
7. Boycott Walmart
They are the #1 gun seller in the US.
8. Boycott Wyndham Hotels
Per Amanda Terkel at the Huff Post: “The NRA’s website has a page that lists endorsed companies and services where members can receive discounts. Affiliated businesses include rental car companies, real estate services and hotel chains. Nearly all of the affiliated hotels are part of the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts group. NRA members can receive 10 percent off at more than 6,500 participating hotels in the Wyndham family.”
9. Shut down the money
Call your investment funds and 401k fund owners. Ask whether any of your money is invested in gun manufacturers. If so, ask to change your investments.
10. March on Washington
Show your support for the upcoming Million Children March on Washington. Newtown United is planning this march. No dates confirmed yet. Like their page and Mothers Against Guns and stay tuned for updates. Update: Here is a link to a Facebook page containing information on a planned 1/26 Washington DC march: March On Washington For Gun Control.
List of Senators who have not yet stated their position in the wake of the Newtown Tragedy as of 12/19/12.
Akaka, Daniel (D-Hawaii)
Baldwin, Tammy (Sen.-Elect, D-Wis.):
Barrasso, John (R-Wy.):
Baucus, Max (D-Mont.):
Begich, Mark (D-Alaska)
Bennet, Michael (D-Colo.)
Boozman, John (R-Ark.)
Burr, Richard (R-N.C.)
Carper, Tom (D-Del.)
Chambliss, Saxby (R-Ga.)
Coats, Daniel (R-Ind.)
Coburn, Tom (R-Okla.)
Cochran, Thad (R-Miss.)
Collins, Susan (R-Maine)
Conrad, Kent (D-N.D.)
Coons, Christopher (D-Del.)
Corker, Bob (R-Tenn.)
Cornyn, John (R-Texas)
Cruz, Ted (Sen.Elect, R-Texas)
DeMint, Jim (R-S.C.)
Fischer, Deb (Sen.-Elect, R-Neb.)
Flake, Jeff (Sen.-Elect, R-Ariz)
Graham, Lindsey (R-S.C.)
Grassley, Chuck (R-Iowa)
Hagan, Kay (D-N.C.)
Hatch, Orrin (R-Utah)
Heitkamp, Heidi (Sen.-Elect, D-N.D.)
Heller, Dean (R-Nev.)
Hirono, Mazie (Sen.-Elect, D-Hawaii)
Hoeven, John (R-N.D.)
Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-Texas)
Inhofe, James (R-Okla.)
Isakson, Johnny (R-Ga.)
Johanns, Mike (R-Neb.)
Johnson, Ron (R-Wis.)
Kaine, Tim (Sen.-Elect, D-Va.)
Kirk, Mark (R-Ill.)
Kohl, Herb (D-Wis.)
Kyl, John (R-Ariz.)
Landrieu, Mary (D-La.)
Leahy, Patrick (D-Vt.)
Lee, Mike (R-Utah)
Levin, Carl (D-Mich.)
Lugar, Richard (R-Ind.)
McCain, John (R-Ariz.)
McConnell, Mitch (R-Ky.)
Merkley, Jeff (D-Ore.)
Moran, Jerry (R-Kansas)
Murkowski, Lisa (R-Alaska)
Nelson, Ben (D-Neb.)
Paul, Rand (R-Ky.)
Pryor, Mark (D-Ark.)
Roberts, Pat (R-Kansas)
Sanders, Bernard (I-Vt.)
Scott, Tim (Sen.-Designate, R-S.C.)
Sessions, Jeff (R-Ala.)
Snowe, Olympia (R-Maine)
Stabenow, Debbie (D-Mich.)
Tester, Jon (D-Mont.)
Thune, John (R-S.D.)
Toomey, Patrick (R-Penn.)
Udall, Mark (D-Colo.)
Vitter, David (R-La.)
Webb, Jim (D-Va.)
Wicker, Roger (R-Miss.)
Wyden, Ron (D-Ore.)