Faye turns eight today. In fact, I’m writing these words at the very minute of the morning that I first held her tiny, bird-like body in my arms at St. Luke’s hospital. That minute when I could barely open my eyes, but first felt the warm, sticky weight of her tiny cheek on my chest.
This morning, my newly minted eight-year-old decided on a birthday party idea after months of equivocating: a book sale to raise funds to end gun violence.
We are the adults in the room. If it were up to me, guns would be outlawed, melted down, and obliterated from the face of the planet. In the absence of that, I want to see the prohibition of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. I want to see stringent background checks. I want bans on concealed carry. I want an end to the gun lobby. I want every single possible effort to be made to reduce the gun violence that ravages Americans on our subway cars, in our grocery stores, in our houses of worship, in our—my god—elementary school classrooms.
It’s easy to feel defeatist about the state of gun regulation in this country and it feels depressingly clear that the above are not the outcomes we have immediately waiting for us, but in the meantime, here are a few things we can do that do not involve throwing our hands up in the air and doing nothing.
We know the drill by now: Pick up the phone, dial the numbers of your congress members (save them in your contacts for future reference), speak matter of factly about what you need to see happen. If you think your call will go unlistened to, call anyway.* If making phone calls makes you nervous, know they’re more effective than letter writing. If you’re tempted to scream into the speaker about the gross incompetence of our institutions, I’m right there with you. Here are some specific asks that might be more effective:
+ Demand legislators vote to pass HR 1446. This is legislation that would close what’s referred to as The Charleston Loophole. Gun sales should not be permitted until a background check on the prospective purchaser has been completed, but under current federal law, gun purchases may move forward by default after three business days—even if a background check has not been completed. It was because of this loophole that the shooter of nine worshippers at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was able to buy a firearm he would not otherwise have been approved to purchase. According to Everytown, while 90% of federal background checks are completed in minutes, those that take longer than three business days are four times as likely to be denied. Let’s make sure they are.
+ Demand legislators vote to pass HR 8 , also known as The Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Current federal law only requires background checks of prospective gun owners when those guns are purchased in a brick-and-mortar store. This leaves the entirety of online sales unregulated. According to Everytown, polls show that “93 percent of American voters support requiring background checks on all gun sales—including 89 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of gun owners. If this is the bare minimum we can agree on, let’s get it done.
*If you don’t like the representatives who work for you, find a way to replace them! Use the Gun Sense Voter Candidate Lookup Tool to find the folks running—including in down-ballot, local elections—who will actually do something to regulate firearms.
These are lists of verified GoFundMe campaigns raising money for families of those impacted by two of the most recent mass shootings: Texas Elementary School Shooting Relief and Buffalo Mass Shooting Fundraisers.
Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America lead the charge in reducing gun violence in America. Donations support their work to pressure lawmakers to improve gun laws, mobilize grassroots supporters, and educate the public about about gun violence, common-sense gun laws, and responsible gun ownership.
May 26, 2022: Students Demand Action are organizing a 12:00 pm nationwide walkout. Gays Against Guns are organizing a Manhattan rally and march at 5:30 pm for the victims of the Uvalde School Shooting.
June 11, 2022: March For Our Lives, the organization founded by the teenaged survivors of the Parkland school shooting, is organizing a second nationwide march on June 11, 2022. Text MARCH to 954-954 for more details.
If you’re not able or willing to get into the streets, follow Lexi Mainland‘s lead and send a few emails to disrupt the NRA conference scheduled for this weekend in Houston.
+ David Mincberg is the chairman of the board that owns the convention center hosting the conference. Ask that he cancel the event: firstname.lastname@example.org.
+ Hans Prins is the General Manager of the Marriott providing lodging for NRA conference attendees this weekend. Ask him to end his company’s participation in the conference: email@example.com
+ Luther Villagomez is the COO of the Houston Convention Center. Ask him to cancel the NRA’s event contract for this weekend: Luther.Villagomez@houstonfirst.com; 832-330-7786