As the nation reels in the wake of deadly shootings in Georgia, Colorado, and various cities across the country, gun safety advocates have said enough is enough. But while a majority of voters in the United States support stricter firearm sales laws, gun control reform remains a contentious, and largely uphill, battle in Congress. Thankfully, organizations working to end gun violence are committed for the long haul and here’s how you can also help advocate for gun safety right now.
March has been a deadly month for gun violence. Eight people were killed in a series of three armed attacks on spas and massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Less than a week later, 10 people were shot and killed on March 22 when a gunman opened fire on shoppers and employees at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Over the weekend in Chicago, 30 people were shot, three fatally. Gun violence is a “leading cause of premature death in the U.S.,” according to the American Public Health Association. While headlines and statistics are horrifying, you can take action to advocate for change.
A great first step for anyone looking to advocate for gun safety is education. Get familiar with the data behind gun deaths. Brush up on a few facts about gun violence, such as the fact that gun violence kills nearly 40,000 people in the United States each year, despite being entirely preventable, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Look up your state’s gun laws and see where they fall on The Giffords Law Center’s gun law scorecard.
Next, dive into specific gun control issues. Learn why gun safety organizations like Everytown don’t support arming teachers or guns in schools. Read why downloadable, or 3-D printed guns, are becoming an alarming, and dangerous, trend. Dig into how CDC data found Black youth are more than 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than white youth.
Rest assured, you don’t have to know everything there is to know about gun violence to advocate for gun safety. But being informed about the issues surrounding gun violence can ultimately help you become a better advocate.
Lean On Your Congressional Leaders
Once you feel comfortable discussing gun violence and gun safety, it’s time to pick up the phone and call your congressional leaders. You can learn who your congressional representatives are by searching your zip code in this handy directory from the House of Representatives. Look for your representative’s local office phone number as you’re often more likely to connect with a staffer who’ll relay your concerns to your representative when you call a district office rather than a D.C. office.
You can also look to see if your senator has taken money from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has spent $1.6 million lobbying against laws that would allow for stricter background checks for gun sales, and voice your concerns.
If you’re short on time, Resistbot can help you quickly contact any elected official. Text the word “RESIST” to 50409 (or to Resistbot on iMessage) and Resistbot will help you draft and send a letter to the elected official of your choice — all through a few easy texts.
Support Organizations Working For Gun Safety
Help fund the fight against gun violence by donating to one of the organizations or campaigns that have long been advocating for the cause. Everytown for Gun Safety, for example, formed in 2013 when Mayors Against Illegal Guns joined forces with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Since then, the organization has focused on research, policy, litigation, advocacy, and grassroots organizing. Supporters can choose to donate to either their Support Fund, which focuses on awareness and educational work, or their Action Fund, which focuses on advocacy and legislative work.
Other notable organizations include The Brady Campaign, which aims to reduce gun violence by 25% by the year 2025 by changing not only gun laws but the gun industry and gun culture as well. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization with a mission to curb gun violence through research, strategic engagement, and policy reform. Founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords after she and 18 others were shot during a constituent meeting, the Giffords PAC hopes to end the gun lobby’s influence over state and federal politicians. Meanwhile, its partner organization, the Giffords Law Center, focuses on crafting and promoting policies and programs aimed at curbing gun violence.
Get Involved On The Ground
Become an active advocate for gun safety by volunteering with one or more of the organizations currently working to end gun violence. Sign up with your local Moms Demand Action chapter and learn how you can push for progress in your own local community. Additionally, advocates can join a local chapter of The Brady Campaign and get involved in the nonprofit's grassroots organizing to end gun violence.
Put Your Vote Where Your Mouth Is
Ultimately, one of the best ways to advocate for gun safety and reduce gun violence is to vote — at both the local, state, and national levels — for elected officials who support the gun control legislation you want to see passed. First, make sure you are registered to vote. Then make sure you show up to vote each and every chance you get.