Moms to Congress: “Have a Heart, Pass Common Sense Gun Laws”
February 14, 2013
On a day usually associated with candy hearts, red roses and romance, America’s moms called on Congress to “have a heart” and pass common sense gun laws. The special event on Capitol Hill featured performances by an internationally renowned children’s choir and personal stories from gun violence survivors. During the gathering, moms, dads and kids joined MomsRising, a grassroots organization of more than a million members, in calling for laws to prevent gun violence.
“What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, and what happened to Hadiya Pendleton cannot become the new normal,” said MomsRising Executive Director and Co-Founder Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Gun violence is out of control in this country and it is quite literally killing our children and families. In the wake of that terrible tragedy, our resolve is now stronger than ever. We need to act now to protect our children and communities. Congress has the tools and the responsibility to do that. We need common sense gun laws now.”
The members of the World Children’s Choir, Lori Haas (whose daughter was shot and survived the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech), Pam Simon (a former aide to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during the Tucson, Arizona shooting), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA), Rowe-Finkbeiner and nearly 100 DC-area moms came together on Valentine’s Day to press for laws that include:
- Universal background checks for all gun purchases, including gun shows and on the Internet.
- An assault weapon ban, which also limits high capacity magazines.
- A federal gun trafficking statute with real penalties to stop the illegal sales of guns between state-to-state and international jurisdictions.
“There are more laws governing the manufacture of a teddy bear than the sale of a gun,” said Haas. “We’re not looking for anything onerous or to erect barriers to prevent hunters from buying a gun for sport. We’re just asking that common sense prevail so that we can be sure every precaution is taken to avoid tragedies like the one my daughter had to live through, and that so many parents fear.”
“Congress can do this,” said Simon. “They just need the courage of their convictions. Yes, the gun lobby will come down hard on them. But these are the times when people have to stand up for their principles and put the concerns of their constituents above the needs of their campaign coffers.”
Following the event, the group proceeded to the House and Senate to deliver valentines created by moms, dads and kids across the country, along with MomsRising's petition that has more than 150,000 signatures urging Congress to stop blocking common sense gun regulations that protect all our families.
Among the messages on the valentines were:
On St. Valentine's Day we think of those we love, including those who are no longer with us. Please keep the children and educators of Sandy Hook in your heart this Valentine's Day.
- Mary, Georgia
This Valentine's Day have a heart for all the 600 plus gun murder victims this month and every month.
No more broken hearts!! Please act now to reduce gun violence.
- Miriam, Massachusetts
Sending this in honor of all those families who lost love ones as a result of gun violence. Please pass responsible gun control legislation to protect the lives of innocent people.
Earlier this year, MomsRising helped to collect nearly 300,000 signatures on a petition urging Walmart to stop selling high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, like the Bushmaster AR-15 which killed 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook. The organization joined several other nonprofits in delivering those petitions to the Walmart in Newtown, Conn.
The critically acclaimed World Children's Choir, led by Artistic Director Sondra Harnes, has been singing for peace and serving as a voice for children's interests since 1990. Members of the group range in age from four to 17.