Remember soccer moms, hockey moms and their once-coveted swing votes? Well, a new group of nonpartisan moms is getting into the game.
After Saturday morning practices, these moms go canvassing. While their babies nap, they make calls from their kitchen tables. On school nights, they hand-write postcards reminding voters what’s at stake. And – alongside baby photos and PTA announcements – they share it all on social media.
In 2018, it’s all about Moms for Gun Sense Candidates. These moms don’t just vote their own self-interests – they’re working to protect all our children. And they aren’t afraid to take on the powerful gun lobby; in fact, America’s moms are just the right people for the job.
Volunteers with the Maryland Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have organized nearly 100 events to get out the vote for candidates who’ve earned our Gun Sense Candidate Distinction, bestowed on more than 200 candidates in both parties in our state. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, in Maryland’s suburbs, cities and small towns, hockey moms, soccer moms, and even NASCAR dads are working together to elect leaders who know we can do more to prevent gun violence without infringing on anyone’s second amendment rights.
Gun violence is heavy on the minds of Marylanders. Just this year, we’ve seen high-profile shootings at the Capital Gazette newsroom, a distribution center in Aberdeen, and Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland. In Baltimore, there have been at least 225 reported gun homicides in 2018.
Beyond the headlines are gut-wrenching statistics: firearms are the second leading cause of death for American children and teens and the first leading cause of death for black children. Nearly two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, heavily impacting our rural communities; and an average of 50 women are fatally shot each month by an intimate partner.
But there are signs of hope. Baltimore Ceasefire is shining a light on the toll of violence in “Maryland’s City” through quarterly weekends of nonviolence and by showing up at the site of every single homicide. Students who organized marches in Washington, D.C., and Annapolis followed up with voter registration drives.
And the General Assembly passed three important bills – championed by a coalition of legislators and partners, including Moms Demand Action, Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, and Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence – to disarm domestic abusers, allow law enforcement to remove guns from people who pose an immediate risk to themselves or others, and prohibit bump stocks.
And there’s a growing army of mothers and others. Moms Demand Action formed the day after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. After Sandy Hook, after Pulse, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, many have been discouraged by federal inaction on gun violence. But moms don’t give up.
Along with responsible gun owners and others who care about keeping our families safe, we have been quietly, steadily building a state-level movement to end gun violence. In the early years, Maryland advocacy days drew around 30 people, but for the past two years, hundreds have shown up to lobby in Annapolis. Across the state, we have volunteers working to educate the public about the impact of gun violence on our communities, teaching Marylanders about safe gun storage, fighting for common-sense gun laws, and working to elect Gun Sense Candidates.
Maryland moms are showing up for candidates who’ll do something about it. Thoughts and prayers alone won’t protect our kids, or the 96 Americans killed every day by gun violence. But moms knocking on doors for Gun Sense Candidates just might.
Maryland voters can find Gun Sense Candidates at gunsensevoter.org
— Danielle Veith
The writer is the volunteer leader with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.