The Local Moms Demand Action Chapter organizes after mass shootings

The Moms Demand Action Chapter for the western metro area hosted a one-hour meeting at the Edina Library on June 1 to engage communities and take concerted action to help prevent gun violence.

As attendees entered a library meeting room, every chair was soon filled, and those who continued to stream into the room had to stand at the edge of the room to make room for many more.

Eventually, the organizers decided to move the meeting outside to the library lawn to accommodate the number of attendees. Obviously, the events in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas had struck a chord with many in the western metropolis.

The meeting started with a short introduction Mothers demand action. The organization was founded by Shannon Watts, a mother of five, who initially started the organization as a Facebook group after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012.

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The organization eventually expanded nationally, with local chapters now in each state. Eden Prairie is currently part of the West Metro Group, along with cities like Edina, Bloomington, Minnetonka, and St. Louis Park.

Moms Demand Action exists today as part of an umbrella organization called Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with over 8 million supporters. The organization’s goal is to raise awareness of gun violence and advocate for gun safety laws.

Recently, the scale and number of shootings have captured the attention of much of the nation after a large-scale uptick in violent crime and mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo.

Event attendees acknowledged this reality by paying tribute to the victims in Uvalde and Buffalo by participating in a minute’s silence. During this moment of silence, the participants read out the names and ages of each victim in a strong gesture of solidarity.

After this moment of solidarity, Erin Zamoff, the main organizer of the meeting, drew attention to the fact that about “110 Americans are shot and killed a day”.

In fact, just as the meeting was beginning, another shooting broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Zamoff and other gun control advocates have argued that these deaths are the natural result of “putting the profits of gun manufacturers ahead of the lives of children.”

The issue of shootings and gun violence is likely to remain a major concern throughout the summer, with possible political ramifications as November’s midterm elections draw closer.

As one participant put it, “School shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon.” Because of this understanding, Moms Demand Action believes that the problem can be addressed through political activism and work to spread gun safety awareness.

One form of political activism that the organizers of the event addressed was the election campaign. Zamoff described how Moms Demand Action supports candidates who meet the so-called “gun sense distinction.” This is essentially a poll sent out to all candidates running for elected office who support the demands of Moms Demand Action, regardless of political affiliation. These calls include backing red flag legislation, raising the age for buying a gun to 21, and introducing universal background checks.

Also present were several candidates running for elected office, such as Laurie Pryor (DFL), running for re-election in District 49A.

The organizers also outlined non-electoral courses of action that can be taken. This included observing Wear Orange Weekend, a national gun violence awareness campaign, June 3-5. They also discussed the Be Smart initiative.

This initiative aims to help parents and adults normalize gun safety conversations to take responsible action to prevent child death and injury from firearms. In addition, organizers stressed the importance of gun security and working with responsible gun owners to ensure ammunition and guns are safely secured and stored separately.

While it remains to be seen whether the large West Metro gathering will indicate a major shift in public opinion about West Metro gun control, Moms Demand Action plans vigorously to continue taking action and getting its message out.

The organization is planning several events for June and July. These include a nationwide gathering for new members on June 9 via Zoom, a Mothers Against Community Gun Violence Walkathon on June 11 at Lake Nokomis, and a march at the annual Edina Parade on July 4.

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