Here we are again. Another school shooting. Another mass murder. Will it ever stop? I’m enraged and devastated. Yet I cannot dwell here. I must act. Will you join me in these action steps to combat gun violence today?
- Set up a recurring donation to organizations doing work for gun reform. While a one time donation is always appreciated, what fuels these organizations best is consistent support from people like us. Some orgs to consider:
- Everytown: The largest gun violence prevention organization in our country. This grassroots organization mobilizes towards tangible change in communities.
- Moms Demand Action: This organization is actually part of Everytown and has chapters in each state. The New Hampshire one is particularly active (stay tuned to its Facebook page for upcoming events like one in Portsmouth on June 4th).
- Secure your firearms and make sure your friends do, too. Firearms should be locked in a secure safe, unloaded, and then stored separately from ammunition. Don’t own one? Make sure, if your kids have play dates, that you ask the awkward questions! Ask the parents: Do you own a firearm? Is it secured? Ask the questions like your kids’ lives depend on it. Because they do.
- Know the gun laws in your state. Gun laws differ significantly from state to state, so check out this resource to help you find out yours. For example, did you know that in New Hampshire, a person over the age of 18 can lawfully carry a gun into any school? Writer Carolyn shared her research in this post about NH gun laws and schools. Let me tell you, it’s worth reading. Some other facts about guns and New Hampshire:
- you do not need a license to purchase a firearm
- you are not required to register a gun
- there is no minimum age for possession of a firearm
- Write to your local representatives. This one is so tough and I’ll tell you why. Acknowledging that these decisions aren’t in my hands — or the hands of my fellow voters– makes me spiral. But, this is how our democracy works. What do we do about it? We apply pressure. What you can do today:
- Call and email your governors, state reps, congresspeople, mayors. Find out their track records when it comes to gun violence and reform. A simple google search of “governor’s name + gun violence” will produce helpful info. Ask them about red flag laws and if they have any plans to support them in the near future. Call them out on past decisions. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. We know this.
- Talk to your kids. This one sucks. I have three children, ages 4, 7, and 9. They are too young to talk to about this stuff. Yet, they need to hear it from me rather than a kid on the playground. Because they will hear about it. They need help processing this information. I do, and my frontal lobe is fully formed. Imagine how confusing and terrifying this would be. Thanks to Sharon McMahon of @sharonsaysso, I can offer these two resources for helping talk to your children:
- Reach out to the teachers you know. Teachers are not okay. Can you imagine what it’s like to go to school the day after a mass shooting? Many of these teachers have children of their own — so they are coping with the fear that comes along with that. And then they must go and face OUR children. Comforting them, explaining things to them. The burden upon them is too much. So let them know you see them. Let them know you care. Ask them what they need and then try like hell to make it happen.
- Become more involved in the mental health of your community. Whether you donate to a local mental health center (we love Seacoast Mental Health Center) or show up at City Council meetings to advocate for more mental health support, get involved. BE your community. Some facts to inform your actions:
- Organize your friends. Never have I ever met a more powerful group than parents. Particularly moms. So, let’s use our organizational skills to enact real change in our communities. Join your local chapter of Moms Demand Action. Start a committee at your school to support mental health. There is no limit to what we can do. But for God’s sake, let’s do SOMETHING.
We have let our children pay the price for too long. Even if you’re late to this movement against gun violence, we welcome you with open arms. We need all the help we can get.