Gun Sense at the Ballot Box

For decades, the NRA’s stranglehold on America’s lawmakers shaped gun politics. It was easy to feel like nothing could be done. But that’s not the case anymore. Women are getting off the sidelines to pull the levers of power we have available to us. Women are using our voices and the power of our pocketbooks and now, we’re running for office, too.

There are nearly 80 million moms in America, and many of us have banded together to demand change from politicians who have allowed the NRA’s guns everywhere agenda to endanger our communities. And what we’ve learned is that when we can’t change the hearts and minds of elected leaders, we have to change our elected leaders. And that’s why so many gun violence survivors and Moms Demand Action volunteers are running for elected office — from school boards to city councils to Congress.

Lucy McBath, whose 17-year-old son Jordan was shot and killed by a man objecting to the music he was playing in his car, is running for Congress in Georgia’s 6th District

Last November, 13 survivors and volunteers from our organization ran for office — nine won. This year, more than 50 Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America volunteers are running for office — in states like Iowa, Georgia, North Carolina, California and more.

In Iowa, Amber Gustafson, a small business owner and gun owner, is running for state senate after years of volunteering as the leader of Moms Demand Action’s Iowa chapter. After learning how to shape policy and impact culture through Moms Demand Action, Amber decided she wanted to actually make policy. She’s now taking on the State Senate Majority Leader, who has been a strong supporter of the NRA’s agenda.

Linda Cavazos — a grandmother, family therapist and former teacher — is running for the Clark County School Board in Nevada

In North Carolina, another former Moms Demand Action chapter leader is running: Christy Clark, a paralegal and mother of five, is running for state representative. Like Amber, Christy spent countless hours working with lawmakers in her state to demand common-sense gun laws and organized thousands of other volunteers to take action across her state. Now, she’s determined to use those skills as a lawmaker herself.

Jennifer Longdon, was paralyzed in a random drive-by shooting, is running for a state house seat in Arizona

Other candidates who are gun violence survivors include Dr. Jennifer Zimmerman who is running for Congress in Florida and has had family members affected by domestic gun violence. Jennifer Longdon, a gun owner who survived a random shooting that left her paralyzed from the chest down, is running for a state house seat in Arizona. And Lucy McBath, a former Moms Demand Action spokesperson whose son was shot and killed in 2012, is running for a Georgia Congressional seat.

Moms Demand Action volunteers who are educators and mental health professionals — like Mary Catherine Roberson in Illinois, Linda Cavazos in Nevada, and Carolyn Dupont in Kentucky — are running to make sure families have every opportunity to thrive.

Every one of these candidates is making sure that gun safety is a key issue in November. The time for thoughts and prayers alone has long passed. Now, it’s time for action. It’s time for leadership.

And we know how to win. Just look at Vermont and Florida — these states were once NRA strongholds and this year, both passed sweeping gun violence prevention packages. Oregon and Kansas passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Meanwhile, Red Flag Laws are gaining support in states across the country, empowering local police officers and family members to seek a court order to temporarily block a person from having guns if they are a danger to themselves or others. Volunteers involved with these wins and so many others are now thinking through their own runs for office. Moms Demand Action volunteers have learned how statehouses work — and they know they can run them better.

Mary Catherine Roberson, a single mom of three and domestic violence survivor, is running for Vermilion County Clerk in Illinois

Our volunteers also know that when they run, they’ll have a grassroots army of millions of Moms Demand Action supporters and volunteers working to support them. Our volunteers are registering voters and canvassing and calling to support these gun sense candidates — they’ve held nearly 2,000 events so far this year to elect leaders who will vote on this issue.

As the saying goes, it’s mothers who brought you into this world, and they will take you out — of your elected seat in municipalities, statehouses and in Congress. And we’ll replace gun lobby-backed lawmakers with leaders who know that people’s lives are more valuable than gun manufacturers’ profits.