On the second anniversary eve of the Tucson shooting that injured former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence held a special phone briefing with thousands of supporters across the country, urging them to take action now on comprehensive solutions to gun violence.
Brady Campaign president Dan Gross, whose brother was severely wounded in a shooting in 1997 at the Empire State Building, told supporters that the Newtown tragedy is turning into the “single best opportunity to pass serious gun legislation in our lifetime.”
“A real movement is happening in the nation, finally, to create change that is far too long overdue,” said Gross, who was joined on the call by Tucson survivor and current Arizona congressman Ron Barber, as well as Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard, and Sandy Phillips, mother of Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi.
Gross talked of the disconnect between the overwhelming majority of American people who want sensible gun laws, and the divisions among elected officials, and how the Brady Campaign wants to bridge that gap to enact laws that will prevent another tragedy by mobilizing the American people to pressure political leaders to act through the We Are Better Than This public service campaign.
Suggestions included contacting legislators, getting involved with Brady Campaign and Million Mom March local chapters, and co-signing a letter from families of mass-shooting victims to take sensible action on preventing gun violence.
He said the focus is on a comprehensive set of solutions to begin to address the 10,000 gun murders and 30,000 gun deaths every year. Gross mentioned banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and dealing with mental illness as important, but that even more important is taking action on background checks to keep dangerous people from buying guns. He said background checks have nothing to do with 2nd Amendment rights and that 92 percent of Americans and 74 percent of NRA members support strengthening background checks.
Barber said he is focusing similarly on closing big loopholes in background checks, which he said in Arizona are wide open. He said he fears that in the days and weeks ahead, people will forget about this, and that it is important to keep the gun control issue alive by writing, calling and meeting in person with members of Congress.
Phillips echoed Barber’s comments about the urgency of taking action to pressure leaders on new gun safety regulations.
“We are still in grief, but are now at a point in the country that none of us can stay quiet. We need to take a stand,” said Phillips. “We are all joined in force. There is a groundswell. But if America gets quiet again, then we will become a sleeping giant again, and we will be participating in the same phone call when the next massacre occurs.”