Gun Safety Groups Plan Historic Congressional Push
In what organizers are labeling as the largest gun violence advocacy event in U.S. history, Americans across the country will be joining the National Day to Demand Action on Thursday, which will include rallies, petition drives, press conferences, and calls to senators’ district offices while Congress is at home for Easter-Passover recess.
On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden addressed supporters on gun reform progress as part of Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ Demand Action campaign. Other organizations involved in Thursday’s advocacy day include President Obama’s grassroots group Organizing for Action, and Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly’s American for Responsible Solutions, who Wednesday released a video showing Kelly demonstrating how easy it is to go through a background check when buying a firearm.
Also on Wednesday, conservative Democratic senators Joe Donnelly (IN) and Kay Hagan (NC) came out in support of expanding background checks, meaning the remaining Democratic fence-sitters are Mark Pryor (AR), Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Mark Begich (AK).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to introduce a base bill when Congress returns from recess that will include universal background checks and stiffer penalties for gun trafficking. He will be introducing an assault weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity magazines as amendments.
Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently announced a $12 million TV ad campaign that will push senators in key states to back gun control legislation. The group is also hiring organizers and opening field offices in 10 key states. Also, President Obama is hitting the road to push for his gun safety proposals.
The historic grassroots mobilization for gun control comes nearly three and a half months after the Newtown mass shooting that killed 20 children and six adults. A new CBS News poll shows that public support for stronger gun laws has slipped 10 points to 47 percent since just after Newtown. However, a recent University of Massachusetts poll still shows a majority of 53 percent support an assault weapons ban and a new Quinnipiac University poll finds that 88 percent of Americans still support universal background checks.