When these tragedies happen, there's a brief window of awareness and opportunity for action. Within weeks, given our intense media environment, it seems that people move on, and back into the bubbles of our personal lives.
If in the hours or days after a mass shooting has occurred you are moved to action — or if you're simply fed up and would like to see more legal constraints on firearm ownership, use, distribution and so on, here are local and national groups dedicated to increasing public safety through regulation of illegal guns, legally owned guns and both. Some groups work on-the-ground with high risk youth. Others work solely at a policy level, on legislation.
7+ Things You Can Do About Gun ViolenceHere are ways to get involved in reducing the toll of gun violence in America, which takes the lives of over 30,000 Americans every year.
- Log onto President Obama's website and leave a message calling for a renewal of the assault weapons ban, which, according to today's New York Times, is the most likely next piece of legislation in this field. But its been languishing.
- Send money or join up with a non-profit gun control organization: New Yorkers Against Gun Violence is New York State's state-wide group.
- Have a kid in college? Keep Guns Off Campus is dedicated to beating back the NRA's efforts to force state universities to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
- Interested in politics? The Violence Policy Center in Washington is a leading think tank and lobbying group on this issue, as is the Brady Campaign in DC. On the more legislative, technical side of things, check the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
- If you're reading this and you don't live in NYC: Write your local mayor and urge them to either join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, or urge them to act to prevent future tragedies. They are a group of 700 mayors from across America. If you don't see your city on this list, then urge your mayor (or start an e-campaign to urge them) to join in. "We support the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to own guns," they say, but they are looking for sensible ways to rein in illegal gun trafficking.
- Find your state organization dealing with gun violence prevention. If you aren't sure who or where that is, you can find here's a list from an organization called States United to Prevent Gun Violence.
- If you aren't sure what you think about gun control, then do a little homework. Look at the NRA website and see if what they're offering really reflects your view on this issue. If not, be aware that they wield huge policy influence.
- And, hot off the press, you can join a new initiative, the One Million Child March on DC for Gun Control.
It's been years since meaningful regulation on firearms has been passed in Congress, although New York State's laws are strong, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been actively committed to reducing gun violence both in New York City and nationally.