Feb 19, 2013 | By Jean Sammon
Women, nearly unanimously, support a multi-pronged response to gun violence that includes stronger gun laws and anti-bullying measures, mental health services and counseling hotlines. This is one of the major findings from a poll initiated by Women United for Gun Violence Prevention.
I attended the meeting of this new group in Washington on February 5, and came away convinced that this group of determined women will make a difference in the gun violence debate. Many who spoke at the meeting, including several congresswomen, were personally affected by gun violence. The take-away message is that Congress needs to hear from women.
The media also needs to hear from us, said a communications consultant, because media commentators are trying to prolong the fight. I expressed concern about pundits who keep saying that Congress won’t do anything about guns. He suggested we tweet them to tell them to stop saying that.
We also need to use social media to get the message out that gun laws work: state gun laws have reduced gun violence. (See smartgunlaws.org/gun-law-statistics-and-research/ and www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/brady-law-15years.pdf )
The poll shows that women, across party lines, understand the problem and are ready to take action. We got a short lesson on how to be heard: be grounded, be personable, smile with your eyes and be serious with your mouth, tell a story and put a face on the issue. And if you are talking to a member of Congress, remind them that women vote!
I also attended the session on gun violence at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering where Vincent DeMarco, leader of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence spoke about the importance of advocacy for the following points: