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Sat December 14, 2013
Mothers, Citizens Break the Silence
This weekend, thousands of people nationwide and in North Carolina will hit the streets to advocate for better gun control legislation.
A year ago on December 14, the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting illustrated schools continue to be vulnerable to gun violence. On that day, 20-year-old Adam Lanza went into the school and fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members. Shortly after the tragedy, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America formed. It is a nationwide activist group driven by one goal, reducing gun violence in all communities. “This culture of permissiveness and easy access to firearms has got to stop.” Kaaren Haldeman is the North Carolina chapter leader. She says since that incident, in North Carolina an estimated 30 youth under the age of 18 have been killed in shooting incidents. “Peer reviewed research tells us that you increase the risk of death and injury by firearm when you add more firearm to the environment," explains Haldeman. "For legislators to willfully ignore that and instead cater to gun manufacturer, gun lobby mentality which is based on earning more money, to make public policy, I think you are failing the American people.”
There are Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America chapters in every state. Members include parents, concerned citizens and even gun owners. Haldeman says the best way to prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting is to change the national culture regarding guns. “We speak about firearms in the home when our children go on play dates, ensure that every gun owner is a responsible and safe gun owner. We talk to our favorite restaurant owner about posting no weapon signs, slowly changing this culture of permissiveness and easy access to firearms.”
According to Haldeman, members across the state are actively petitioning legislators in Raleigh to pull back recent laws that allow people with concealed weapon permits to carry guns in public area such as parks, restaurants and playgrounds. “What has been interesting to me is talking with concealed weapons carriers who don’t agree with these laws," says Haldeman. "People who are speaking for concealed weapons carriers do not speak for all permit holders, yet they seem to be driving policy.”
Saturday nationwide, Moms Demand chapters will host Break the Silence events to recognize the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. In Winston-Salem, people are invited to the Green Street United Methodist Church. The program begins at 9 a.m. and will culminate with the ringing of bells.