Monday, May 27, 2013

Week in Review: Gun Sense Advocacy and Nostalgia for the Nursery School Days

Last week I was a little lazy - both with writing here on my blog and with writing elsewhere. I think it's a trend that will carry from today - Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of summer - through Labor Day.

While I'm a pretty dedicated writer for nine months of the year, these three months of summer are oh-so-fleeting, and as much as I like the tappity-tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, I find it oh-so-easy to say goodbye when the weather turns nice. And of course, my three favorite little people are also underfoot, so even if the mood to tappity-tap did strike me, it's unlikely I could indulge it with mini-golf to be played, snacks to be fetched and books about pigeons to be read, only to be read again.

I've also started spending more of my time working as a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, a non-partisan group that demands action from legislators, companies, and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms.

Last week I attended a forum to discuss gun safety and gun sense advocacy, and I urge others to learn more about what the gun laws are where you live. Is it legal to carry a concealed weapon? Do your neighbors who own guns, and purchase them from a licensed dealer, undergo background checks - and if so, what are the extent of these checks?

The speaker at the event I attended, Robert Tessaro, shared many eye-opening statistics and information, much of it which I did not know prior to hearing him talk. For example, did you know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives hasn't had a permanent director since 2006 - the same time that due to NRA efforts it became necessary for a Senate confirmation of the director, one that in the seven years since has never been secured. You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page, but here's a short except:
“The bottom line is the gun lobby will oppose any nominee who promises to be a strong and effective director of the ATF,” said Dennis Henigan, vice president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Indeed, it was persistent lobbying by the NRA. that helped to get the confirmation requirement instated. In 2007, Bush nominated Mike Sullivan for the position, a U.S. Attorney from Boston with a good reputation, but Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Michael D. Crapo, both from Idaho, blocked his confirmation after complaints from an Idaho gun dealer."

I don't know about you, but when one in six of all accidental deaths of children is from guns, I think it's time for everyone to take action - not just me and other concerned parents, but legislators, responsible gun-owners, and anyone who thinks it's absolutely unacceptable that eight kids die from guns every single day.

I also urge anyone with children who are old enough to go unaccompanied to friends' homes to find out if there is a gun in the home, and if there is, if it is secured safely. Parents magazine has a very helpful article about how to ask about gun safety in the other homes, Guns Within Reach, as well as a Gun-Safety Pledge, which is also an important read.

The forum I attended also displayed an incredibly moving exhibit, Silent March, with shoes representing each person killed by gun violence in New Jersey since Newtown.

It's a lot of shoes.


I only wrote one piece last week, which was Nursery School Relics for The Huffington Post. It's a story from five years ago, about my oldest daughter's last day of nursery school. My littlest is going into his last year of nursery school next year, and then it's on to Kindergarten and bigger and better things for him. They really do grow-up so fast.

And while I may be sad and sappy about my children growing-up, the fact that they are growing-up is all that matters to me and my heart breaks each and every day for the mothers who are not given this joy because a gun shot and killed their child. And of course, my own heart worries each and every day that one day this sadness I feel for other mothers might not be so abstract.

So tomorrow I will call and write and email and read the nasty comments people leave on my Facebook and Instagram accounts and anywhere else I dare to express that I think gun regulation would mean good things for all of us, because it really does matter that much.


Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I just wish both sides would meet in the middle. I'm pretty sure that everyone would feel pretty comfy there if they really let themselves.

BadParentingMoments said...

I had no idea the ATF had been without a director for seven years. Unbelievable. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

Wow Anna - fascinating. I love your attitude about summer. I am leaning in that direction as soon as I finish the ITPR anthology. As for gun safety, great questions and great thinking points. My son's BFF's dad is an avid gun owner/hunter and I had to have that very conversation with that family the first time my son went over there to play. It was awkward, but they were eager to show me their gun safe and prove to me that they were very responsible gun owners. I've never worried about them since then and really appreciated the whole interaction.

Keesha said...

I applaud your open involvement in the gun safety issue, Anna. And I don't know if I could let my kids go play with someone whose parents kept a gun in their house. Hopefully it won't come to that.

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