Run This World

198 – Shannon Watts is Fighting Like a Mother to End Gun Violence

I’ve been deeply emotionally impacted by the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado in March 2021. So much that I made a post on my Facebook page asking for connections to people who are working to end gun violence in our country. That request quickly turned into a dispute about second amendment rights. I realized immediately that simply uttering the phrase “end gun violence” is a major trigger for many gun owners who believe that by simply attending a meeting, I would be trying to take away their guns.

It made me want to learn more about what is actually being done and if this assumption is in fact true. I reached out to the person this debate often centers around, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action which she launched shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 elementary school children and 6 educators in December 2012.

Before we talked, I attended my first Moms Demand Action meeting. One of the first things they said was, “We are anti-gun violence. We are not anti-gun.” It was such a simple statement that immediately got to the very heart of the often contentious debate that springs up whenever guns are mentioned as a possible factor in the gun violence that plagues our country.

I went into the conversation with the goal of educating myself and hopefully everyone listening. Shannon and I had just under 30 minutes to hit on as many topics as possible and we tackled a lot. If you want to learn more about Shannon’s work and what Moms Demand Action is doing, please check them out here.

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Notables:

How Shannon deals with the gun violence horrors that our country faces on a daily basis: She channels it into activism. “Activism is the rent we pay to live on this planet.”

Moms Demand Action was started after Shannon couldn’t find a group like MADD to support in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. She couldn’t find one so she started her own.

Power of Women: She knew that the change she was pushing for needed to come from an army of women fighting together.

There are many misconceptions in regards to the mission of Moms Demand Action, namely that they are trying to “take away people’s guns.”

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Our country was set up for incremental change which is happening.

Fear is the underlying emotion behind many people’s pushback on change.

Shannon’s book, “Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women will Change the World,” donates proceeds to Everytown for Gun Safety & other non-profits dedicated to ending gun violence.

Many friends have been asking me, “What can I do?”

Start by texting “Commit” to 644-33

Get involved. Donate to organizations like Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety. Become a member. Buy Shannon’s book and educate yourself. Think about what’s truly important to you and if ending gun violence is, then volunteer, run for office, become an advocate of the movement. Don’t let another act of gun violence go by with the same reaction you’ve had in the past – sadness, horror, then guilt that you didn’t do anything.