A Million Moms Can't be Wrong

Outraged by gun violence that has killed or wounded children, thousands of mothers and other supporters will participate in the Million Mom March this Mother's Day, to encourage Congress to enact tougher gun control legislation.

The Million Mom March, a grassroots organization founded in August 1999 by Donna Dees-Thomases, a mother of two, will take place on the National Mall in Washington DC on May 14th. Dees-Thomases was propelled into action when she tuned into the news one night to see the faces of terrified children who survived the Granada Hills, CA day camp shooting. Feeling ashamed of her lack of involvement on the issue, she applied for a permit to march on Washington and the Million Mom March was born. The original permit was for 10,000 people. That number grows by the hundreds daily, and is expected to be at least ten times that come Mother's Day. There are 44 state coordinators across the country organizing local level events. At least 20 other gatherings are planned throughout the United States. In addition, hundreds of buses are booked with participants coming from California, Maine, Texas, and Minnesota. Pennsylvania leads the pack with 100 buses headed for the nation's capital on Mother's Day.

The March is garnering high-profile support as well. Talk-show host and gun control supporter, Rosie O'Donnell will emcee the event, which begins at 10:00 am with an interfaith service. Ms. O'Donnell agreed to participate at the urging of Congresswoman, Carolyn Mc Carthy (D-NY), whose son was injured and husband was killed in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre. "The gun-control issue is of vital importance to me. These Million Moms are an inspiration, and as a mother this is a personal issue. I'm going to Washington for the future safety of all children," said Ms. O'Donnell. Corporate support comes from iVillage, Stride Rite shoes and Guess jeans, among others.

According to March organizers, their purpose is to educate and mobilize the mothers of America to the cause and challenge them as voting citizens to educate our children and our country about the life threatening danger of handguns. Among the participants specific goals: sensible cooling off periods and background checks; licensing of handgun owners and registration of all handguns, limit purchases to one handgun a month, safety locks for all handguns, no-nonsense enforcement of gun laws and enlisting the help of corporate America toward these goals. Contrary to opposition reports, the Million Mom March does not advocate banning guns. They believe that gun owners should be responsible for their weapons and know how to handle them safely.

"We want Congress to create meaningful gun policy in this country that treats guns like cars. We are asking Congress to enact sensible laws or face a time-out in November." Thomases said. Supporters intend to make gun policy an issue in the 2000 congressional races. Local moms representing the Million Mom March attended a White House Ceremony recently where President Clinton stood with Congressional leaders and called for the immediate passage of gun control initiatives.

The Million Mom March has set up a website which has extensive information about March details and ways to get involved on a local level. Contact 888-989-MOMS or go to the web site for further information on how you can get involved.

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