Newport This Week

Partnership Works to Reduce Gun Violence

To the Editor:

Dec. 14 marked the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy where 20 children and six educators lost their lives in Newtown, Conn. With the ringing of church bells all over the nation, we resolved to be silent no more until gun violence in America is a thing of the past. Bringing us one step closer to realizing that goal is the merger of two of this country’s largest and most active grassroots organizations involved in the movement to strengthen gun laws and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization barely one year old but with more than 130,000 members and chapters in all 50 states, and Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a bipartisan coalition of over 1,000 mayors and 1.5 million grassroots supporters, announced their merger on Dec. 19. MAIG, co-founded in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, has been highly visible in the national promotion of comprehensive background checks, bans on assault style weapons and large capacity magazines. The national bus tour, “No More Names,” was perhaps the most notable campaign. This partnership ensures the work of reducing gun violence will continue for decades to come and bring about more parity in the effort to respond to pro-gun lobbying at the federal level.

The Rhode Island Chapter of Moms Demand Action, founded in December of 2012 by Dawn Emsellem, with Aida Neary and Samantha Richard, all Newport County women, has grown to meet the challenge of introducing and promoting sensible gun legislation in the 2014 R.I. legislative session. While bills introduced in last year’s session had the support of top officials in law enforcement and the governor, a strong presence of gun rights advocates blocked passage of the most effective bills. This year, with assistance from MAIG and the newly formed Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, comprised of many well-respected antiviolence organizations, I believe the results will be different.

I urge those who want to be part of the movement to make their communities safer places to live to visit the R.I. Chapter of Moms Demand Action Facebook page ( for more information on how they can become involved.

Nan Heroux

Moms Demand Action R.I. Chapter, Middletown

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