The Best Mother's Day Gift of All

Eight more moms may get to kiss their child good night on Mother's Day. Another 48 moms might get to tuck their kids into their own beds of spending Mother's Day at a hospital bedside.
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On Mother's Day, May 14, 2000, approximately 750,000 individuals, led by mothers concerned about gun violence, gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC to demand sensible gun laws. Across the country, an additional 150,000 to 200,000 people marched in their own communities.

Marsha McCartney and her family, including two grandchildren, marched on Mother's Day in 2000 at the local event in Fort Worth, Texas. Marsha went on to become a member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees as well as the Chair of the National Council of Million Mom March Chapters.

Concerned about the violence in our country, Marsha left the May 2000 events ready to do what she could to help make her community safer. Now the co-president of the North Texas Brady Campaign Chapter based in Dallas, as well as state president of the Texas Million Mom March Chapters, Marsha believes that one day her state will strengthen its weak gun laws, and that Texas communities and families will be safer because of it.

Marsha sent me the following column she wrote for this Mother's Day, and I wanted to share it with you:

The Best Mother's Day Gift of All

This Mother's Day, millions of American moms will receive flowers, gifts, and the special attention of loved ones.

But approximately eight moms will receive something else - the news that one of their children has been killed by a gun. Another 48 moms will learn that a child has been shot, but has survived. On an average day in America, 56 children and teens are the victims of gun violence - and eight of those die of their injuries.

That's every day of the year, Mother's Day included.

And those figures don't include the 76 adults who will be killed by a gun, or the 148 other adults who will be shot and wounded on Mother's Day. Each of these victims is someone's child, too.

Why does this happen? Because right now, it is far too easy to obtain a gun in America. In most states, even convicted felons and the dangerously mentally ill - like the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre - can walk into any gun show and buy any weapon from an unlicensed seller without anyone checking their background. Or even asking them any questions.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Effective gun control legislation works. The Brady Bill, which was passed by Congress in 1993, has kept at least 1.5 million dangerous people from purchasing firearms. Think of how many moms have been unknowingly spared the pain of losing a child simply because the law prevented the purchase of a gun by someone who has no good reason to have one.

Unfortunately, the Brady Bill contained a loophole. The sensible and effective background checks imposed by Brady cover only sales by licensed gun dealers, but are not applied to the significant share of guns that are sold every day by unlicensed sellers at gun shows. It doesn't take an advanced degree to figure out that if you want a weapon but can't pass the background check, you go to a gun show.

What can we moms do? One common-sense step we can take is to help close the gun-show loophole. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to do just that, and all three of the leading presidential candidates have previously voiced their support of the idea. But our elected representatives need to hear from every mom, loudly and clearly, that we support this bill and that we will keep pressuring them until it is passed and signed into law.

Getting gifts on Mother's Day is wonderful. But imagine if every mother in America joined together and persuaded Congress to close the loophole that makes gun violence against our children so prevalent.

That means eight more moms may get to kiss their child good night on Mother's Day. That means another 48 moms might get to tuck their kids into their own beds instead of spending Mother's Day at a hospital bedside.

Now that gift would be priceless.

(Note to readers: This entry, along with past entries, has been co-posted on bradycampaign.org/blog and the Huffington Post.)

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