The shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 has provoked thoughts on whether or not teachers should carry weapons in schools and or if schools need more security and safety measures. Likewise, the conversations on gun laws and gun accessibility has stormed the country, stirring debates from both sides of these issues.
It has also spurred plenty of actions led by everyday people against the National Rifle Association (NRA). A local group, Moms Demand Action, based out of Kettering Ohio, is also taking action.
Moms Demand Action is a non-profit group comprised of fierce advocates for preventing gun violence. The local chapter is run by Shannon Dechant. She is a mother and Dayton resident who feels strongly about keeping her kids and other kids safe. Moms Demand Action has been around for a little over a year.
Dechant and Moms Demand Action feel that some more steps need to be taken to prevent gun violence. They really want to stop hearing about kids losing their lives.
“I want my children to live. I want everyone’s children to live,” Dechant said. “I don’t want children to be shot with guns, and this is uniquely an American problem.”
Moms Demand Action has over 5,000,000 supporters all across The United States. They have a local chapter in almost every major city in the country. The group saw an intake of around 75,000 new supporters the Friday following the tragedy in Parkland.
Locally in Kettering, what used to be a small quiet meeting of 10 to 15 people in a library, turned into 63 attendees.
“We actually had to move our meeting space to a church building because the maximum occupancy for the library was only 60 people.” Dechant said. “It was a great turn out.”
Moms Demand action groups across Ohio have seen an increase in membership as well.
“After Parkland, it’s been way different,” Dechant said. “Membership attendees have gone up 5-10 percent.”
Moms Demand Action states that since it is a non-profit organization, there are no fees or dues to pay to be apart of the group. This is also the reason why they consider new people as supporters and not members. They just volunteer in their free time or on weekends.
Contrary to popular belief, Moms Demand Action is not against all weapons. They don’t support a total weapons ban and they don’t condone stripping citizens of their second amendment rights. Studies show that a rifle ban is not likely to pass anyways. The last time that succeeded was in 1994, and even then the government retracted the ban.
They want to keep AR-15’s and other deadly assault weapons out of schools and other places where children frequent. Dechant said that as a mom, she is tired of all these preventable shootings happening to children.
“We’re not anti-gun at all, just anti-violence,” Dechant said. “Many of our members are gun owners themselves.”
Moms Demand Action preaches about gun safety and encourages gun owners to educate themselves and others about gun laws and regulation.
They push for locking up guns that are not in use in safes, not just lying around in a drawer or a closet. They say that it is much more likely for a child to find the weapon and use it the more easily accessible it is.
When a high profile tragedy such as Parkland or Sandy Hook occurs, there is always an upsurge of membership with people trying to make a difference in their community. However this is not enough, as these school shootings continue to happen and will continue to make headlines across the country if change does not start occurring.
The biggest difference from Parkland to Sandy Hook is that more students are getting involved.
“These 17 and 18 year old kids in Parkland are using their voice and there’s a lot of people that want to back them,” Dechant said. “Moms Demand Action supports the March Against our Lives movement.”
Students Demand Action is a similar group, except that it’s student led. Teenagers involved in this group will go to the state house on March 24 to have their voices heard about the measures that need to be taken to prevent gun violence.
“We need to challenge, rather than accommodate gun violence.” Dechant said.
Moms Demand Action urges people to contact their local politicians and take action. When more and more people speak up, it’s that much harder for the lawmakers to ignore them.
“We need to prevent, rather than react to gun violence” Dechant said.
If you or anyone you know would like to be educated more on gun laws, please visit the following: