Local Moms Demand Action members, from left, are Martha Walker, Survivor and Quilt Lead; Michele Mueller, Jill Bowman, Kristine Woodworth and Lieutenant Elena Moto. Photo provided
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella organization for gun safety groups such as the Cincinnati Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, every day, more than 100 Americans are killed with guns and 200 more are shot and wounded. The effects of gun violence extend far beyond these casualties—gun violence shapes the lives of millions of Americans who witness it, know someone who was shot, or live in fear of the next shooting.
In order to illustrate the magnitude of everyday gun violence, Everytown has gathered the most comprehensive, publicly available data. Still, significant data gaps remain—a result of underfunded, incomplete data collection at the state and federal level. Filling these gaps is necessary to truly understand the full impact of gun violence in the United States.
However, during an average year, Everytown estimates gun deaths by intent in the United States totals 37,603.
Everytown for Gun Safety, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and the National Urban League, have provided data for all city leaders who want to reduce gun violence. Nearly two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides. The U.S. gun suicide rate is 10 times that of other high-income countries. Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide. Gun suicides are concentrated in states with high rates of gun ownership.
One-third of gun deaths are homicides. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other high-income countries. Access to a gun doubles the risk of death by homicide. Gun homicides are concentrated in cities—half of all gun homicides took place in just 127 cities, which represented nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. Within these cities, gun homicides are most prevalent in racially segregated neighborhoods with high rates of poverty. Black Americans represent the majority of gun homicide victims. In fact, Black Americans are 10 times more likely than White Americans to die by gun homicide. Gun violence has severely impacted communities of color.
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement in Cincinnati and throughout the country of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. The organization works to pass stronger gun laws at national and local levels and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. Members also work in their own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership.
“We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe,’’ Moms Demand Action members will tell you.
Moms Demand Action was founded by Shannon Watts, a mother of five. The day after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Shannon started a Facebook group with the message that all Americans can and should do more to reduce gun violence. The online conversation turned into a movement of moms, dads, students, families, concerned citizens and survivors working together with our partners in the gun violence prevention movement to end this uniquely American crisis.
Moms Demand Action has established a chapter in every state of the country and Washington, D.C. and, along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Students Demand Action and the Everytown Survivor Network, it is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly 6 million supporters and more than 350,000 donors.
Michele Mueller is the major leader of the initiative here in Cincinnati that organized six years ago; then she was chapter lead in Ohio; then was the state trainer for all the new leadership positions being created in Ohio and now she has a national role.
Mueller says her group doesn’t oppose gun ownership. “We have gun owners in Moms Demand Action. What we believe is you can respect the second amendment but with rights comes responsibilities,” Mueller says.
Donna Wyatt is the current local group leader. Jill Bowman is community outreach lead, and several other leaders focus on specialty areas.
“The best part of Moms Demand Action is we never do this work alone, and we couldn’t do this work without the wonderful support of our Cincinnati members,’’ Mueller said.
The members attend a number of vigils and events in the area, always advocating for others to join their effort in some way. Their message is on their red (for victims) and orange (for survivors) shirts.
Moms Demand Action/Cincinnati is more than 1,600 strong, with more than 6.2 million members nationally.
“We have hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground, including mayors and other community leaders,’’ she said. “The shift in our efforts now is to the state and local effort, where we have greater impact, be it in legislation, Be Smart gun safety programs and other programs.’’
Lawmakers, who have been greatly influenced by the National Rife Association, now have a counter force to deal with, thousands of voters from the other side, Muller said. “When we were founded, we learned the NRA was going state to state in attempts to weaken gun laws, so we went state to state to pass background checks, red flag laws, close dangerous loopholes at gun shows and online gun sales and other gun safety measures, which are supported by large majorities in Ohio. Sealing off the gun show loopholes and online sales is most effective measure in getting guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”
Although Moms Demand Action is nonpolitical, members also support gun-sense candidates nationwide. In 2018 they sent a gun-sense House of Representatives to Washington, D.C.
Individuals who would like to join Moms Demand Action should text READY@64433 or join by visiting momsdemandaction.org
Members continue to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.