How To Advocate For Gun Control In The Wake Of The Las Vegas Shooting
In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 people and injured hundreds, many people are demanding increased gun control in the the United States. If you want to take action, but are not sure how to advocate for gun control after the Las Vegas attack, there are many ways you can contribute your time and resources — whether it's through working with a gun control organization, contacting government officials, or donating funds, among other strategies.
Following the shooting in Vegas, many people, including members of the public as well as television hosts, like Jimmy Kimmel, made impassioned pleas with their fellow Americans and with government officials to take action to curb gun violence. Indeed, as Kimmel pointed out, even in the wake of extreme tragedy, the federal government often does little, if anything, to improve gun control measures. For example, Kimmel noted that, in the days following last year's Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, 56 Senators voted against closing gun purchase loopholes, a move which would have made gun sales safer. Moreover, this week the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill that would ease restrictions on the sale of silencers for guns.
If you, like Kimmel and many others, are frustrated with the state of gun control in the United States and want to do something to advocate for changes, there are many ways in which you can contribute right now.
1. Call Congress
You can take immediate action to help stop the passage of House legislation that will ease the restrictions for the sale of gun silencers. As Everytown For Gun Safety points out, this is imperative because silencers make guns even more deadly, as "the distinctive noise that a gun makes is one of its most important safety features: when people hear a gunshot, they know to run, hide, protect themselves or notify law enforcement."
You can help stop the silencer legislation by calling your elected official. Everytown For Gun Safety has provided this helpful form to look up your elected official's phone number as well to provide talking points to use during your call.
2. Donate To Gun Control Organizations
You can also take immediate action to help advocate for gun control by donating to one of many dedicated organizations working tirelessly at the local, state, and federal levels to bring about legal and social changes that will help end gun violence. The following are some of the many organizations to which you can donate:
If you want to take action on the ground and in your community to combat gun violence, consider signing up to join Everytown for Gun Safety's List of Mobile Gun Sense Activists. Once you join, the organization will text you recommended actions you can take in your community to advocate for gun control. Beyond signing up for the activist list, you can also use Everytown's website to find an advocacy event near you. Similarly, you can sign up for the Newton Action Alliance's newsletter to be notified of gun control advocacy events that you can join.
Additionally, you can volunteer your time by joining a local chapter of the Brady Campaign or starting your own if one is not available in your area.
4. Spread The Word
You can also use online tools to help advocate for gun control by ensuring that others are informed about its importance and and by publicly showing your support. Americans for Responsible Solutions recommends using this email template to ask your friends and family to advocate for gun control and contact their legislative officials. Moreover, the Brady Campaign suggests using social media hashtags and profile picture alterations to draw attention to gun control advocacy.
5. Advocate For Mental Health Protections
As the Prevention Institute pointed out, mental health services in the United States are repeatedly slashed, while gun ownership is on the rise. Consider donating to organizations advocating for parity for mental health coverage (a.k.a. the notion that mental health is treated the same as physical health when it comes to insurance coverage) in order to help improve mental health services, while also not forgetting to donate to other organizations to increase gun control regulations. One such organization working on mental health coverage parity is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
6. Sign Petitions
Both the Brady Campaign and Americans for Responsible Solutions (and likely many other gun control organizations) have online petitions which you can sign to ask Congress to take immediate action to improve gun control measures, including through expanding and improving background checks for gun purchasers.
Overall, there are many actions you can take right now to help contribute to improving gun control in the United States. Comprehensive gun control reform needs to occur at the state, local, and federal levels, so contributions at any and all levels certainly make a difference when it comes to creating long-term solutions to ending gun violence.