Over the past three weeks, we have seen our membership numbers grow, our donations increase, and the number of “likes” on our Facebook page jump.
We have seen the issue of gun violence take center stage at the recent Democratic debate and candidates call out the National Rifle Association.
In national conference calls, national and state gun violence prevention groups are noting surges of new members. The topic of gun violence and calls for gun law reforms and a comprehensive plan to address the issue can be heard daily now – on the news, in the papers, and online.
Simply put – people are fed up.
Since Sandy Hook, there have been NO changes to any federal laws around firearms. None. Even modest proposals are met with loud and angry oppositions and completely fabricated accusations that universal background checks somehow mean gun bans or confiscation.
This past weekend, we had our first ever membership meeting. It was scheduled to last an hour but due to questions and brainstorming, lasted nearly two. We had more people show up than we were expecting. Many brought friends. The members were different ages and came from different backgrounds but they all had one key thing in common – frustration with the lack of action by both our congress and our state legislature.
Yesterday, we had our first advisory board meeting. Our advisory board is still growing but is made up of members of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatricians. It’s made up of suicide prevention experts and academic scholars who study the issue of gun violence and mental illness. It’s made up of nurses in children’s hospitals.
They see the aftermath of gun violence every day. Like us, and like a growing number of Americans and Tenneseans, they too are fed up with continued inaction in the face of tragedy after tragedy. As physicians, they are frustrated by the lack of preventative action when study after study show policies that have successfully reduced lives lost to bullets.
Yep. We are still a small, grass roots group of volunteers, but make no mistake. We are growing bigger and stronger every day. And, we’re not going anywhere. In fact, we are just getting started.