More Candidates Running In Midterm Elections To Combat Gun Violence

Gun Rights

From a Congressional race in South Carolina to a state house seat in Colorado, those personally impacted by gun violence are on the ballot this November.

The gun safety group “Moms Demand Action” has been helping to build a pipeline of advocates turned candidates.

“We now have 200 volunteers running up and down the ballot all across the country for all levels of government,” said Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts. “You know, the saying goes, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu,” she continued.

Watts, who started “Moms Demand Action” following the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, says she’s seen political activism intensify in the wake of mass shootings this year.

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“The foundation of any gun safety system is a background check on every gun sale,” Watts said. “State by state, we’ve passed them. We passed laws that require a background check on every gun sale in more than 20 states across the country, but we’re all only as safe as the closest state with the weakest gun laws.”

Ahead of the midterms, everyday gun violence has made crime an election day issue.

“It’s out of control,” said Eric Hall who lives near Baltimore, Maryland. “I’m not against owning and bearing arms. I’m not against it, but I feel that it might need more, stronger policies, more background checks.”

Cheryl Lonchas of Catonsville, Maryland, also cites crime as a concern but feels tougher gun legislation is not the solution. “I think there’s plenty, plenty, plenty of gun laws already; they just need to be effective,” said Lonchas who said she’d like to see greater enforcement of the current laws.

Daphne Alston lost her son to gun violence in 2008 and founded the group “Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters” to try and help put a stop to violence in her community. “Our pain is real, and the pain is real,” said Alston. However, she believes the issue of gun violence is far more complicated than just passing new gun laws. “You can’t legislate a broken child or a broken man,” said Alston.

Alston believes greater intervention is needed to help youth and adults before they turn to violence. “I don’t care who’s in office; it’s not going to change until we fix the root causes of crime,” she said.

Data from the Federal Election Commission shows both gun safety and gun rights groups are spending heavily this election season. Two of the nation’s biggest gun safety political action committees, “Everytown for Gun Safey Victory Fund and Giffords PAC, have raised nearly 24 million dollars; the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has raised more than 17 million.

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