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Six months ago, as we all tried to process the horror of the Newtown massacre, many of us found each other on Facebook. We were friends, friends-of-friends, and total strangers. We were all parents, and like millions of others that week, we were struggling to cope with the tragedy and understand how our culture had reached this point, where the will to commit such inordinate violence and the means to do so had converged. Our empathy, grief and frustration led to the creation of this group, and today we celebrate with bitter sweetness the milestone of reaching 1,000 likes on Facebook. Not bad for a small organization of volunteers with full-time jobs, children to care for, and $0 budget — but still far from achieving the goals we have set for our group.

We remain committed to reducing gun violence in the U.S., including homicides, accidents and suicides. We also remain committed to being a reasonable, evidence-based voice in the national debate about this issue. Our group members’ politics are diverse, and several of the founding members and steering committee members own firearms. We have been cautious about teaming up with other organizations on individual initiatives because our mission is relatively unique in trying to bridge the more polarized “sides” in the national discussions about firearm safety and legislation.

In the short time since Parents Against Gun Violence formed, we have sponsored a Child Appreciation Day (in response to “Gun Appreciation Day”) that garnered national attention. We have spent many hours researching gun violence, from its causes and effects to the methods that might reduce it — and whether evidence suggests that those methods might (or might not) work. We have spoken with national media outlets and participated in a Huffington Post-sponsored discussion on the issue. We have created over a dozen graphics and “memes” that have been shared among tens of thousands on Facebook. (These are not snarky graphics that intend to demean gun owners; rather, they are designed to educate people about the facts related to gun violence in the U.S. and to make people think about where they stand on various issues.) Some members have also attended vigils and memorials as representatives of PAGV

As an organization, we are still in our infancy, and we know the road ahead is long and likely filled with obstacles. Yet many of our children are also still infants, and we’ve signed up for the hard work of raising them and keeping them safe. We’re in this fight for them, and we’re in it for the long haul. If this sounds like you, please join us.

logo2Parents Against Gun Violence was founded by a nationwide coalition of mothers and fathers hours after the Newtown, CT killings.  In the weeks that followed, our members were busy collecting and studying scientific, peer-reviewed research on the causes of gun violence and gun accidents, and strategizing about how to reduce both.

At the same time, we have engaged in intensive dialogue with concerned citizens from across the political spectrum.  Through this process of research and dialogue, we have developed a set of five policy planks that we believe can gain support across the political spectrum, and that provide a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence. We encourage all concerned citizens to contact their representatives, senators and any other elected officials as well to advocate for these policy proposals. If you would like to sign the petition promoting this platform, click on the Change.org petition here.

As parents, we urge lawmakers and the President to consider the following:

Policy Plank 1.) Empower law enforcement

a.) Approve Andrew Traver, President Obama’s nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.  Without a leader, the Bureau is hampered in its ability to enforce its congressionally mandated responsibilities, such as investigating and prosecuting straw purchasers who buy guns for criminals. More »