Following last night’s energetic rally, hundreds of gun safety advocates for Toms’ End Gun Violence Together campaign descended upon Capitol Hill to hand-deliver more than 700,000 postcards calling for legislation on universal background checks.
Washington, D.C.’s chilly temperatures and pouring rain did little to dampen the spirits of activists, including LIFE Camp’s Erica Ford, National Student Walkout organizer Winter BreeAnne Minisee and March for Our Lives chief strategist Matt Deitsch — all of whom helped mobilize the crowd in their journey to meet with members of Congress.
“We are in the only city in America where ending gun violence is a controversial subject,” Deitsch explained to FN. “I’ve been to 41 states in the last year [and] met with hundreds of thousands of people. We all agree that something needs to be done to end gun violence, and we agree on a majority of those policy points, with universal background checks being a staple of America.”
He added: “97 percent of Americans agree on this one thing — do you know how rare that is? It’s like 30 degrees outside, and you couldn’t get 97 percent of people to say it’s cold. More than 300 million Americans want universal background checks. It’s not a left or right issue; it’s a human issue.”
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Among the volunteers was Georgetown University freshman Claudia Palomarez, who chose to participate in the campaign despite a calculus and microeconomics midterm exam scheduled this week.
“Gun violence and common-sense gun reform is something very pressing to me,” she told FN. “It’s a big issue, and I think it’s an easy solution. It’s a battle that has been fought for way too long.”
After launching in November shortly after the shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Toms’ campaign has traveled across the country, with stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh. Today, it reached its final destination in D.C.
A landmark vote on the H.R. 8, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, is scheduled at the end of February. (The bill will require a background check for every firearm sale.)
“One of the things that I’ve been inspired by in the past 24 hours and meeting with several congressmen and congresswomen is that every single one of them says these postcards really do matter,” Toms founder Blake Mycoskie said, addressing a crowd ahead of the march. “In this day and age, it’s so easy to send an email, harder to make a phone call, no one really gets snail mail anymore — so when they get this many postcards… they have to pay attention to them. It really is gonna make a difference when the vote happens here in the next couple of weeks.”
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