I didn’t choose this fight so much as it chose me.
My son, Jordan Davis, was killed 17 months ago when an argument over the volume of music playing in his car prompted a man to take my child’s life. Nine weeks ago, a hung jury couldn’t come to an understanding of what constitutes murder in the state of Florida.
Today, we’re calling on the National Rifle Association’s leadership to pay heed to the 90% of American citizens who believe that one’s Second Amendment rights can coexist with common sense safety laws.
I’m currently joined in Indianapolis – where the NRA is hosting its annual meeting – by hundreds of other moms from around the country. In the weeks, months and years ahead, we’ll continue to make our presence felt around the nation. We’re tired of being sidelined on this issue and, we’ll no longer stand idly by as the gun lobby fear-mongers politicians into submission.
So I’m joining mothers and countless other Americans, and together we’re fighting back against the egregious laws that allowed these deaths to occur in the first place.
We can’t wait for Washington to do something first. That’s why we’re taking this fight to state houses, city halls and to our neighbors around this country.
With the recent launch of Everytown for Gun Safety, the dual forces of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns have now become the most organized grassroots movement in this country that is working to end gun violence.
We will continue to engage Americans and build a tidal wave of momentum among our communities that is animated by the simple idea that keeping our kids and families safe is more important than protecting the interests of gun manufacturers and their lobbyists. We will remain diligent in persuading our legislators to execute the will of the people that put them in office. And, if they do not, we will replace them.
I grieve Jordan’s death, and I grieve the outcome of his trial. But I also realize that Jordan’s death serves as my calling to act on these issues, so that other moms don’t have to experience the unfathomable pain and suffering that defines the loss of a child.
I have come to realize that the senseless gun violence that took my son has taken the sons and daughters of too many other mothers and fathers in this country, as well, and that dangerous laws allowed these deaths to take place.
As a mother of a young man who was gunned down by a man with anger in his heart and empowered by a gun in his hand, I know firsthand the tremendous pain, suffering and loss it causes for the families left behind. This is a club no one wants to be a member of.And while the gun lobby may have a big head start, I truly believe that citizens standing for gun safety will eventually emerge victorious. I believe this because, little by little, I see signs that the momentum on these issues is moving in our direction.
When Colorado passed a background check bill last year, I felt hopeful. When I saw that Wisconsin passed a law keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers just this month, I felt hopeful. When I speak with audiences around the country and hear their stories, I feel hopeful too.
These moments of optimism are tempered by doubt and sadness, of course, but such is the case in a fight like this one. No one said this fight would be easy and I fully understand that changing the current gun culture across the nation will not take place overnight.
It will be a slow and sometimes emotionally taxing campaign, a crusade that our opponents will often deride and say can’t be won. But I also understand that it a fight on which we must not back down. Collectively, we must come together to keep our communities free from laws and policies that infringe upon our right to live without fear of senseless gun violence.
So stand up. Speak out.
The lives you save may be your very own.
Lucia McBath is the mother of Jordan Davis and a national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.