The growing Latino demographic in our country, along with their demonstrated voting power, is poised to push legislators to favor stronger gun safety laws. And within the Latino community, women, especially mothers, are likely to be at the forefront in calling on Congress to protect our nation's children against gun-related violence.
That's why Latina moms, along with other mothers from coast to coast, are voicing their concern about the safety of their families and calling for common sense gun violence prevention measures.
MomsRising, a national organization advocating on behalf of families, collected over 150 thousand petitions signed by mothers across the country demanding Congress to pass gun safety laws that protect children and all people. The petitions were delivered last month to Members of Congress on the second month anniversary of the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Now, this upcoming Thursday, March 14th, the third month anniversary of the elementary school shooting, the group will be delivering their petitions to the leaders of the National Rifle Association.
Danielle Gonzales, a MomsRising member who joined dozens of moms to deliver the over 150 thousand petitions to Congress last February, said: "I have a 2-month-old baby and I am participating in delivery the petitions to our Members of Congress so they know that I will do everything I can to make sure my child lives in a safe environment."
For Latinas, the strong support on gun safety laws is overwhelming and national polling on Latino and women's perspectives reflect that case.
A Pew Research Center study released last April found that Latinos are more likely than any other ethnic or racial group to favor strict gun control laws. The same study also shows that women are more likely than men to favor stricter gun-control laws.
According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine article, guns are the second leading cause of death in young people aged 1 to 24.
These gun-inflicted deaths of our country's young occur every day of the year creating almost unbearable family tragedies that are often unmentioned by the media.
The New England Journal of Medicine also states that gun-related injuries accounted for 6,570 deaths of children and young people in 2010. That averages out to seven children and youth who are dying every day in our country due to guns. The total number of gun-related murders in the United States for children and adults is about 30 per day, according to the most recent data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This ongoing crisis is punctuated at times by horrific massacres, and the year 2012 was no exception.
On December of that year, we witnessed the killing of 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Earlier on in February, a 17 year old took a 22-caliber pistol and a knife to a high school in Chardon, Ohio, and fired 10 shots at a group of students sitting at a cafeteria table before school; three students died.
Recently, on CNN's "State of the Union," David Keene, President of the NRA, an organization that advocates for firearm ownership and the prevention of gun control mandates, predicted that pro-gun safety advocates will "not be able to get an assault weapons ban through Congress."
We cannot let the leadership of the NRA be in position of dictating the safety of our families.
Mothers and fathers across the country are committed to keeping their families safe. And they recognize the role politicians play in making this possible.
We expect Congress to follow through by working together to find effective solutions. We, mothers do not accept more excuses that put our children in jeopardy.
No more listening to the power of lobbyists' money instead of listening to mothers, to families.
Women and the Latino community are both leading the calls for the passage of effective gun control legislation that would put families' safety at the forefront, and others are increasingly doing likewise.
It's time to mandate universal background checks for all gun purchasers, to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, ban high capacity magazines and support a federal gun trafficking statute with real penalties to stop the illegal sales of guns between state-to-state and international jurisdictions.
Let's show the world that the United States puts families ahead of politics, and certainly ahead of the self-serving leadership of institutions like the NRA.