The Herald Bulletin

February 23, 2013

Gun-control groups fight for ‘common-sense’ laws

One Million Moms 4 Gun Control founded in Indiana

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Indiana is known for its conservative presence. During election cycles, the Hoosier state can usually be expected to be solidly red. And Hoosier supporters of the Second Amendment are prevalent in both Republican and Democratic ranks.

But suburban Indiana is also the founding place of one of the strongest gun-control movements in the country.

Shannon Watts is a Zionsville native, mother of five and founder of One Million Moms 4 Gun Control, a newly-organized lobbyist group with the mission of stricter gun-control legislation.

“We hope to prevent more moms from experiencing the pain and heartache of those moms in towns like Aurora and Newtown,” Watts said. “We understand the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Just not all arms.”

The organization was formed just days after the Newtown, Conn., shooting and held its largest demonstration on Jan. 26. Seventy-five chapters across the country gathered in public places to demand action from leaders and lawmakers. The largest demonstration was in Washington at the National Mall.

In downtown Indianapolis, Andrea Spiegelberg led the Central Indiana chapter in a demonstration at the circle monument.

“It was great, we had just over 100 people. It was way beyond the original expectations we had,” Spiegelberg said.

Spiegelberg, a mother and activist from Fishers, said the organization’s goal isn’t to disarm law-abiding citizens but to usher common-sense solutions. She said current gun laws have too many loopholes and aren’t strict enough.

“We’re for banning military-style assault weapons. Pretty much any weapon that is designed to kill a large amount of people in a short amount of time,” Spiegelberg said.

While the support for gun control seems to be strong now, polls indicate the argument for stricter laws is actually losing steam, with exceptions being immediately after tragic shootings.

According to a Gallup poll, 78 percent of Americans supported stricter gun control in 1990. The number steadily decreased to 44 percent in 2012 and spiked again to 58 percent after the shooting in Newtown.

In 1959, 60 percent of Americans said they’d support a law that would restrict guns to police and other authorized persons. Even after the Newtown shootings, only 24 percent of Americans felt that way in January.

Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said that might be changing.

Everitt said the messages promoted by the National Rifle Association, encouraging an increase in firearms to prevent tragedies, are increasingly out of touch with sensible Americans.

“Their arguments are asinine, and they’re not connecting with normal people,” Everitt said. “And things have changed dramatically since Newtown. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I’d say the energy equation has shifted dramatically.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.