The conversation around the issue of gun violence has changed greatly in the past few years, with advocates and lawmakers continuing to fight for stronger safety measures.
Friday marks Gun Violence Awareness Day because there is still clearly a lot of work left to be done. There were 251 mass shootings in the first six months of 2019 alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun-related incidents in the United States. (The site defines "mass shooting" as an incident in which at least four people are either killed or wounded.)
So, what can you do if you want to join this fight? We're here to help. Ahead, we outline four ways you can push for gun reform measures in your community and nationally.
Support organizations working to reduce gun violence.
You can donate to or volunteer with national organizations that work to curb gun violence in the U.S. Many of them have local chapters you can join — if not, you can always start one!
Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for gun reform legislation. It also has a political action committee (PAC) to support candidates who vow to fight gun violence. One of Everytown's arms is the grassroots organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which helps organizers at the local level.
The Brady Campaign is one of the nation's oldest gun safety advocacy organizations. It pushes for gun safety policies but also for the enforcement of measures already on the books. One of its goals is to reduce gun deaths in half by 2025.
Giffords, founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, lobbies for gun safety legislation. It also has a political action committee (PAC) meant to elect lawmakers who support gun reform measures and unseat those who don't.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is made up of 48 organizations working in tandem to reduce gun violence in America, from enacting safety measures to preventing gun-related suicides.
States United to Prevent Gun Violence is a grassroots network made up of 32 groups at the state level working to reduce gun violence through legislation, education, and community action.
Contact your elected officials.
If preventing gun violence is a cause you're passionate about, you should contact your representatives and let them know. Remember, they work for you — so don't underestimate the power of pressuring those who hold public office! If you're not sure where to begin, here's a handy guide on how to contact your representatives in Congress. But it is equally important that you contact your local and state officials, whose decisions have an immediate impact on your daily life. Go here to find out their contact information.
Educate yourself and others about gun reform.
For some, gun reform can be a polarizing issue. To cut through misinformation, it is important to be educated. If you want to learn more about legislation targeted at reducing gun violence and why these measures matter, you can start reading here.
Vote, vote, vote.
If you care about reducing gun violence in your community, you need to vote for the candidates up and down the ballot who will best represent your interests. Here's how to register to vote.