Over the weekend, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund hosted its annual training conference, Gun Sense University. There, thousands of volunteers and survivors of gun violence with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action from every state gathered virtually to share best practices, participate in training sessions and case studies about effective organizing and prepare for the crucial work ahead in 2020. The conference featured record attendance and grassroots volunteers took the conversation to Twitter where there were tens of thousands of tweets with the #GSU2020 hashtag trending for several hours this weekend. In just one hour on Sunday afternoon, volunteers took action by sending over 150,000 texts including texts to register new voters and to confirm the voter registration status of nearly 17,000 voters, and making over 6,000 phone calls to voters in priority races.
Here are just a few highlights of the weekend:
Jill Biden delivered a keynote address on Sunday afternoon to talk about the importance of gun safety in the 2020 election and thank volunteers for their work.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives, accepted the first-ever Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year award during a conversation with Everytown President John Feinblatt.
Volunteers Participated in Trainings and Case Studies Throughout the Weekend: Training and case study sessions included “Virtual Organizing for the Election” geared to students who are not returning to school due to the coronavirus pandemic; “Partnering with Local Street Outreach Groups in the time of COVID”; “Rural Organizing” to improve our outreach to rural volunteers; and “Gun Owners: Powerful Messengers of Gun Violence Prevention” to highlight the importance of gun owners in our movement. These options are just a sample of the nearly 115 total training and case studies that happened this weekend.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy Talked About the Importance Gun Safety and the Role of Grassroots Power: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo joined Everytown President John Feinblatt on Sunday afternoon to talk about the importance of gun safety legislation and the advocacy of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers. Senator Chris Murphy (pictured below) was joined by three student volunteers Ryan Pascal, Sari Kaufman, and Justin Funez to talk about the power of students in the gun safety movement.
Lawmakers and Influencers Sent Messages of Encouragement: Stacey Abrams, Rep. Karen Bass, Mike Bloomberg, Senator Cory Booker, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, Rep. Val Demings, A’shanti Gholar, Rep. Lucy McBath, Julianne Moore, Adam Scott, and Senator Elizabeth Warren all shared videos to encourage Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers to keep going in the fight for gun safety.
Everytown’s Gun Sense University focused on the importance of working with community partners, building a more inclusive and equitable movement, and encouraging volunteers to continue to fight for the gun safety movement through the upcoming election and beyond. Ahead of the 2020 election, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund have announced they will be spending $60 million this cycle and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are virtually canvassing and phonebanking to elect gun sense candidates up and down the ballot.