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Is Drunk Driving the Key to Ending Gun Violence?

March 5, 2013

It’s difficult to imagine a time when driving drunk carried no social stigma; in the future, we could say the same about purchases without background checks, unlocked guns around children and guns in the hands of the mentally ill.

— Isa-Lee Wolf

By Isa-Lee Wolf

Moms kiss boo-boos and cut the crusts off sandwiches. They supervise homework and tuck everyone in at night and get everyone to six different places at five different times.

And they change the world.

Candace Lightner lost her daughter to a drunk driver — a repeat offender — in 1980, and the tragedy spurred her to found Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her group altered the public perception of driving intoxicated. As Lightner notes in her CNN op-ed piece, when she began her grassroots efforts, driving while impaired was not even illegal in some states.

1_madd_logo_red-690Her group shifted attitudes from public nonchalance about the danger of drinking and driving to near-universal awareness that drinking and driving can, and often does, end in heartbreak.

And now Lightner’s calling for a similar movement with guns, one that will affect a widespread cultural transformation, as MADD has done. It’s a change in how we talk about guns, legislate them and educate.

Shannon Watts, Founder, Moms Demand Action

Shannon Watts, Founder, Moms Demand Action

As you might expect, there are moms already on the case. Moms Demand Action, a national non-profit, was founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Started by Shannon Watts at the end of 2012, the group already has a growing string of chapters. Here in Chicago, the local group’s Facebook page, as of the time of this writing, had more than 2,300 “likes.”

The non-partisan Moms Demand Action advocates a tighter approach to gun ownership while acknowledging the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. It’s part of a broader movement changing our cultural relationship to guns, one that isn’t about ostracizing gun owners, but bringing owners and non-owners together to figure out ways to prevent another Newtown tragedy.

Read the entire commentary at

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