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Moms, Now 80 Chapters and 80,000 Members, Make the Case for Gun Control

March 16, 2013

indyMembers of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America protest outside the Indiana State House on March 9. (Photo: Michelle Pemberton, The Indianapolis Star)

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, founded in December, now has 80 chapters and 80,000 members.

John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS — Peg Paulson had never beaten a path through the halls of Congress before or met a U.S. senator’s staffer or advocated for a controversial issue.

So at the end of a long, tiring day in Washington on Wednesday, the Carmel mother said her fatigue and concern percolated to the surface during a meeting about gun control in Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats’ office

“I guess you could say I got a little emotional,” she said. “I didn’t go to the ‘ugly cry,’ but my voice was cracking, and I was tearing up.”

Just getting an audience was an achievement for Paulson, 53, and the nascent group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It was founded in December by Zionsville mother Shannon Watts after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn.

The group now has 80 chapters and 80,000 members and made its first lobbying trip to the Capitol in advance of a vote on a gun proposal.

That bill, to ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds, passed on a party-line 10-8 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. It was the fourth gun-control proposal the committee approved in a week. The others would require federal background checks for all gun purchases, crack down on illegal gun purchases and beef up school safety.

About 200 members from Moms Demand Action split into small teams and visited congressional offices for 30 states. Paulson and Watts were in Coats’ office when Paulson’s emotions boiled over.

“I was a little embarrassed because the others in our group were so poised,” she said. “But they said a little emotion is good once in a while.”

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