Moms Demand Action Founder Honored 10 Years After Launching What Has Become Nation’s Largest Grassroots Gun Violence Prevention Movement
NEW YORK — Today, TIME named Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, to the 2023 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes will appear in the April 24 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, April 14, and now at time.com/time100. The list, now in its twentieth year, recognizes the impact, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
“Shannon Watts has taken up the mantle of gun-safety advocacy with the hope that in a generation, this uniquely American crisis will be an appalling relic of the past,” wrote Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-GA), former spokesperson for Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, in TIME. “Now, change is happening. For the first time in nearly three decades, a meaningful gun-safety package became law, and now more than a hundred gun-safety candidates have been elected. It is an honor to work alongside her as we create a safer country for future generations and for the American people.”
“This is an incredible honor, and it’s a testament to the political power built by the gun violence survivors and grassroots volunteers who power the gun safety movement,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are working alongside survivors to save lives through legislative, electoral and cultural change. What we’ve accomplished in the last decade is remarkable, and the success of our movement is inevitable.”
“Shannon has long been one of my biggest heroes, so it’s great to see her named to the TIME100,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Ten years after she launched the Facebook page that would launch a movement, the political calculus on gun safety has shifted away from the NRA and toward common-sense measures to keep Americans safe.”
“Thanks to Shannon’s steadfast leadership over the past decade, the gun violence prevention movement is stronger than ever and well-positioned to continue building on the past decade of success,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, senior vice president for movement building for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. “Shannon has lifted up the voices of survivors, elevated the stories of those impacted by our nation’s gun violence epidemic, and built a community of impassioned mothers and beyond to take on the gun lobby and win. She’s shown us all how to get off the sidelines to use our voices and our votes to help make a difference in our communities to save lives.”
As the organization moves into its next decade of advocacy, Watts announced earlier this year that 2023 will be her final year as a full-time volunteer and leader. Now one of the largest grassroots movements in the country, Moms Demand Action, as part of Everytown for Gun Safety, has nearly 10 million supporters and tens of thousands of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers in every state.
Everytown, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action have marked historic progress at all levels of government, beating the NRA and gun lobby, and changing the political calculus on gun safety. Last summer, we broke the nearly 30-year logjam in Congress and passed the most significant federal legislation to strengthen our federal gun laws in a generation, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This follows a decade of progress in statehouses across the country where Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have helped pass hundreds of good gun safety laws, blocked 90 percent of gun lobby-backed bills in the last eight years, and secured historic investments in gun violence prevention programs. In 2022 alone, state lawmakers and governors enacted more than 52 gun safety bills, invested $860 million in gun violence prevention and local violence intervention and prevention programs, and rejected dozens of extreme gun lobby-backed bills to weaken gun laws.
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have also become political powerhouses in their own right. A year after Everytown Victory Fund launched Demand a Seat, a program to recruit and train the next generation of gun sense candidates and campaign workers, a record number of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers launched campaigns for elected office. More than 275 volunteers and gun violence survivors ran in the 2021-22 election cycle and 158 won their races.