As US midterms approach, moms hit trail to preach gun control
Sterling (United States), Oct. 27 (PTI/AFP): With a stack of pamphlets under her arm, Dawnee Giammittorio — who has been a gun control activist since her sister-in-law was shot dead — goes door-to-door in northern Virginia, hoping to help flip control of Congress back to the Democrats.
Giammittorio is canvassing in a state that is traditionally conservative but gradually turning to purple, and even blue, as urbanisation brings a more diverse population, especially in the areas outside Washington.
“If we want the Congress to do something, we are going to have to change the people,” Giammittorio said in the runup to the November 6 midterm elections.
“We have ineffective gun laws.”
In this part of Virginia, gun issues are particularly sensitive, as America’s powerful gun rights lobby, the National Rifle Association, is based here.
Giammittorio belongs to Moms Demand Action, which gathers each weekend to campaign in pairs, meeting voters to discuss their work for candidates that support tougher gun controls.
The right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, but the issue of gun violence is a constant political football in America.
Mass shootings — sadly commonplace in the US — are often followed by calls for political action, which then fade into the background. And the cycle then repeats.
Every day in America, firearms kill more than 90 people. Two-thirds of those are suicides.
Like thousands of other moms, who wear red shirts for their cause, the 56-year-old Giammittorio is hoping for change at the ballot box.
She is campaigning for Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat running for a seat in the House of Representatives against Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, who has an “A” rating from the NRA for her voting record.
“Jennifer Wexton would definitely help change the balance in the House,” said Giammittorio, who is unabashed about her work for Moms Demand Action, which is backing 3,000 “gun sense candidates” on the federal, state and local levels.
Giammittorio, who lives closer to Washington in Alexandria, got up on a day off to canvass in Sterling, located in Loudoun County, the scene of the Wexton-Comstock race.
Wexton wants to ban assault-style weapons and bolster background checks for gun buyers, specifically to look at their criminal record and mental health history.
The contest is a high-profile one, and money is being poured into both campaigns.
Comstock has been dubbed “Trumpstock” in some ads, and is also the target of a spot featuring Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was nearly killed in a shooting attack in 2011.
“Shooting after shooting, Barbara Comstock has failed. She’s taken thousands from the NRA. We must do better,” Giffords said in the ad, which is running on local television networks.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA has spent USD 140,000 on Comstock’s campaigns since she was elected to Congress in 2014.