Tri-Valley members of Moms Demand Action will be lobbying the Legislature March 18 for an increase in funding of important gun violence control programs.
The group will include members of a chapter in Livermore that is just getting underway.
The full name of the gun control group is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The “Gun Sense” in the group’s title is important, said Moms Demand Action state coordinator Amy Phillips. Instead of trying to abolish guns or modify their hardware, which polarizes the national discussion, Moms Demand Action studies research about what has been effective to control the violence itself, then lobbies for money to fund those programs.
The programs focus on such things as gun safety education, and disarming domestic abusers.
The members lobby for bills to support those approaches, and for money to fund them.
This moderate path is supported by gun owners; some have joined Moms Demand Action, according to Phillips.
The lobbying effort on March 18 will focus on increasing the funding from $9 million to $39 million annually for a state grant program known as CalVIP — California Violence Intervention and Prevention.
The funding goes to the gun violence prevention programs supported by cities and non-profits. Statistics show that such programs reduce gun deaths, and also save taxpayers’ money because they require less police work and health care expenditures.
In Richmond, programs instituted in 2010 reduced the homicide rate by 56% in the first five years. They cut the average rate from 41 homicides a year for the five years before the programs began to 18 for the five years afterwards. The Richmond programs may be seen in a video segment at CNN online. (The video, “Paying Kids Not to Kill,” is at https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/health/cash-for-criminals-richmond-california/index.html.)
Phillips said that the current funding level for CalVIP amounts to 22 cents per person in California’s population. By comparison, Massachusetts funds its gun violence programs at $2 per person, New York’s works out at $1 per capita. The increase in the state’s budget to $39 million would be a boost of 4.3 times more, and produce 95 cents per capita.
Moms Demand Action relies on another group, Everytown For Gun Safety, to learn about what actions can effectively shrink the number of gun violence incidents. One consideration often overlooked by society is the relatively high number of suicides by guns, compared to other means, according to literature from Moms Demand Action. Children playing with guns contributes to the problem, one that can be addressed through gun safety classes and measures.
As a result of lobbying efforts, California has passed a law that requires eight hours of gun safety training for gun purchasers. However, some states have not done so. Moms Demand Action is working on a federal law to require it in all states.
Moms Demand Action has 4 million members nationally, and is active in all 50 states.
Nichole Hsu of Danville is the coordinator for the Tri-Valley chapter of Moms Demand Action. Hsu said that the new Livermore group is still forming. Anyone interested in joining can text the word “ready” to 64433, or sign-up at any event.
Besides the March 18 advocacy at the Legislature, Moms Demand Action will join other gun violence groups on June 8 in the 4th Annual March across the Golden Gate Bridge to attend a rally.
Hsu joined the organization after reading about a mass shooting at an Oregon community college in 2015, in which a student killed eight other students, a professor, and himself.
Hsu said she could no longer be inactive, because she had small children, and wanted to change things for their welfare. She has been engaged in lobbying efforts in Sacramento about five to 10 times in the past four years.