Southwest Florida activist parents working to prevent gun violence

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As the school year wraps up, students in our area as young as 10 get arrested for mass shooting threats and families bury their children in Uvalde, Texas, leaders with the Southwest Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action are trying to make sure nothing similar to that massacre happens here.

In 2020, guns killed more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drug overdoses or cancer. Kathleen Muniz, with Moms Demand Action of Southwest Florida, says Columbine was the first inkling she had that something was drastically wrong in America. Now, she and other members are meeting with state and local leaders to push for policy change.

Muniz says that with more than 2,000 children and teens dying from gun homicide every year, everyone in Southwest Florida—and specifically Lee and Collier counties—should be figuring out what they can do to help with this crisis.

“When things like this happen, how can you do nothing? You have to do something,” Muniz said. “Let me just be very clear that Everytown and Moms Demand Action is going to be vetting all the candidates, all the way down through school board, and we have some elections coming up. Those candidates can expect to get our survey.”

Data from Everytown shows an estimated 3 million children in the U.S. are exposed to shootings every year. With June 1 marking the first day of Gun Violence Awareness Month, leaders with Moms Demand Action of Southwest Florida say it’s the perfect time to fight for policy change that will protect local students and families. Susan Cone, one leader with the organization, says members are having several conversations with local and state leaders about what they can do to prevent mass shootings, and shootings in general, in our area.

“We have met with senator Kathleen Passidomo many times and we have a good relationship with her,” Cone said. “We’ve discussed background checks with her. We’ve discussed permitless carry with her, so we have those doors open. We have had meetings with Senator Rubio’s aide, and we would really love to talk to Senator Rubio and Senator Scott; we want to see background checks on all gun sales.”

Naples city leaders signed a National Gun Violence Awareness Day proclamation, and organization leaders say that is just one of the many things local leaders can do to raise awareness of this crisis. This week in Washington, D.C., there is a preliminary vote on gun reform.

If you are interested in getting involved with the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, you can text ACT to 64433.

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