For a lot of years in red states like Alabama, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has had their way stopping legislation to pass sensible gun laws and winning battles for looser gun regulations.
However, that was not the case during the final session of the Alabama state legislature last night as two bills pushed by the NRA both failed to pass, thanks largely to a group of mothers who organized, protested and rallied the community to stop them.
“We’re thankful for the gun-sense politicians who helped ensure these reckless policies didn’t become law,” said Anne Leader, volunteer leader of the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety.
One of the bills defeated was called “Permitless Carry.” It would have done away with the existing requirement that a person who carries a loaded, hidden handgun in public have a permit.
The other filed bill would have allowed teachers and administrators to carry guns in schools.
IT'S WORKING: Our volunteers helped defeat dangerous gun proposals like allowing guns in schools and permitless carry in Alabama! We’re thankful for the gun-sense lawmakers who helped ensure these reckless policies didn’t become law. pic.twitter.com/dvMGgb8bDQ
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) March 29, 2018
Law enforcement opposed both bills and teachers groups were strongly opposed to having guns in schools, but in the past, that would not have stopped them.
The difference this time is the aftershock from the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, and the relentless lobbying by the Moms.
The Moms group testified before legislative committees, organized an advocacy day last month that had hundreds of angry moms flooding the state capitol, launched new Moms in Action groups and drove the sending of thousands of digital messages and phone calls urging them to vote down the NRA-backed proposals.
This marks huge progress in a state that is ranked second in the nation in deaths by firearms, behind only Alaska; and a state that had more deaths by firearm in 2016 than New York, which has more than four times the population.
With the Marjory Stoneman Douglas teens leading a national movement, there is a sense that the majority of Americans who do not own guns and don’t want guns to be easily accessed are finally being heard.
Whether that momentum will carry through to the November midterm elections and beyond is yet to be seen but the fact that the reddest of states, Alabama, is feeling the heat of those seeking gun reform is a very good sign for America’s future.