The passion of gun owners has met the passion of protective moms in the fight over firearms restrictions, which will intensify this week as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address.
Against all odds, a coalition that includes suburban moms, religious leaders, mayors and long-embattled gun safety lobbyists has set out to neutralize the grass-roots power of the 4.5 million-member National Rifle Association. It’s a tall order, but gun safety groups say they’ve drawn money and members since the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Obama will promote his gun safety agenda in his annual address to Congress on Tuesday, the first time in more than a decade that the State of the Union will tackle the emotional topic of guns. His new grass-roots advocacy group, Organizing for Action, is also urging its members to mobilize behind the president’s agenda, which includes a ban on military-style assault weapons and universal background checks for gun purchasers.
Gun safety advocates plan rallies and news conferences Monday in at least a dozen congressional districts. The activists will urge key lawmakers they view as persuadable on the issue to support the president’s gun proposals.
“Intensity matters a lot, and right now we have it,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of 850 mayors backed by New York’s Michael Bloomberg. “The public sentiment, including among gun owners, to do everything we can to fix this problem is as high as it’s been in a generation.”
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