FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Kara Nelson Baekey, a Norwalk mother of two, was shocked, saddened and outraged after the Newtown school shooting and decided to make sure a tragedy like that never happens again. She launched a Fairfield County chapter of One Million Moms For Gun Control and plans to fight until legislators listen.
“I shed a lot of tears about it and came to terms that the same thing could happen at my kids school,” Nelson Baekey said. “I decided that I was going to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
One Million Moms For Gun Control was founded by Shannon Watts, a mother of five from Indiana, the day after the Newtown tragedy and now has more than 100 chapters across the world. The group plans to hold a March for Change at the state capitol in Hartford on Feb. 14, the two-month anniversary of the tragedy, to demand that legislators do something about gun violence, she said. Although the group is demanding legislation be passed, they are not calling for an all-out ban on guns.
“We’re not opposed to sensible gun laws,” she said. “We’re not opposed to people owning guns, and we actually have members that are licensed gun owners.”
The group supports reinstating a ban on automatic weapons, reducing the number of clips allowed in magazines and closing background check loopholes that allow nearly 40 percent of gun sales to take place without background checks, Nelson Baekey said.
The group uses social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to encourage members to contact their local representatives, she said, but realizes the push from their opponents is difficult to overcome.
The influence of gun rights lobbyists in Washington, D.C., is so powerful that gun control advocates can’t compete with them, Nelson Baekey said. But her organization is focused on drawing attention to its message to bring about change and won’t waste time debating the issues, she said.
“There’s been a lot of dialogue and a lot of debate throughout the years and it’s got us nowhere,” she said. “We’re done talking about it. We are about bringing about change.”