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How moms can stop America’s gun violence

December 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

By Samuel Burke and Lucky Gold, CNN

Could a grass roots movement change America's permissive gun laws in the wake of the massacre of six- and seven-year-olds?

It happened thirty years ago, when a grieving mother named Candy Lightner turned her anguish into action and created Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or “MADD”.

She did that in 1980, just days after she buried her 13-year-old daughter Cari. MADD’s first office was Cari's bedroom.

From there she launched a movement that changed the way Americans and America’s laws treat drunk driving. And it soon spread to the rest of the world. MADD now has 600 chapters in all fifty states.

The result?

Since 1991, drunk driving deaths have been cut by almost 40%. And for the first time on record, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths dipped below ten thousand.

The loss of one child helped change America’s drinking culture.

Will the loss of twenty young lives mark a sea change when it comes to tolerating military style weapons on America's streets?

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Ralph Marshall

    OK, Ms Amanpour,

    You are comparing apples and oranges. DUI is illeagle and anyone doing that should be punished to the max, and if they cause a death, then lock them up and through the key. Not anything even close to the "gun control" issue. I expect better of you than that. I consider you the elete of news people, and do not expect you to join the ranks of headline grubbing reporters.

    Please be specific. What are you advocating when you say we need "Gun control"? A total ban on gun sales or more controls and laws? I will not willingly give up my right to own a gun, but I will support stricter laws and a ban on sales of assult rifles. I have a glock pistol and a 16 gauage shotgun in my home to protect myself and my family, and I know how to use them. And I will protect mine. In today's world of crazies, to not have self protection is senseless.

    December 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      No, Ms Amanpour is comparing applies and oranges at all. In fact, thats' a very good example to show how irresponsible adults can be. I agree with Ms Amanpoir, this nation needs a stricter sensible gun laws. Alot of parents say they are responsible parents and they won't let their kids touch the guns etc etc and yet things like these happened. So look in the mirror and knock some sense in your head.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        Typo – No, Ms Amanpour is NOT comparing applies and oranges at all

        December 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Martyr

      It is so very EASY to give away RIGHTS that you DISLIKE.
      You notice how people fail to mention the AR rifles are use by Joe Schmoe and the POLICE for self defense.

      Why because it's a well designed rifle from the 60's and a safer gun to use vs a handgun.
      Less recoil, more accurate, less over penetration the only thing pistols have going for them is portability.

      It's society that is the problem as these guns have been around since the 1920's and it only since we lost our
      family structure that people and "The every child is special" movement that we've had these problems.

      Kids are told repeatedly that they are kings of the world and when teen reality doesn't grant their wishes they snap.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  2. Gwen

    I agree with her. It is time that Mothers took this matter in hand as the men are doing nothing.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • Wanda

      You are absolutely correct! I believe Mothers are the moving force in the world and when we stand up and demand to be counted things happen!

      December 20, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • Ed

      Everybody loves a hero....even if self-proclaimed.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:34 am | Reply
  3. Ed

    What permissive laws? The big mouths we here have not read the laws.

    December 20, 2012 at 1:33 am | Reply
  4. Anne

    My husband and I were just discussing this issue the other night. Women outnumber men in this country and if we band together, as the mothers of MADD did, then we can get honest gun control in this country. Yes, we can fight the NRA. If 74% of their members support gun control legislation as has been reported, then that 74% needs to drop out of the organization and stop paying dues if their leadership won't take a sensible approach to this horrendous situation. We need background checks at gun shows, a ban on assault type weapons with multiple round clips, and adding mental health history to background checks for the purchase of any weapon. These are effective measures that would help. I don't want to take away everyone's guns. That's just ignorant. I come from a family of hunters and have hunted myself. Hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns kept for home defense are perfectly okay. Arming mentally ill people is not. And NO ONE needs an assault rifle other than the military or the police.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Terri

      Women/mothers can solve the problem of these automatic weapons in society but not by campaigning and voting for change. Women need to take over the government, period. The men are just screwing everything up!

      December 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  5. mstibbs

    America's moms are a source of inspiration over and over again, but what's wrong with this picture? Where are America's dads in the equation?

    I'd like to see the statistics on what gender causes messes that the other ends up cleaning up. I suspect that many messes caused by males are cleaned up by females, starting with piles of toys & clothes in their bedrooms and their moms struggling to teach them to clean up after themselves.

    I call on the males of this country to GET IN THE GAME! Start cleaning up after yourselves and teach your sons to do so as well. Raising children should be the responsibility of both parents.

    Yes, I realize that things have changed a good deal since the '70s. I was part of the women's movement that demanded such changes. Now I'm urging dads to take responsibility for their actions more fully and help moms rear kids who are fully responsible for their actions. I suspect we might see Congress move more quickly to make needed changes.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Noel

      The Women's Forum is down the hall. Perhaps you didn't get to the actual point you were trying to make, but your "Indictment of Fathers" is petty, vindictive, ill placed and poorly executed.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  6. Ima Fraud

    Women should leave the workplace and return to their homes to rear their children with genuine love, concern and lessons. Can you imagine how wonderful American society could be again. Children knowing that their parents truly love them and that they are not just urchins needing to care for themselves. Think of the compassion that mothers could instill upon their children. The lessons their children should be learning and take into society, instead of being ignored during the day left to television and violent video games. Women truly fulfilling their roles and saving society

    December 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  7. Roshan Shrestha

    Some say that Cars kill. Some say airplanes kill. Some say that Psychiatrists should report troubled patients to police for potential threats.

    Cars are tracked very carefully, they need to be registered and the registration needs to be renewed periodically. Cars are also are given license plates, which cannot be transferred to new owner when a car is sold.

    To get their driving license, people need to take a written and driving test. To get a pilot license is even tougher, a pilot has to get a medical certificate, which needs to be renewed periodically. The medical certificate cannot be gotten from any doctor, only an FAA certified doctor can issue one.

    I don't know if guns need to be registered with authorities. If they are indeed required to be registered, do the registrations need to be renewed periodically?

    I also think that gun owners should be required to obtain a psychiatric evaluation certificate, not from any psychiatrists, but one registered with the Bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. And if any member of a household fails this test, no one in the family should be allowed to own a gun.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Yes firearms must be registered, there are some loopholes that I would agree need to be fixed, and in some states it is required for the gun makers to provide shell casing that have been fired from the weapon turned into the authorities. That way they can enter the casings into the system in case the gun is used in a crime. For class 3 weapons you "must obtain approval from the ATF, obtain a signature from the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) who is the county sheriff or city or town chief of police, pass an extensive background check to include submitting a photograph and fingerprints, fully register the firearm, receive ATF written permission before moving the firearm across state lines, and pay a tax."

      December 21, 2012 at 7:39 am | Reply
  8. Dave

    GUN CONTROL IS NOT THE ANSWER

    December 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Noel

      I'm retired now...and I'm still wondering which intellectual powerhouse thinks that banning guns will work?

      After all, it worked so well for drunk drivers, crack, meth, heroin, pot, LSD, murder, rape and assault.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  9. Dave

    By the way thanks to that British twit Piers Morgan gun sales are surging

    December 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  10. Jeff

    We have planty of gun laws on the books. Our legislator seems to think that action is passing a law that criminals won't care about anyway. Laws keep honest people honest they don't stop criminals.

    December 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  11. CAW

    NO ONE in this country needs an automatic weapon or assault weapon except for the police and the military!! No one should call themselves a hunter who goes out and shoots animals with guns that have several rounds. That is not hunting that is just cold blooded murder. I think there are way too many guns in the US and way too many weapons of all kinds that are for sale to the general public – none of who need them.

    If people have to own guns (I hate guns!) then at least make it harder for people to kill each other. We shouldn't be turning the suburbs of the US into the streets of Kabul or Baghdad folks! Am listening to the NRA speech now and feel like I am about to hurl!!

    December 21, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • Joan

      AGREED!

      January 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  12. CaddisFly

    "From there she launched a movement that changed the way Americans and America’s laws treat drunk driving. And it soon spread to the rest of the world. MADD now has 600 chapters in all fifty states."

    Suggest putting "MADD now has 600 chapters in all fifty states" BEFORE "And it soon spread to the rest of the world." Otherwise, it looks as though the "rest of the world" is the "fifty states" of America.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  13. helove

    The other alternative is for President to go for the jugular of this manace, thats offering money to buy back privately owned guns, enact gun lisence renewal laws that would empower authorities to confisticate weapons from unsuitable individuals.

    December 31, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
  14. Beefburger

    How soon the public has forgotten the "Million Moms March". Lead by uber-liberal heffer Rosie O'Donell. Conveniently also a fill in for Pierce Morgan. CNN hacks seem to forget that driving drunk is illegal but that to be able to defend one's self and their family is a God given right! This, however, brings us back to the fact that liberals do not believe in God or families.

    January 3, 2013 at 6:33 am | Reply

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