I HAD a very good Mother's Day weekend. I got some unexpected presents and spent time with my husband and kids, my parents and my grandmother. But I also spent important time with some mothers who are not as lucky, who no longer have their kids to celebrate with. I stood with these mothers, who lost their children to gun violence, as well as with survivors of gun violence, and called for change that will spare others the tragedies they have suffered.
Together we sent a clear message: We are not going away; we are here for the long haul. The fight for commonsense gun laws, such as background checks for every gun sale, is a fight we will win.
We took part in the Saturday rally for peace in Morrisville, Pa. - the rally that was infiltrated by gun-toting, change-fearing bullies who drove Little Leaguers off their fields of play. But as those of us assembled for peace made clear, we were not afraid. To the contrary, the rude, intimidating tactics of the opposition only made our dedication stronger and our determination steelier.
As advocates everywhere can attest, the numbers of our volunteers are growing, donations are increasing, and energy is intensifying. Even as we work for a renewed vote on the Manchin-Toomey Senate bill and for adoption of a similar bill in the House of Representatives, we remain focused on Pennsylvania and what we must accomplish in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania is truly a keystone state in the gun-violence prevention movement, and the wave of change that we have been experiencing in recent months is growing stronger and spreading. Look at what's happening here:
* In January, Pennsylvania submitted 642,000 missing mental-health records to the national instant criminal-background checks system.
* We are electing officials like Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who kept her campaign promise and closed the Florida loophole on concealed carry permits.
* In April, both of Pennsylvania's United States senators voted in favor of expanding the background-check system. Now, Pennsylvania Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are signing on to a House version of the Manchin-Toomey bill.
It's time for our state legislators and the governor to become part of this great wave of change. We can and should expand the Pennsylvania background-check system to cover private sales of long guns. We can and should pass a state law to require gun owners to report to police when they learn that their guns have been lost or stolen. We can and should enact limits on the kinds of weapons and magazines available for future sale and purchase in Pennsylvania.
On Saturday, as I saw those hundreds of moms, dads, and kids come forward to join us in Morrisville, it became clear that the protesters were realizing what I already knew: Pennsylvania is changing. The call for commonsense gun laws is growing louder and stronger. Just as we would not be cowed by armed protestors, bullies, or rain, this tidal wave of change cannot be stopped. A safer Pennsylvania would be a great present for all mothers and their families celebrating Mother's Day next year.