On April 18, 2013 The Mother PAC’s Director, Andrea Paluso (a Portland mother of two), testified before the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in favor of its proposed gun safety ordinance. Here is what she said:
Good morning Commissioners,
We have a problem with gun violence. In this country, in this state, and in this county.
This problem originates from a failure in leadership at the federal level, and then at the state level. As we saw yesterday, a path to sanity around gun violence will require all of us to do all that we can. We cannot rely on the federal government alone for action.
City, county, state, and federal elected officials must rise to the challenge of addressing pervasive gun violence. We should not shy away from it because of a small but vocal minority of gun advocates and gun manufacturers who do not represent the overwhelming will of the people of this country – or this county.
There will be no one solution, instead there will be combination of actions that lead to change. We don’t know yet which solutions will have the most impact, we must do what we can now and then continue to fine-tune and improve our laws over time as we learn more about the efficacy of these solutions.
And we all must act. As a long-time activist, I am so fortunate that my pathway to activism was not the tragic and violent death of my child. But as a mother I cannot stand by and do nothing while knowing that this is the pathway to activism for so many mothers across the country.
As a mother I do all I can to keep my kids safe at home:
- I do not keep guns in our home. If I did, I would keep them locked securely.
- I talk to my kids about how to remain safe in other people’s homes, who may have guns.
- We voluntarily offer information about whether and how we keep guns in our home to the parents of kids who spend time at our house.
- We ask other parents, whose homes our kids visit, for the same information – to make sure they’re safe when they visit friends.
I have a responsibility as a mother to do all I can to ensure my kids safety.
However, I cannot control how safe my kids are in public spaces. That is where I look to you for leadership. I set the rules at my house, but I do not set them in places my family frequents across this county – but you do. You also have a responsibility to do everything you can reasonably do to ensure that the citizens of this county – including my own family – are safe.
As Gabby Giffords said recently, “(By taking action you are honoring) the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.”
FOLLOW-UP: The ordinance passed unanimously on April 25, 2013; read about it here.