Gun violence and gun laws in the United States have a relationship full of contradictions. In the aftermath of mass shootings, most legislation that is passed increases the ease of purchasing guns and ammunition, instead of restricting it. Mass shootings create the most discussion and debate, yet the majority of gun-related fatalities are suicides.
Why are we in such a politicized, dangerous, and misunderstood cycle of debate around gun laws? What does it mean for our North Shore community? Most importantly: what can we do about gun control?
If you’ve ever felt frustrated, discouraged, or confused by the gun law debate, join leading activists for an evening of learning and action-oriented conversation.
Co-sponsored by Leading Ladies, the evening will feature a panel discussion with John Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence; Rebecca O’Brien from Moms Demand Action; Marjorie C. Decker, Massachusetts state representative; and Emily Rubio, a representative from March for Our Lives, the organization founded by David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school massacre.
As always, the conversation will be open to attendees so bring your questions!
SPEAKERS & PANELISTS
David Hogg (presenting virtually) Thrust into the world of activism by the largest school shooting in American history, Parkland survivor David Hogg has become one of the most compelling voices of his generation. His call to “get over politics and get something done” challenges Americans to stand up, speak out and work to elect morally just leaders, regardless of party affiliation. Passionate in his advocacy to end gun violence, David’s mission of increasing voter participation, civic engagement and activism embraces a range of issues through his organization March for Our Lives.
John Rosenthal co-founded Stop Handgun Violence nearly 30 years ago in 1994. He is a responsible gun owner, a philanthropist and the president of the real estate development firm Meredith Management.
Massachusetts State Representative Marjorie Decker has successfully filed and championed legislation that addresses gun safety (extreme risk protection order or “red flag” law); significantly expanded programming, training, and resources for addressing behavioral health for adolescents while also addressing the barriers to care and coverage for patients in need of behavioral healthcare. Her list of legislative accomplishments includes passing legislation that bans toxic flame retardants, increases access to behavioral health services, protects reproductive rights, and addresses climate change. She has been a leader of expungement reform for adolescents, has secured over $40 million in funding for resources serving victims of violence when the federal cut Massachusetts off from critical funds. Some other notable legislation that has passed includes eliminating the punitive cap on assistance for families living in poverty and leading the charge to secure increases in cash grants for the first time in over 20 years for seniors, children, and individuals with disabilities who live in poverty.
Rebecca O’Brien Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is the largest grassroots organization in America fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. A mother of 4 children Becc was inspired to join Moms Demand Action having seen the impact on her own family. In 1980 her step-father survived being shot 4 times in a robbery. Becc joined Moms as an Event’s Lead in January of 2018. Moving onto becoming the North Shore Local Group Lead. Now she is the North Shore Legislative Lead and heads the statewide MA-CALLTogether Team.
Emily Rubio currently serves as March For Our Lives’ social media manager and focuses on social strategy and creative design. She has been with the organization for over a year and a half, and worked on a variety of big wins for the gun violence prevention movement– on the ground and plugged in across the nation. Emily works with MFOL chapters all across the country, amplifying their state work and federal wins that have been youth-powered, and working to put young people of color and all identities on the map through social strategy and viral content.
Elizabeth Kilcoyne, MPA, is a writer, campaign coach, and lives on the North Shore of Boston. She served as a Select-person 2004-2010 in Ipswich, MA, served 18 years as adjunct faculty at Suffolk University and retired Deputy Comptroller for Massachusetts. Elizabeth managed Representative Kristin Kassner’s 2022 campaign in the Second Essex District, when Kristin won by one vote. Elizabeth believes that in order to improve gun safety, abortion access, and equality for all people, we must elect legislators who support these issues.