Photo Credit: 23 ABC News
As parents everywhere still mourn the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, yet another school shooting has occurred -- this time at Taft Union High School in Taft, California. A 16-year-old high school student walked into a classroom on Thursday and started shooting, according to 23 ABC News, injuring a student and a teacher who talked the gunman into putting down the weapon.
The shooting, which took place right as Vice President Joe Biden held a press conference about the White House's task force on gun violence, has left many moms wondering what can be done to keep kids safe.
"There have been 16 mass shootings in the US this year alone that have made it to the national news -- and 34 people are murdered by guns each day in our nation. Parents are wondering if their kids will be safe. This cannot be the new normal," says Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of MomsRising.org, a grassroots group that helps moms' voices get heard in Washington. "Moms are tired of the outdated gun-safety laws and they're ready to fight for their children's and community's safety."
If you're wondering how you can help prevent gun violence, here are five things you can do -- right now!
1. Be heard. You can sign the MomsRising Open Letter to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and to Congress urging reforms in gun violence prevention policies. The letter, which already has over 100,000 signatures, will be delivered to the NRA and to every member of Congress. (If you live near the office of your member of Congress -- find out here -- you can download the letter and drop it off in person.) You can also add your name to Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence, a campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The petition supports "Common Sense Gun Legislation," which would require criminal background checks for guns sold in the U.S., ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime.
2. Watch what your kids watch. Research has shown that exposure to violence in the media -- through tv shows, movies, video games and music -- can contribute to agressive behavior and a desensitization to violence in kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. So keep tabs on what your kids are watching and try to limit their exposure to these images.
3. Shop smart. Just by using this special link when you shop at Amazon, you can earn money for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a group of 48 organizations dedicated to gun violence prevention. And you can earn money for the group's Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence by navigating to over a thousand retailers like Home Depot, Staples and Barnes & Noble through the online shopping mall iGive. Same goes when you shop major retailers like Target, Lands' End and more through GoodShop. You can also choose not to shop at stores that sell semi-automatic assault weapons.
4. Stay informed. Whether you follow MomsRising.org, DemandaPlan.org, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence or the newly formed One Million Moms for Gun Control, stay connected to the issue on Facebook, Twitter or other social media so you can get updates in a way that's easy for you -- and share them with others.
5. Share this article! Your Facebook status is more powerful than you might think. Get the message about the need for gun safety out. "Women are connected and empowered online more than ever before and moms can help build the movement," says Rowe-Finkbeiner. "People have been fighting to get gun safety measures passed for a long time. There is incredible power in coming together as mothers. Take a moment to tell other moms how to get involved."