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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Gun safety advocates taking cues from Mothers Against Drunk Driving

MSNBC: Gun control advocates are taking a page from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as they plot their strategy forward. Case in point: Shannon Watts founded the organization Moms Demand Action. The group is actively working to enact new gun control laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last December. Watts says she modeled the group after MADD.

Karolyn Nunnallee, the former national president of MADD, says the organization has learned several lessons since its founding in 1980 to change the public’s perception on drunk driving. She says gun control advocates can learn from those lessons and use them as a foundation in their fight.

“We went with the research,” Nunnallee said Thurdsay on Jansing & Co. “What sound research could we use in stopping drunk driving? What can we do to educate the public? And it is about education and letting them know we will not tolerate drunk driving in our country.”


Nunnallee offered similar advice to families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. “You’ve got to gain your sense of control. You’ve got to do something positive with the horrible negative that occurred to you during your life. And you do have to make change. But you’ve got to focus on what is going to be best for you, what is going to be best for your community and what is going to be best for our nation.”
I don’t have a lot to add here. I just wanted to point the story out because I’ve made the comparison between Moms Demand Action and MADD myself. MADD was up against a well organized corporate lobby in the form of the Tavern League. This lobby was more concerned with making money than in saving lives. MADD was accused of being overreacting, emotion-driven extremists and of having a secret prohibitionist agenda to make alcohol illegal altogether. The parallels are just too obvious to ignore.

Yet MADD eventually won the public opinion fight. People don’t think of drunk driving as a traffic offense anymore, they think of it as an outrageous criminal offense — and they should. People can win this sort of fight, as much as it seems like an uphill battle now. It’s been done before and it can be done again.

[photo by BarelyFitz]

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