Moms are meeting in Tri-Cities to promote 'gun sense,' safer schools

Moms are meeting in Tri-Cities to promote 'gun sense,' safer schools

TRI-CITIES, Wash. – Mothers in the Tri-Cities are starting a grassroots movement with the goal to keep kids safe at schools and reduce gun violence.

The national group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is starting a new Tri-Cities chapter this weekend.

Moms Demand Action was started in 2012 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

"It's scary, I have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old and I have a real fear of sending them out the door to school," said Michelle Back, a Richland mother.

From the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, to the recent Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Michelle said she worries about what it's going to be like when her kids are in school.

"This isn't even something that I should be concerned about, but it is and that should tell everyone that that's a problem,” she said. “I can't be the only one who feels that way."

As the daughter of a police officer, Michelle grew up around guns. Her granny owned hundreds of acres of land and hunting was popular among her family on their property.

“I’ve grown up around guns, but I’ve also seen what gun violence can do,” Michelle said. “I’ve had suicides in my family because of guns.”

That's why she's organizing a local chapter of Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Moms Demand Action is having a kick off meeting on Sunday, so parents can learn more about the movement. The meeting is at the Richland Public Library at 1:30 p.m.

"And we really just want to get out into the community and talk to people about keeping our community and kids safe," Michelle said.

Moms Demand Action is supportive of the Second Amendment, and Michelle said it's not about taking guns away.

"If you are a gun owner, know that groups like Moms Demand Action are not for banning guns, and that this shouldn't be a debate about taking guns away,” Michelle said. “It should be about safety and how to keep our kids safe."

Instead, they focus on promoting safe storage of guns, educating people on responsible gun ownership, and working with lawmakers on developing sensible legislation like stronger background checks.

Gun advocates in the Tri-Cities said reducing gun violence should be at the forefront of our community and they stand with stronger background and mental health checks.

"Even if you have a concealed weapon permit and you have to go reapply for it and renew it, maybe you should have to sit down and take a mental health check,” said gun owner Kody Robbins. “Even check the people who already own firearms, I have no problem doing that and I know anybody else that is a pro-gun advocate has no problem with doing that as well."

Kody said he uses his conceal carry as protection for himself and others around him.

"That's why I think we should have armed teachers or even armed guards at schools," he said.

"Moms Demand Action is not for that, we feel educators should go to school to educate and be there for our kids,” Michelle said. “Arming teachers is not something we support, we don’t feel we should put that on our teachers."

However, both Kody and Michelle stress the importance of getting more mental health counselors for kids at school, to make sure we are meeting their needs.

Michelle said there's no one answer for how to keep kids safe, but Both Kody and Michelle agree, we must do something to fight against gun violence in America.

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