By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Group fights back against NRA
Placeholder Image

Last week, as the cherry blossoms made their annual debut in Washington, D.C., the Capitol marked another anniversary: A year ago, Congress failed the nation by refusing to fix our broken gun background check system.
In the year since, tens of thousands more Americans -- our mothers, our fathers, our friends -- have been killed with guns. Many of them would still be with us if a minority of senators hadn't blocked progress.
By the way, this is not a tough political issue. Fully 90 percent of Americans, including 82 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members, think every gun buyer should pass a criminal background check.
So why has progress been so difficult, while 33 more of us are murdered with guns each and every day?
For decades, the National Rifle Association has been the only game in town. Its grassroots strength is real; its members care, and they vote; and the group rewards and punishes candidates with financial support. Without an effective counterbalance, members of Congress who want to do the right thing know they face the wrath -- and the money -- of the NRA, perhaps the toughest special interest around.
But all that is starting to change. After the Newtown, Conn., shooting, a group of moms, mayors, gun violence survivors and citizens who just want their kids to come home from school each night are building a new movement for gun safety. And it's already showing that we can win -- and do no damage to the Second Amendment.
Enter a new organization called Everytown for Gun Safety, which recently announced plans to build the kind of counterweight we need to offset the power of the NRA. This coalition of mayors and more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters is already winning major victories where it counts: in states nationwide.
In Washington and Wisconsin, this group helped lead the fight to pass laws that will remove guns from the hands of domestic abusers. In Tennessee, members beat back a law that would have allowed open carrying of loaded guns in public parks -- where our kids play.
 Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and founder of the group, has personally pledged $50 million through the midterms to offset the NRA's election spending. That means candidates will finally have what they need: someone who will have their backs when they take risks to keep their people safe.
The NRA has been around since 1871, and you don't turn that kind of head start around overnight. But a new movement is rising up -- one that respects the rights of law-abiding gun owners, but also wants our kids to grow up in safe communities, and understands that there is no conflict in those goals.
Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News.