Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts: ‘Police violence is gun violence’

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts: ‘Police violence is gun violence’

Shannon Watts is the founder of the gun safety group, Moms Demand Action, the nation’s largest grassroots organization fighting to end gun violence. Eight years ago, Shannon Watts responded to a crisis—the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School—by founding the Moms Demand Action movement against gun violence. Now, her movement counts several hundred thousand members as it responds to the United States’ two most pressing crises: the coronavirus and the fight for racial justice. Gun safety is at the center of both those battles, particularly activism against police brutality. "Police violence is gun violence," says Watts. Watts spoke to Fortune about the surge in gun purchases during lockdowns, the path to reopening schools safety, and the longstanding connection between the fight for racial justice and the battle against gun violence. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Fortune: How has the coronavirus crisis affected the movement against gun violence? Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts: We know that the gun lobby exploits tragedy and national disaster to juice gun sales. We’ve seen them do this all the way back to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, they did it again when the coronavirus crisis hit. We’ve seen a historic number of gun sales over the spring—at least twice as many as were sold in the same time period as last year. We’re also seeing an increase in domestic gun violence, in unintentional shootings, in gun suicides. The reverberations of the gun lobby’s actions will be with us for months […]

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