Mothers gather to coordinate campaign to curtail gun violence

Moms Demand Action have knocked on doors, marched to promote I-1639
By Dan Aznoff | Nov 01, 2018
Courtesy of: Marisa Moreno Mill Creek mom Marisa Moreno (far right) took a break from her responsibilities at home to take part in a recent protest in Everett to restrict the sale of assault rifles with members of the Bothell-Mill Creek chapter of Moms Demand Action. Members of the local chapter met last week to organize support for I-1639 on the November ballot that would prohibit the sale of assault rifles to persons under age 21 and add requirements for keeping the weapons away from children.

Nine parents gathered last month in a small meeting room in the back of a café in Mill Creek to take steps they hope will save children’s lives.

The eight mothers and one former county prosecutor met at the Newsroom on 164th Street SW to map their strategy to get out the vote to promote passage if I-1639. If approved, the initiative would limit ownership of assault weapons and force owners to keep guns away from children.

“There are too many assault rifles out there already,” Mill Creek resident Matt Vadnal told The Beacon. “More than 99.9 percent of the owners are law-abiding citizens who use their weapons for target practice on the weekend. This initiative would help ensure our schools and public gatherings are safe from those individuals who should not be allowed to own such lethal weapons.”

Vadnal was the only male at the meeting of Moms Demand Action organized by Marisa Moreno, a mother who established the Bothell-Mill Creek chapter following the mass shooting at a Florida high school in February.

The local branch of the nationwide organization is the 20th chapter in the state of Washington. Moreno said there were only six chapters in the state before the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Florida, that resulted in the deaths of 17 students and faculty members.

Members of the local chapter traveled to Seattle on March 24 to join the March for Lives. Immediately after the emotional gathering in Westlake Center, the group took a shuttle to meet up with the Moms Demand Action in South Seattle at a protest organized by the Youth Violence Prevention Network.

Moreno urged her members at last week’s meeting to be active in the upcoming election by working to elect candidates who support curbs on the availability of assault weapons and enhanced protections to keep guns away from children.

The recent meeting was the second for Alicia Hoffman, who has two children and another due before Thanksgiving. She decided that now is the time to take action to protect her kids and all children who could be in harm’s way if a shooter enters a school with an assault rifle.

“Its important to get the kids involved too, like the teens from Stoneman Douglas who are leading the fight for practical ways to curb gun violence,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman suggested a method she uses in her job as a nurse. She said the staff huddles every morning to discuss “supersick” patients, and which patients require additional care or special attention.

“There have been too many examples of situations where teachers have missed signs that a student was in distress. Then that student went out and caused harm to themselves or somebody else,” Hoffman said.

The mothers also agreed to support Mill Creek City Councilmember Jared Mead in his attempt to unseat Republican Mark Harmsworth to represent Washington state’s 44th Legislative District.

Mead has spoken out in favor of I-1639. Harmsworth is opposed to the measure.

“I do support commonsense measures like universal registration and safeguards on guns,” Mead said. “But, I am not one of those Seattle Democrats who wants to take away the Second Amendment.”

Vadnal said police have changed their normal procedure when they recover weapons from the scene of a crime. According to the former prosecutor, police previously sold guns at a public sale, which often resulted in the deadly weapons being used by criminals in another crime. Most police departments now destroy all guns recovered from a criminal investigation, he said.

In Mill Creek, Police Chief Greg Elwin said his department follows a strict policy to destroy all weapons seized during an investigation of a crime.

Vadnal had one suggestion to curtail the number of guns on the street. He said the U.S. Army gathered all the weapons it recovered from enemy troops after battles in North Africa during World War II and ran them over with tanks so they could not be used again.

“We don’t have tanks,” Vadnal said with a smile. “But we could run them over with a forklift.

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