By Jonathan Phelps
---- — Ann Krantz calls herself an “accidental activist.”
The Wenham mom had never contacted a legislator or spoken at a public hearing. But that all changed after tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.
“As I dropped my daughters off at school following the massacre at Sandy Hook, I realized there was no reason why my town wasn’t Newtown,” Krantz said. “We are living in a world where I am scared to send my child to the first grade. That’s not OK. We shouldn’t have to live like that.”
Krantz, 39, a stay-at-home mom with two young daughters, has since been to a number of rallies and public hearings at the Statehouse on the issue of gun violence.
She felt physically ill after hearing about the Sandy Hook shootings, she said.
“I was just thinking about what they were going through, because I have a 6-year-old,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine the pain they were going through, and I couldn’t get over it. I cried for days on and off.”
The Newtown tragedy, in which 20 children and six adults were killed when a gunman opened fire at the elementary school, has sparked Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a national, nonpartisan grass-roots organization.
Krantz and several other North Shore moms have joined the Massachusetts chapter of the group. Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunken driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to build support for commonsense gun reforms, according to the organization’s website.
The North Shore group got its start when Krantz met a few other local mothers at a rally in Boston.
“We started meeting,” she said. “I met so many other moms through my children’s schools and at the playground who are tired of hearing about school shootings. There have been 35 school shootings since Newtown, and we want to stem the tide on gun violence.”
Krantz said the organization allows mothers to have a voice in a debate that has been dominated by lobbyists for those who profit from guns.
“But mothers will no longer be silent,” she said. “We are organizing to effectively lobby and apply pressure that will result in stronger gun laws that protect our children.”
She said the group is not “anti-gun,” however, and they respect the Second Amendment.
“We support commonsense solutions to gun violence, such as requiring background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases,” she said. “We work to educate, motivate and mobilize moms and families to take action.”
The group is hosting an informal meeting tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St., “to discuss the public health dimensions of gun violence and its effects on our children and our society.” It will feature speakers Lynnette Alameddine, whose son was killed in the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007; Ann Marie Crowell, founder of Mother on a Mission; and Dr. Nancy Dodson, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Kranz will also share a few words about how she got involved and the group got started.
Another local mom involved in the group is Ruth Filep of Wenham, who works for Danvers schools.
“Gun violence kills more than 30,000 Americans every year, including more than 2,800 children and teenagers — that’s nearly eight kids a day, an entire classroom of kids every three days,” she said in a statement.
There are 130,000 members of the organization nationwide and 1,700 in Massachusetts.
“I was appalled to learn how easy it is to purchase a gun in this country and how this results in the deaths of so many children,” Krantz said. “I want to share what I have learned with other moms, so we can work together to make our voices heard and our children and communities safer.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.
IF YOU GO
Moms Demand Action advocates for:
Information from momsdemandaction.org