Moms gather to protest violence

On May 14, hundreds of thousands of moms will take a stand seeking to eradicate violence caused by deadly weapons.

Participants in the Million Mom March will attempt to exceed more than one million participants to send a message to legislators that too many children are dying preventable deaths.

The march, scheduled for Mother's Day, is aimed at pressuring U.S. Congress into passing stricter gun laws. The biggest demand of march supporters is licensing and registration of handguns paired with mandatory safety training.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will participate in the march with her daughter.

"As one who has fought hard to break the gun lobby's hold on Congress, I know how difficult the battles can be," Feinstein said in a statement. "As individuals, many mothers feel unable and even afraid to speak out against them. But as a group we are strong and empowered to take a vocal stand on behalf of our children."

Feinstein's office is chartering flights from California airports to Washington, D.C., for the event. The round-trip flights will cost travelers $200.

South Lake Tahoe resident Malinda Siemsen heard about the march when a friend handed her a clipping from a newspaper. She plans to travel to Washington with her 6-year-old son if Feinstein's flight plans come through, but if it doesn't work out they will travel to a secondary rally in Sacramento to show support.

Siemsen said she feels that stopping gun violence is an important cause and wants to let other residents know that it isn't too late to march.

"It's about requiring a license as we do to drive a car to own a gun. It's more of an issue of politicians who refuse to do anything," Siemsen said.

The campaign for the march began after New Jersey resident and mother Donna Dees-Thomases saw films of the August 1999 Granada Hills, Calif., day-care shooting.

It was a wake-up call for Dees-Thomases, who quickly applied for a march permit to rally mothers and to alert concerned citizens across the country.

Rosie O'Donnell, talk show host and mother of two, will also attend. She decided to join the event after Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, called and asked her to participate.

The biggest march will occur at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., but 28 secondary rallies will take place across the nation on Mother's Day, including one in Sacramento.

The Sacramento rally will be on the Tower Bridge on the west steps of the Capitol Mall. It will be dedicated to Rita Norris, whose son died from gun violence.

The Million Mom March endorses the following legislation:

- Sensible "Cooling Off" periods and background checks - Extensive background checks for people wanting to purchase weapons intended only for killing or injuring humans.

-License handgun owners and register all handguns - The moms are calling on Congress to require all handgun owners be licensed and required to register their weapons with the proper authorities.

- Safety locks - As a consumer product, endorsers feel minimum safety requirements must be met. They think gun manufacturers should have to design guns with built-in locks and other childproofing devices.

- Limit purchases to one handgun per month.

- No-nonsense enforcement of gun laws - The moms are asking that law enforcers join the crusade.

- Enlistment of help from corporate America - Work with law enforcement agencies to offer exchanges of meaningful goods and services for guns. The guns would then be destroyed by the proper authorities.

- Recruitment - The goal of the march is to educate and raise awareness about the cause.

- For more information call (888) 989-MOMS or log on


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