By Kristin Choo
Thursday, April 20, 2000
The organizers of the Million Mom March are demanding much stronger gun controls than political leaders have suggested so far.
The organizers of the Million Mom March are demanding much stronger gun controls than political leaders have suggested so far.For nearly a decade, Tina Johnstone has waited for a day like this year's Mother's Day. In 1992, a teen-age mugger killed her husband. She used her grief to establish the New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and The Bell Campaign, a victim advocacy group. Now, she has joined forces with the Million Mom March and serves as its Northeast coordinator.
She watches with elation as each day she reads a new list of the other mothers willing to forego their Mother's Day brunches on May 14 to join thousands of others in Washington, D.C., demanding tougher gun control.
"They get it," crowed the 50-year-old mother of two. "They really, really get it."
Whether the nation's political leaders "get it" is another matter. In the face of stiff opposition from the powerful gun lobby, two central demands of the Million Mom March --all handgun owners licensed and all handguns registered--is a reality still out in political left field.
The pro-gun-control mothers want handguns treated like cars. Just as drivers must apply for a license and pass a driver's test, march organizers want gun owners to be required to apply for gun licenses and pass a firearms safety test. And just as cars are registered, they want the sale, ownership and transfer of guns registered with local or state authorities. This, they say, will enable authorities to trace the trail of ownership of guns used in crimes, and help identify straw purchasers-those who purchase guns legally and resell them to criminals or others not permitted to own them.
The organizers also argue for three other gun-control provisions: a cooling-off period, a limit on purchases and child-proof designs.
The so-called cooling off rule would require a person to wait several days after purchase before taking actual possession of the gun. This would not only provide time for a tho