By Jueseppi B.
Last month in Dallas, Texas, a stranger shot an 8-year-old boy in the face while he was playing tag outside his home. Once again, an innocent child was a victim of our nation’s gun violence epidemic. Moms are outraged by this continued violence, and by our elected officials, who sit idly by, kowtowing to a vengeful gun lobby.
Local police arrested Brian Cloninger, 46, for the shooting of Donald Maiden, Jr. on Sept. 3 and charged him with injury to a child. While no clear motive for the shooting has been determined – the only witness is 8-year-old Donald, whose mouth is wired shut as he attempts to recover – Cloninger admitted to bystanders that he had shot the child, “Because I wanted to.”
Cloninger was serving a 15-month probationary sentence for a DWI at the time of the shooting. In 2002, he had previously been charged with DUI in Florida. Although he was not allowed to consume alcohol while on probation, police found a beer can in his truck after the shooting.
“This is a man with a record of making decisions that show a clear disregard for human life,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The fact that he was able to obtain a gun is exactly why gun reform is so desperately needed. Until we fix this, our children will continue to pay the highest price.”
American children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from guns than their peers in other developed countries, and gun violence is the leading cause of death for black children, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. In addition, one American child or teen is shot and killed every 3 hours and 15 minutes.
At the time of his arrest, Cloninger bail was set at $2.2 million. It has since been reduced to $1 million.
“Someone who is accused of and has admitted to a crime this depraved deserves not even the slightest appearance of leniency from the court,” said Watts. “Dangerous people like Cloninger not only deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but they should not have access to firearms in the first place.”
About Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America
Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to reduce drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (www.momsdemandaction.org) was created to demand action from legislators, state and federal; companies; and educational institutions to establish common-sense gun reforms. We are a non-partisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws, loopholes and policies that for too long have jeopardized the safety of our children and families.
Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills an American child every 3 hours and 15 minutes. Whether the gun violence happens in urban Chicago, suburban Virginia, or rural Texas, we must act now on new and stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children.
Moms Demand Action envisions a country where all children and families are safe from gun violence. Our nonpartisan grassroots movement is made up of more than 100,000 members and a chapter in every state across the country. We are educating, motivating, and mobilizing moms and families to take action that will result in stronger laws and policies to save lives. We support these solutions to help address gun violence in the United States:
- Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases;
- Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds;
- Track the sale of large quantities of ammunition, and ban online sales;
- Establish product safety oversight of guns and ammunition, and require child-safe gun technology;
- Support policies at companies and public institutions that promote gun safety;
- Counter the gun industry’s efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.
We are facing a public health crisis: Nearly eight American children are shot and killed every day. Anything else responsible for this many deaths would be immediately investigated and regulated. Not a single federal law has been passed in decades to prevent gun violence – not after Columbine and not after Newtown.
For too long, those who stand to profit from easy access to guns have controlled the conversation about gun violence. American families are being destroyed and mothers have had enough; we will no longer stand by and let Congress, companies and colleges turn their back on sensible gun laws and policies. We are organizing to effectively lobby and apply pressure that will result in stronger, sensible gun laws and policies that will protect our children and families. The momentum is with us, and we are in this for the long haul.
American mothers are an important voice that, when harnessed, will wield significant change. We may be accidental activists, but we are the wave of change in America. For more information on joining, volunteering, finding a local chapter or donating, please go to www.momsdemandaction.org. We can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction and on Twitter at @momsdemand.
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