Austin Becomes 'Everytown'

Michael Bloomberg's new gun-control group launches at City Hall

Rep. Elliott Naishtat (R) and members of Moms Demand Action stand behind John Woods (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Call it morning presser syndrome. Although Texas open carry advocates came out in force in response to a recent South by Southwest gun control panel, only a handful congregated outside City Hall for today's Austin launch of Everytown for Gun Safety. Their only visible firearm was printed on a "Come and Take It" flag.

Inside City Hall, more than a dozen supporters held signs as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Regional Manager Hillary Rand introduced former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new venture – a sort of gun control supergroup combining Mayors Against Illegal Guns with Moms Demand Action.

Aided by a promised $50 million investment from Bloomberg, the new group will focus on voting, both with direct campaign contributions and with get out the vote field operations. According to Rand, the Gun Sense voter campaign aims to get 1 million supporters to the polls.

Although heavy on rhetoric, the launch took an elegiac tone with Carlee Soto and Danielle Vabner remembrance of their siblings lost at Sandy Hook. But former U.T. grad student John Woods, who lost his girlfriend Maxine Turner in the Virginia Tech massacre, urged the audience not to forget everyday violence. "The gun lobbies want us to talk about each act of violence as if it exists in a vacuum," Woods said. "They want this conversation to only be about the mass shootings … because then the conversation can only happen once a month instead of every 17 minutes."

Perhaps proving Wood's point, the National Rifle Association declined to issue a statement about the new group, instead delaying comment until next week's annual meeting.

READ MORE
More News
The AggreGAYtor: June 1
The AggreGAYtor
What happened today in gay? Here’s your QILTBAG recap of queer news.

David Estlund, June 1, 2015

The AggreGAYtor: May 29
The AggreGAYtor
What happened today in gay? Here’s your QILTBAG recap of queer news.

David Estlund, May 29, 2015

More by Brandon Watson
Austin Food + Wine Festival Announces 2017 Talent
AFWF Announces 2017 Talent
Tickets go on sale today

Jan. 19, 2017

Review: The Beer Plant
Review: The Beer Plant
Uneven execution blights vegan gastropub

Jan. 13, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

News, Everytown for Gun Safety, open carry, Hillary Rand, Moms Demand Action, Carlee Soto, John Woods, Elliott Naishtat, Danielle Vabner, Michael Bloomberg, National Rifle Association, gun control

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)