AUSTIN (KXAN) — Chatter fills a living room in Central Austin. Most of the women in the room know each other through a friend. Most are moms, and they’re trying to figure out what to do after the Parkland, Florida, shooting.
It’s the first neighborhood pop-up meeting in Austin. One mom there says she’s had enough and is worried about her children in elementary school.
“We are fighting for the safety of our children,” said Elva Mendoza. “Not just my children — I want your children to be safe.”
Mendoza is with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group working to “establish common-sense gun reforms,” according to its website. The Central Texas chapter says it’s growing at an exponential rate.
Moms Demand Action started in a living room after Sandy Hook. It’s when Mendoza got involved.
“My youngest was just an infant, and I had two older children that are about the same age as the children in Sandy Hook,” she said. “I was devastated to think about losing my children in such a brutal way, and I knew I needed to get involved.”
Amy Edwards can relate. It’s what pushed her to join, too.
“I thought, ‘What am I waiting for?’ I was mad at myself, mad at our government. What are they waiting for? Are we all just waiting for somebody we know to be shot in order to take action? And I didn’t want that to happen,” she said.
There was huge turn-out as a group of Austin moms joined together last weekend calling for action. Their organization hosted a monthly meeting at the University of Texas – its first since the shooting that killed 17 people. The crowd was so large that it spilled out into the parking lot.
The group is now working with dozens of new moms and hosting pop-up meetings to help new members contact lawmakers and hold them accountable.
The organization supports the right to own firearms, but the group is pushing for gun safety and smart gun laws.
“Last session, we helped stop permit-less carry, which was a law that would have taken away our permitting system and allowed people who had criminal backgrounds like domestic violence, stalkers, to carry loaded guns in public — around our children,” Mendoza said.