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Moms turn lemons into lemonade to push for gun control legislation

Marie Delus and Kim Russell hold signs during a Moms Demand Action event. Photo courtesy Wendy Szymanski
TimesLedger Newspapers

Moms around the country chose an unusual way to advocate for gun control over the weekend: lemonade.

According to Moms Demand Action, by failing to pass comprehensive gun legislation, Congress gave them lemons. So they turned them into lemonade.

The nationwide action included a group of moms and kids who handed out beverages at their own stand in Astoria Saturday.

The organization was founded by Indianapolis mother Shannon Watts just after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 28 people dead in December.

The group was started to advocate for gun reform laws, much like the way Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created in response to drunk driving.

Members used their lemonade stands as an opportunity to spread awareness about the issue of gun violence.

Wendy Szymanski, leader of the New York chapter, said some chapters gave out lemonade in exchange for donations, but because of complicated New York City permitting laws, the local chapter simply handed out lemonade to foster discussion with passersby and collect petition signatures.

Moms Demand Action has several goals they are working toward, but their first priority is to push for legislation that would require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases.

Szymanski said the Sandy Hook shooting was a wake-up call for her as well as other members.

“We sat up and realized we have terrible gun laws in this country,” she said. “The NRA is the only one keeping tabs on this issue. As a result we have laws that defy common sense and really exist for the benefit of no one except the gun industry.”

Szymanski said she spent some time looking for a way to advocate for stricter gun laws, eventually leading her to Moms Demand Action.

“Before I knew it, I was designing fliers, getting permits and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge,” she said.

Szymanski cited a widely-reported statistic, based on evidence from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that eight children and teens die every day from gun violence. She herself has a 15-month-old daughter, but she said she is concerned for all children.

“It could be anyone’s child,” she said. “It needs to change. We need to treat this like the public health crisis that it is.”

The local chapter encompasses the five boroughs as well as Westchester County and Long Island.

For more information, visit momsdemandaction.org. To join, visit the website and click “Find Your Local Chapter.”

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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Reader Feedback

Bill Inaz from N/A says:
"... some chapters gave out lemonade in exchange for donations, but because of complicated New York City permitting laws, the local chapter simply handed out lemonade..."

They should have used this to their advantage. "We can't even sell a little lemonade but people can get full auto weapons on the internet for free!"
Aug. 27, 2013, 6:49 am
Brian Brandon from Dix Hills says:
Hey Bill,

WHERE on the internet can you get full auto weapons for FREE!!??

I'll give you a minute to look.......

NO WHERE!!

They are government regulated Class III firearms!
Aug. 27, 2013, 11:01 am
Bill Inaz from N/A says:
Brian, Brian, Brian....you need to sharpen your sarcasm detection apparatus.
Aug. 27, 2013, 12:32 pm
Texas TopCat from Corinth says:
I wonder if they have a license and have been OK'd by the Health Department? Maybe someone in law enforcement should pay them a visit.
I certainly hope that their drink is better than their logic, since their cause will only get more people killed.
Guns prevent violence more than 2,500,000 times a year (over 6000 per day). Even the anti-gun study ordered by Obama from the CDC shows guns do much more good than bad.
If they want to make a difference, protest against the "Criminal Free Fire Zones" around many of our public schools. Mass killings happen in "No Gun Zones", known by criminals and insane people as "Criminal Free Fire Zones" since it allows them to kill without anyone fighting back.
Aug. 27, 2013, 1:41 pm

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