WASHINGTON – Rosemary McLain is looking for a few good moms — 999,999 of them.
The Chevy Chase mother of two is one of the leaders of a proposed Million Mom March, which is appealing for “a few good moms” to march on Washington next Mother’s Day in support of stricter gun control laws.
“I have two small children, and a good portion of my day is spent — and I think is wasted — worrying about their safety,” McLain said. “The current gun laws are unacceptable.”
The Million Mom March is the brainchild of Donna Dees-Thomases, a New York mother who was driven to action by the Aug. 10 nursery school shootings in Granada Hills, Calif., that left three children wounded.
“I felt sick that I’ve done nothing to help the mothers who’ve lost children and have been crying out to us for years with warnings that our kids could be next,” Dees-Thomases said Thursday in a rally on the steps of the Capitol.
Dees-Thomases began organizing the march on Labor Day and McLain joined five days later. McLain, a former lobbyist for environmental causes and American Indian treaty rights, was quickly named legislative director for the march.
When not occupied with her son Jackson, 6, and daughter Caty, 4, McLain volunteers her time tracking congressional legislation and helping draft proposals for the march.
“I said I’m looking for something to do and this is something I care passionately about,” she said. “I’m the eyes and ears in Washington for Million Mom March.”
The march aims to pressure Congress to pass “common sense” gun laws, such as background checks at gun shows, mandatory safety locks and an extension the law that requires waiting periods for gun purchases.
“Until Congress actually sees a million mothers together, it will remain a captive of the [National Rifle Association],” said McLain, who is pessimistic about the chances for new gun control legislation before the march. “But I really do feel a groundswell that I haven’t felt before.
“The people who feel passionately about this are suburban moms and we vote. There are a lot more of us than there are of NRA folks,” she said.
NRA spokesman Jim Manown said Thursday that he had not heard of the Million Mom March. But he repeated the NRA’s general belief that stricter enforcement of existing gun laws is needed, not new laws.
“We have laws on the book but the laws aren’t being enforced,” he said.
But for McLain and other march organizers, the NRA is just one obstacles on the way to stronger gun laws. There are still a number of logistical problems in preparing such a large event — transportation and housing, lining up guest speakers and “the port-a-potty issue.”
“Let’s face it, we’ve got moms and children marching,” McLain said.