Everytown recruiting gun violence survivors to run for office
The Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund is launching a program to recruit and train volunteers and gun violence survivors to run for office and work on campaigns.
The program, dubbed Demand a Seat, plans to train at least 200 grassroots volunteers to run for elected office in the 2021-2022 cycle. The initiative will invest $3 million in training through 2024.
The program will kick off this fall.
Everytown said the program will provide participants with educational training on how to “build and run winning campaigns as a gun safety candidate.”
It also plans on establishing networking and mentorship opportunities with elected officials and campaign veterans to create a resource for participants as they steer through the electoral process.
“Our volunteers are already political and legislative experts, and we’re going to help them go from advocating for gun safety laws to writing them,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.
“This program will help hundreds of gun safety advocates get their foot on the political ladder, starting with local office and ending with them writing state or even national laws,” he added.
The new enterprise comes as advocacy organizations look to the Biden administration and Congress to enact gun legislation.
The House in March approved two bills aimed at tightening background checks on firearm sales and transfers. The legislation, however, has since stalled in the Senate, where Republicans have been unwilling to negotiate on the highly contentious topic.
The conversation surrounding gun control legislation reignited in April following a spate of mass shootings that resulted in multiple casualties.
Biden, during his first address to a joint session of Congress, urged lawmakers to pass gun legislation. He called out Senate Republicans, asking them to “join with the overwhelming majority of their Democratic colleagues, and close loopholes and require background checks to purchase a gun.”
Gun legislation, however, has taken a back seat in Congress in recent weeks with the chambers focused on passing Biden’s infrastructure agenda.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D), former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), former Republican Rep. David Jolly (Fla.), who has since left the party for the Serve America Movement, and campaign veterans Addisu Demissie and Nicole Derse will help train participants in the new Everytown program.
Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), a former volunteer with Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown’s grassroots network, will also help train those taking part in the initiative.
Forty-three Moms Demand Action volunteers who ran for office won their races in 2020, according to Everytown. The group also noted that 50 former volunteers with Moms Demand Action have been elected to state legislatures, 18 have been voted into city or county councils, and eight have been elevated to school boards.