Fight for gun control heads to town halls after March for Our Lives | US news
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After March for Our Lives, Town Halls for Our LivesAfter the success of the March for Our Lives, the fight for gun control is continuing at a pace, with activists pushing for every member of Congress to attend a Town Hall for Our Lives next week – even as Republicans continue to avoid meeting with their constituents.
The events are being organized by March for Our Lives in conjunction with the Town Hall Project, which works to pressure members of Congress to hold regular town halls in their districts.
The Town Halls for Our Lives, being held on 7 April, will focus on gun control and gun violence. The events are being organized by activists, who book venues themselves before pressuring their elected representatives to attend.
Nathan Williams, from the Town Hall Project, said so far people were working to schedule town halls in about 150 congressional districts. So far the US representatives Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have said they will attend Town Halls for Our Lives in Florida, while Nydia Velázquez and Carolyn Maloney plan to attend events in New York. Ruben Gallego, who represents Arizona’s seventh district, has also said he will be at a Town Hall for Our Lives. All five are Democrats.
Members of the House and the Senate are on recess for the next week. Recess is traditionally an opportunity for elected officials to meet with constituents in their home districts, holding town halls or other in-person events.
Over the past year, however, the majority of Republicans have refused to hold in-person events. During this recess only 14 Republican representatives or senators are holding events, from a total of 289 GOP lawmakers. More than 40 Democrats are scheduled to hold town halls.
Many Republicans shied away from holding in-person events through 2017 as debate raged over GOP attempts to reform the Affordable Care Act. Those who did attend town halls faced angry questioning from constituents, with thousands of activists attending events across the country to rail against healthcare reform.
Williams said he was seeing a similar energy at the moment, but with a focus on gun control. The Republican senator Joni Ernst, who is opposed to banning semiautomatic rifles, faced angry questions at a town hall she held in Iowa from people demanding gun reform.
“In the same I would guess that the energy of last spring was rocket-fueled by the Women’s March, I think this march last Saturday has had the same effect,” he said.
“And what’s exciting for us is that it’s not necessarily all the same people – it’s a lot of young people who weren’t reaching out to us last year, and probably weren’t going to town halls last year, that are newly very active and becoming very savvy.
“People don’t just want to march and go home. They want to know what’s next. And right now what’s next is organizing these town halls and holding their members of congress accountable.”