The Foundation Helping Moms Take on the NRA

In the United States, moms are annoyed with guns. I am one of them. Every day in my country, eight children are shot and killed with a gun. On top of that, an average of five women are shot to death daily, most often by a current or former intimate partner.

It has been decades since congress has passed any legislation to control the proliferation of firearms in the United States, despite an endless stream of the kinds of news stories that provoke terror in the hearts of mothers everywhere. Like the accidental firing through a hotel wall that killed a 13-year-old going to a soccer tournament in North Carolina. Or the gun cleaning accident that resulted in a father shooting his own child this week in New Hampshire. Or the accidental death of a 14-year-old playing with a gun, also this week, in Minnesota.

Add in regular school shootings in our children's schools, and you can see why many American moms are so pissed off.

In the last several years, a network of mom-powered organizations has entered the gun policy sphere with enthusiasm and publicity that rivals the NRA's. But the NRA's pockets are deep, and it remains a major force in financing political campaigns and influencing firearms legislation. 

Enter the Joyce Foundation. A midwestern foundation with a regional focus, Joyce has, since 1993, made grants to groups working to curb gun violence in the United States. On an annual basis, Joyce gives about $5 million to the cause.

Related - The Joyce Foundation's Long Fight to Curb to Gun Violence

Joyce recognizes that gun violence impacts women in unique ways. The foundation partnered with Everytown for Gun Safety and the Center for American Progress to release a report and policy recommendations, published this fall, called "Women Under the Gun: How Gun Violence Affects Women and Four Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them." 

Joyce has also made grants to the MomsRising Education Fund, for public education campaigns about gun policy reforms, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Moms Demand Action is the advocacy group behind the campaign to get Kroger to drop its open-carry policy in its stores. The group recently did a similar PR campaign to shame Target into ending its permissive firearms policies, and successfully pressured the big box retailer to ban guns in its stores. Launched in 2012 by a stay-at-home mom after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Moms Demand Action has shot right up to the forefront of the gun policy debate raging in America.

If moms are annoyed with guns, gun rights activists are annoyed with moms. Perhaps you recall the time Open Carry Texas convened to pulverized a naked female mannequin, representing a mom, with bullets. These upstanding defenders of the second amendment also showed up with assault rifles at an Arlington, Texas lunch of Moms Demand Action members. Nice. 

A Google search for "Joyce Foundation" and "Moms Demand Action" turns up a long list of angry blog posts by gun enthusiasts who do not care for Joyce, or gun control, or mothers working to advance policies that would protect their children and themselves from violent and sudden death.

Still, it does not appear that gun nuts with Internet connections are likely to influence Joyce's spending priorities. On the gun policy section of its website, the foundation declares clearly, and in large letters, "Never Underestimate the Power of a Mom."