Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement to prevent gun violence, has established a chapter in Santa Barbara. The organization has more than 5 million members nationally and aims to tighten gun laws and protect Americans, specifically children, from gun violence.
The new Santa Barbara chapter is headed by Kendall Pata and Emily Engel, who are both mothers and community activists. Pata said she was motivated to start the chapter to address gun violence locally after the Thousand Oaks shooting in November 2018. Pata, who was living in Colorado at the time of the Columbine shooting, said it is unacceptable that we are still losing children to gun violence.
“Our initial goals as we begin this chapter are to give our members real, tangible ways to take action,” said Pata. The chapter plans to write letters to representatives urging them to support HR8, a federal bill that would require background checks on guns purchased from private sellers. Additionally, the chapter intends to increase awareness about gun-related suicides and accidental deaths through its Be SMART campaign. The program spreads awareness about accidental gun deaths and urges gun owners to store guns safely. SMART is an acronym based on five gun safety steps: Secure guns in homes and vehicles; Model responsible behavior; Ask about unsecured guns in other homes; Recognize the role of guns in suicide; and Tell your peers to Be SMART.
Moms Demand Action is affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety. The other closest local chapters of Moms Demand Action are in Ventura and San Luis Obispo.