By Sophia Blistein. Sophia is OpenInvest’s marketing coordinator.
After the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, I applied to work for OpenInvest. I didn’t know much about finance, but any company who was trying new ways to fight gun violence was one I’d be happy to work for.
After the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, I signed up to volunteer with Moms Demand Action. Watching gun stocks rise in value, as they always do after a mass shooting, I felt sick to my stomach. I had to do more.
After the Parkland shooting two weeks ago, I cried at my desk as I watched Snapchat footage of students hiding under desks.
As hashtags boomed on Twitter and videos of student activist Emma Gonzales went viral, I saw my friends on Facebook asking how they could get involved and where donated money would be best spent. Every time we see one of these shootings, it’s clear people want to fight gun violence but aren’t sure how they can get involved. I wanted to write this quick guide for my friends, but we realized we could share it here as well. After all, according to the latest CNN poll, support for stricter gun control is at a 25 year peak. For the 70% of Americans that want to make a difference, here’s how to get started.
Find your local chapter of The Brady Campaign, Everytown, Moms Demand Action or States United Against Violence. These organizations have ways you can get involved in-person, at home on your own time, and offer guides for taking legislative action.
Join the Parkland survivors at your local event for March for Our Lives on March 24. Support the student walkouts on March 14. Remember that students are doing the work adults have failed to do, all while taking AP exams and trying to get into college.
The above organizations (and one of my favorite groups Gays Against Guns) are always taking donations, but often you can decide how your money should be used. Tax-deductible donations usually sponsor research and education, while non-deductible donations usually fund gun control lobbying – for fighting the NRA. The millions the NRA spends on political activity mostly come from individuals – with average donations of $35. Every single dollar you can spare to fight gun violence makes a difference.
The NRA makes it easy for its members to vote for pro-gun politicians. Unfortunately, there are no similar rankings to show voters what pro-gun control politicians they can vote for, but you can look at historical records from your representatives and search candidates On The Issues.
You may have heard that Florida teachers demanded their pension fund divest from the makers of the AR-15 that was used in the Parkland shooting. But it’s not just major pension funds that own shares in these companies – you might as well. Find out whether you’re invested in weapons manufacturers – and then divest if you can. OpenInvest offers a weapons-free investment option for anyone ready to start investing with their values.
I hope this was helpful, and I hope I’ll see you out there fighting for gun control.