Moms group partners with progressive Democrats blasting McConnell on gun control


by Joe Arnold

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 5:57 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- A grassroots call for gun control gained a partisan partner in Louisville on Monday when the Moms Demand Action group partnered with a liberal political action committee to protest Sen. Mitch McConnell's Louisville office.

"We are still a non-partisan group," said Tracey Goodlett of Lebanon Junction, a Moms Demand Action co-leader.  "We just happen to come together for this event.  And we are non-partisan. we have Republicans in our group, we have independents. we have Democratics (sic).  We have everybody. We're all here for the common goal of common sense gun reform."

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which works to elect liberal Democrats to Congress, organized the protest and the collection of about 1,200 signatures to deliver to McConnell's office in the Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse.

The groups came armed with a stroller, a child's photo, petitions and signs shaming Senator Mitch McConnell for his role in defeating Senate legislation that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and gun sales on the Internet.

"That is not in the best interests of Kentucky's voters and I think that he needs to retire and let somebody who will represent us take that position," said Rick Cales, an emergency physician.

A January survey by a Democratic pollster found 82 percent of Kentuckians approve of expanding background checks. Yet, one passerby at the protest is not among them.

"These people are crazy," said Chris Dunn of Owensboro, "Everybody should have the right to bear arms."

"They do not realize that we are engaged and enraged," said Pam Gersh, a member of Moms Demand Action.

McConnell's office issued a statement to WHAS11 News.

"President Obama's allies have been attacking Sen. McConnell on this issue for months, but his support for Kentuckians' Second Amendment rights will not waver," said McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer.

"We're not Obama's cronies," Gersh said.

"No right is absolute in this country," Gersh countered. "Since 9/11, Congress has trampled on a lot of our rights, the First Amendment, the Third Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, you know search and seizure, freedom of speech.  One thing they have not touched is the Second Amendment."
"And they should," Gersh said in response to a reporter's question.  "I mean any amendment can be regulated for public safety."

The protest of McConnell's leading role opposing gun control comes days before a newly formed group, the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, plans to air television commercials praising McConnell's opposition to another controversial measure, the Affordable Care Act.
From 'Obamacare' to gun control, McConnell's influence as the Senate's top Republican is as evident as ever - on the Hill and on the street.

"I'm a newcomer," Goodlett said.  "A new activist."

Gersh, meanwhile, said the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings prompted her return to the issue, thirteen years after she helped to organize Louisville's role in the "Million Mom March" after the Columbine High School massacre and shootings at a California daycare facility.

"I see a big difference from 2000," Gersh said.  "I see people from all walks of life coming out on the sidewalk. I see gun owners saying enough is enough."