High-Profile Gun Control Groups To Join Forces In San Diego
In the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Florida, some high profile gun control advocacy groups in San Diego are joining forces to fight for tougher gun laws.
“Our legislators will say it’s too soon to talk about gun violence, but for those families, it’s too late,” said Wendy Wheatcroft, director of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense San Diego.
Wheatcroft, a former teacher and mother of three will head the new coalition, called San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.
In addition to Moms Demand Action, the coalition will be comprised of hundreds of members of the San Diego Brady Campaign Chapter, Sandy Hook Promise and Survivors Empowered.
Wheatcroft said the new organization is necessary because the groups’ efforts were overlapping.
“We were at the same events, we were lobbying for the same bills, and we were working very closely together already,” Wheatcroft said. “And I said to them, ‘Why don’t we combine our efforts, maximize our impact, and really hunker down in San Diego to really target the types of gun violence prevention that San Diego needs most.’”
San Diegans For Gun Violence Prevention
Tues., Feb. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.
9484 Black Mountain Road, 92126
Wheatcroft and dozens of other gun control advocates rallied in Balboa Park the day after 17 people were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now, she said they will focus on rallying the public and lawmakers to demand stricter gun laws, universal background checks and an end to gun violence.
A big emphasis will be on educating the public ahead of upcoming elections, she said.
“We really want to drive home the issue that voting matters,” Wheatcroft said. “When we vote for gun sense candidates we can save lives.”
Wheatcroft recalled her own experience of gun violence while working at an Escondido school that she described was inflicted by gangs.
“I’ve been huddled in my classroom with my students not knowing if a shooter was going to bust through the door at any minute,” Wheatcroft said. "I’ve sent texts to my family telling them I love them because I didn’t know if I would make it out of that classroom."
She has since quit her teaching job to volunteer as a full-time advocate.
“I just can’t live my life without doing everything possible to stop this from happening,” Wheatcroft said.
A launch event, open to the public, is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Flex Space, 9484 Black Mountain Road, 92126. Wheatcroft said the event was planned several months ago.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s awful that the shooting happened, but it just shows the urgency of the issue,” she said.