Kristin Bowen is the leader of Columbia’s local Moms Demand Action group. Moms Demand Action is a locally-funded group that focuses on gun safety with chapters across the United States.
Bowen started the Columbia organization in 2015 because she said the issue of gun violence, like many parents, affected her emotionally.
“My youngest son is the same age as the children who were in the Sandy Hook classroom,” Bowen said. “And it just felt like, since 2012, and when that happened, there were so many high profile, mass tragic shootings. And I couldn't stand by anymore and look at my kids in the eyes and say I was okay with what was happening.”
Bowen began the local group on her own. Columbia Moms Demand Action has grown since, with over a dozen people in leadership positions. The association spends time in Jefferson City working with lawmakers to fight for sensible gun reform.
“We're always really clear to say, we're not anti-gun, we are anti-gun violence,” Bowen clarified. “And we are looking for ways, that are common sense ways, that most Americans could agree on to prevent violence.”
Bowen said many members of Moms Demand Action are gun owners themselves, and the group as a whole supports the Second Amendment. However, they are working to enact policies like red flag laws and domestic violence laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Moms Demand Action has repeatedly fought a campus concealed-carry law, which would force universities to allow people to have guns in all parts of campuses, including dorms and stadiums.
“It’s just so overwhelmingly unpopular, and so dangerous a notion,” she said. “A similar bill to this one made it very far last year in the legislative session. And we're very concerned about that again this year.”
The group will continue working with lawmakers, using evidence-based arguments to fight for their cause. Columbia’s Moms Demand Action tries to stray from emotion or rhetoric-based arguments, and instead focuses on laws and regulations that have been proven to work.
Bowen said even when the rest of the world isn’t talking about gun violence, Moms Demand Action is.
“I want to make sure everyone is aware that this is an everyday issue. It's here in Columbia an everyday issue,” Bowen said. “Even when the spotlight turns away, and maybe our leaders move on, that people know that Moms Demand Action is here working on this issue all the time on gun violence in all of its forms, not simply when it grabs headlines.”
Exam is hosted by Kassidy Arena