LITTLE ROCK — Gun control advocates delivered 1,700 postcards to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor’s Little Rock office Wednesday as part of a national campaign in response to the May 24 campus shooting and stabbing spree at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Members of the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said they also were sending the postcards, in electronic form, to the rest of the state’s congressional delegation.
Nationwide, 600,000 people, including 1,700 Arkansans, signed up online to have their names printed on postcards to be sent to members of Congress. The postcards read "NOT ONE MORE" on the front, and on the back they carry pledges "to support local, state and federal candidates who will fight for common-sense laws to reduce gun violence."
Also on the postcards is the logo of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Everytown for Gun Safety, formerly known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is co-sponsoring the campaign with Moms Demand Action.
The Not One More campaign was conceived by Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, was shot and killed by Elliott Rodger in a rampage in which Rodger killed six people and injured 13 before shooting himself.
"After that shooting, (Martinez) asked Americans to send their legislators a message that says not one more death should occur, not one more American should die due to senseless gun violence," said Cathy Jellenik of Conway, leader of the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action.
Wearing red, white and blue shirts that read "GUN SENSE VOTER," eight members of the group visited Pyror’s office in Little Rock’s River Market on Thursday to deliver the postcards.
Jellenik emphasized that the group does not oppose gun ownership. She said it supports measures such as expanded background checks for gun purchasers, increased monitoring of gun trafficking and increased gun safety education.
Specifically, she said the group supports the Manchin-Toomey proposal for expanded background checks that failed in the Senate last year, with Pryor, D-Ark., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., both voting against it.
"We’re hoping they’ll reconsider that," she said.
Pryor spokeswoman Lisa Ackerman said Thursday, "Like any parent, Mark is sickened by these senseless tragedies, which is why he’s working with Republicans to address the issue of mental illness and gun violence. While he appreciates and respects the views of everyone in this debate, Mark simply does not support President Obama’s gun control policies."
Pryor’s camp noted that he did co-sponsor a bill last year, the NICS Reporting Improvement Act, that sought to decrease gun violence by clarifying the circumstances under which a person loses the right to possess firearms because of mental illness.
Spokespeople for other members of the delegation said Thursday they had not received the postcards but that the cards would be reviewed when they came in.
Pryor, whose bid for a third Senate term is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, has been publicly pressured to support gun control before. Mayors Against Illegal Guns placed a television ad on Arkansas airwaves last year criticizing Pryor for voting against the Manchin-Toomey bill.
Pryor responded at the time with an ad in which he declared, "No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas."