Given the lack of meaningful gun reform in recent years, the gun lobby has a reputation as an impenetrably powerful entity in U.S. politics. But “Moms Demand Action” founder Shannon Watts says that reputation is unearned.
“We’ve known this for a while,” Watts said in an interview with TheWrap CEO and Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman. “The NRA is a paper tiger. They are not as powerful as they want us to believe they are, and it wouldn’t take too much for America to get together and take them down.”
In the months since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Americans have begun to see that the National Rifle Association’s influence isn’t all it’s made out to be, Watts argued. “Because there’s such a spotlight on the NRA, we’re seeing all the cockroaches run out from under the refrigerator.”
“The NRA has not won in the elections it’s invested in historically,” she said, adding that the group got “very lucky” in the last election cycle when Donald Trump won the White House.
They don’t have a winning agenda in state houses. Corporations are starting to turn against them by the dozens. We’ve seen that since Parkland, too,” said Watts. “The NRA’s power is waning. They’re selling more guns to fewer people, and that demographic is aging out.”
Founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, “Moms Demand Action” lobbies at state, local and national levels for common-sense gun reform.
Watts, a stay-at-home mother of five, had a vision for “a woman-led grassroots army of volunteers who would fight the gun lobby toe-to-toe, where they lived.” Women are the “secret sauce” of activism,” she said, citing movements from the Prohibition era to the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“If Americans come together and say, ‘This isn’t the future we want for America,’” she said. “It would take very little time for [the NRA] to lose the power that they have.”
Watch the interview above.