September 3, 2020 Blog

Gun Violence and a Tale of Two Conventions

Gun Violence took center stage at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in August. This year’s focus on gun violence prevention shows that elected officials are finally recognizing how important this issue is for voters across the country. But the message at each convention could not have been more different. Here’s a brief recap:


Gun violence survivors like DeAndra Dycus, Emma Gonzalez, Fred Guttenberg and Gabby Giffords took the stage at the Democratic Convention to share their personal stories and call for long-overdue action on gun safety. The DNC made it clear that Democrats understand that gun safety is a winning issue.

In 2014, DeAndra Dycus’s 13-year-old son, Dre, was shot and severely wounded at a birthday party he was attending. An honor student and a star athlete, Dre is now paralyzed. 

Emma Gonzalez survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018 and has since become a leading voice in gun violence prevention. She narrated this powerful video.

Fred Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was one of the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. 

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head at a campaign event in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Since then she has been a courageous and effective leader in the fight against gun violence. 


In contrast, gun extremism was on display throughout the four days of the Republican National Convention. As the country reeled from the senseless police shooting of Jacob Blake and the killing of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the RNC highlighted extreme opponents of gun safety. 

Notably, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who brandished firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters, spoke during the convention’s opening night. The couple’s remarks were full of fearmongering and racially-charged rhetoric. Read a recap here

Throughout the entire convention, speakers, including the president’s son, warned of “uncontrolled violent mobs” who are taking over the country. Not a single solution to our country’s epidemic of gun violence was offered. 

The importance of electing gun responsibility champions has never been more clear. Our country faces many challenges ahead, we must elect leaders at every level of government who understand what it will take to build a safer and more just future. Take a minute today to make sure your voter registration is up to date at if you live in Washington or if you live elsewhere. 



–Maureen McGregor is the Strategic Engagement Director at the Alliance.