How Gun Violence Activist and Mom Lucy McBath Is Working to Protect All American Families

Congresswoman Lucy McBath lost her son to gun violence when he was just 17. She spoke with ‎Your Political Playlist host Emily Tisch Sussman about how she's since been working tirelessly from the top for safer gun laws.

An image of Lucy McBath on a colorful background.
Photo: Getty Images.

Lucy McBath is not your average politician. A little over 10 years ago, she was a flight attendant and a loving mother to her son, Jordan Davis. But her life changed when Jordan, 17, was murdered at a gas station in 2012, a tragedy that would launch her into a new role as an activist for safer gun laws.

Three years ago, she took her personal experience and activism skills to Congress, winning a seat in a swing district in Georgia. When Democratic Congresswoman McBath speaks about gun violence, she's not repeating talking points—she's speaking from experience.

Host of Your Political Playlist, Emily Tisch Sussman, sat down with Congresswoman McBath to talk about how she is leading Congress to pass common sense gun violence protection laws, all while she was working to pass President Biden's COVID Relief Package.

On the New Gun Violence Prevention Legislation:

In early March, Congresswoman McBath reintroduced the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, taking a historic step in moving the bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation through Congress. The congresswoman explained that the legislation approaches the gun violence pandemic from a range of avenues. "[It's] federal background checks for all gun sales, closing the Charleston loophole," she says. That allows gun sales to complete if a full background check hasn't come back in three business days.

She adds, "The Enhanced Backgrounds Check Act, Assault Weapons Ban, the Extreme Risk Protection Orders—all these kinds of pieces of legislation are coming to fruition right now because we know that they probably are going to be some of the surest ways, the most expansive ways, to really save the most number of lives."

The House passed both the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 passed on March 11.

But after decades of bad gun policies, there is still work to be done. To join the movement to create safer communities through gun violence prevention consider getting involved with organizations like Moms Demand Action or calling your senators to urge them to pass the Background Checks Act of 2021 and abolish the filibuster. Finally, stay updated on policies that can affect your families and communities by tuning into Your Political Playlist.

How the Insurrection at the Capitol Changed the Conversation:

On January 6, the country watched as an armed insurrection unfolded at the Capitol. It led to the re-emergence of conversations around gun violence, as people lost their lives that day. Congresswoman McBath reflected on how those events affected the gun violence policy debate, saying, "I believe there's just a greater sense of urgency now to pass these pieces of legislation...especially federal background checks for all gun sales and the Charleston loophole."

And now that her colleagues in Congress have had personal experiences with gun violence at the Capitol, that can change how compromise might move forward around policy. "I know that my Republican colleagues, they were just as emotionally and physically scarred by what we all experienced," she says. "Therefore, I really believe the best way for us to make sure that we're saving lives is to come together at the table. We must find solutions together."

Congresswoman Lucy McBath

This is not a partisan issue. Gun violence doesn't know whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian.

— Congresswoman Lucy McBath

Working Across the Aisle to Save Lives:

Congresswoman McBath isn't just talking about compromise for a sound bite, either. While gun violence has been a priority for legislators like McBath for years, she makes it clear: "This is not a partisan issue. Gun violence doesn't know whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian, and so this is the way that we have to be able to solve this public health crisis because that's really what it is. It will take Republicans and Democrats working together, reaching across the aisle for bipartisan solutions."

Gun Violence Protections and COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created hardships for people and families nationwide, and the Congresswoman recognizes the parallels between these stressors and "our dangerous gun culture." She warns there are "no safe spaces in America right now in this culture. No one is immune from gun violence."

The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion COVID Relief package this week and it will put money in the pockets of Americans who need it most and revitalize the economy. While Congresswoman McBath continues to advocate for gun violence protections, she emphasized that these issues don't live in a vacuum. "All these things, they're all interconnected and all interrelated. This is what we continue to work hard on every single day. That's why I'm so excited about our rescue package. I'm so excited that we're going to be able to add more stimulus checks to people's pockets."

For more smart, relevant conversations with women at the seat of power and activism check out Your Political Playlist. To listen to the full interview click here.

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