How to Help with Gun Control: 12 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Gun Violence
Recent mass shootings have galvanized people who support gun control legislation. Here's how to turn your concern into concrete actions.
The recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 grade school students and two elementary school teachers—and devastated the entire country. In the wake of the violence, many Americans are looking for ways to help the victims and families and asking how to help with gun control to prevent school shootings in the future.
And they’re struggling with why it’s so hard to stop gun violence in America, especially when most of the country is in favor of strengthening gun laws. A recent Morning Consult/Politico poll found that the majority of Americans support laws that require background checks for all gun sales, set age minimums for gun purchases, and ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. Overall, 65 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws.
The tragedy has prompted people to examine how other countries respond to mass shootings, debate what the right to bear arms means in the context of the Second Amendment, and question what it would take to amend the Constitution. But those are large-scale changes. Fortunately, there’s a lot individuals can do to reduce the chances of another mass shooting, whether in a school or in another public area, like the recent supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York. If you’re interested in how to help with gun control, keep reading for ways to take action.
Educate yourself about gun control
Knowing how to help with gun control starts with understanding the issues. By educating yourself, you’ll strengthen your case for gun legislation and be better poised to educate others about how legislation can help stop the next mass shooter.
To learn about gun laws and how gun violence impacts the country, visit the organizations below. They’re doing their part to cull data and provide resources for Americans interested in learning about gun control.
- Gun Violence Archive: This nonprofit documents and tracks the injuries and deaths that occur every day from gun violence. Visit for easily digestible charts, maps, and explainers.
- Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions: Gun violence researchers and prevention advocates come together to study the issue and inform advocacy. Head here to better understand everything from firearm basics to research and key policies.
- Giffords Law Center: This gun violence prevention advocacy group offers in-depth information about gun laws, the Second Amendment, policy areas, statistics, reports, and a whole lot more. Head here to see your state’s gun law scorecard.
- Everytown for Gun Safety: Advocacy groups like Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action come together in this, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization. The site is a trove of useful resources, including facts and figures, an explanation of the issues, and tips for taking action.
- Brady United Against Gun Violence: Named for the “Brady Bill” that made background checks a requisite for handgun purchases, this organization advocates for the prevention of gun violence. Visit for information on commonsense gun laws, statistics and key figures about the issue, and information about key legal cases.
Contact your elected representatives
After the recent string of mass shootings, lawmakers are discussing several options for gun control legislation, including a stronger system for background checks, minimum-age laws for gun purchases, red flag laws that allow judges to remove guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others, and the regulation or banning of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. Others are focused on repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects gun manufacturers from liability for the damage their products cause.
Not all lawmakers agree with enacting what’s known as commonsense gun laws. If you want your elected representatives to support any or all of these laws, speak up. “Make your voice heard,” says Kris Brown, president of gun safety organization Brady United Against Gun Violence. “Call your lawmakers—and not just those in Washington. Make sure everyone who represents your interests hears clearly that you demand gun violence prevention solutions.”
How exactly do you reach them? Everytown for Gun Safety makes it easy: Text “BOLD” to 644-33, and the organization will patch you through to your senators to share your thoughts on gun control. You can find the contact information for your congressional representative on the House of Representatives website. Or you can use Common Cause’s tool to find all your representatives in government, from the president to the local level.
Don’t forget to include your name and location, and that you are a constituent.
Tell your story
Many of the gun control education sites listed above offer form letters you can use to express your opinions via email—that’s the easiest method. But your best bet is to make it personal to draw more attention to your message. If you’re a shooting survivor or have a story of an encounter with gun violence, sharing it can help make your letter or call more memorable.
Let the data speak for you
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Consider using gun violence statistics and information you find on educational sites to strengthen your case. Data can make a strong argument for new gun legislation, and there are plenty of compelling statistics that indicate gun control laws help prevent gun violence.
The Brady Background Check system, for instance, was created in the 1990s and has prevented more than 4.4 million sales to prohibited purchasers, Brown says. (Loopholes currently allow up to 22 percent of gun sales to occur without a background check, according to a 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine study.) And when large-capacity ammunition magazines were banned—from 1994 to 2004—casualties from gun violence decreased by 70 percent, says Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
Address specific legislation
When contacting your elected officials, mention a specific action you’d like them to take. Maybe you want them to vote “yes” on a particular piece of legislation that’s coming up, or introduce or sponsor legislation that tackles an issue close to your heart, such as banning assault weapons or closing background check loopholes.
Repealing the PLCAA, which makes it nearly impossible for victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers, has been prioritized by many gun-safety advocates. “It is unquestionable that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has had a disastrous impact on our nation,” Brown says. “Gun manufacturers and other parts of the gun industry have been afforded protections that no other industry enjoys, and this law has stopped the gun industry from being held accountable for their role in this crisis. Congress should and must repeal it.”
If you agree, urge your representatives to take action.
Support gun-sense candidates for office
With the midterm elections in just a few months, putting the work in to elect gun-safety candidates is a high priority for advocates looking for ideas on how to help with gun control. “In order to get effective, strong gun laws passed, voting out representatives who continually refuse to enact popular and proven measures is the most important thing,” says Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords Law Center. “We’ve seen it happen—when states flip, meaningful gun-violence prevention can become a reality—in places like Virginia and New Mexico.”
And you don’t have to just support your local candidates. “If you already live in a state or area where your representatives are doing everything they can on gun control, you can volunteer out of your area,” she says. Join groups that send letters or postcards to voters in other states, call or text to encourage people to vote, or help sign up voters.
Make sure that candidates know that gun policy is what’s driving your vote this election year. “We can decide that this is going to be our priority voting issue,” says Watts. “We can decide that we’re going to be volunteers, that we’re going to get off the sidelines—because no one wants to live like this.”
Encourage like-minded people to vote
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images
Millions of eligible Americans don’t vote in elections, and millions more haven’t even signed up to vote. In fact, in the 2020 election, which had a record turnout, only 67 percent of Americans eligible to vote actually did.
Signing people up to vote and encouraging those who haven’t voted recently to come out to the polls could help turn the tide for gun-safety candidates.
When you’re volunteering, making calls, donating, or voting, try to get your friends to join you. Doing so can increase your impact. “We use a method called vote tripling, where one voter commits to getting three of their friends to also vote,” Anderman says. “If you volunteer, get three of your friends to volunteer as well. Make a commitment to get a certain number of people to get involved—it’s really fun, and I feel like it’s something anyone can do.”
Donate to candidates who support gun control
Donate to a candidate on the local, state, or national level who speaks to you. National elections may get more attention, but local elections can be even more consequential when it comes to changing your area’s gun culture.
“States with stronger gun laws have lower rates of gun death,” says Brown. “These laws work, and they save lives. And states can act to keep their residents safe now. Creating momentum with policies that work at the local and state level is also how the American people can highlight successes and pressure Congress to do more.”
Donate to gun control advocacy groups
There are hundreds of gun control advocacy groups making a difference, and it’s easy to donate to them through their websites. Consider donating to these gun control groups, which are rated tops by charity watchdog group Charity Navigator.
- Violence Policy Center: This organization focuses on research, investigation, and education into the impacts of gun control, and advocates for gun safety.
- Everytown for Gun Safety: An umbrella group that includes Mothers Demand Action and Students Demand Action, Everytown is a grassroots organization that works on education, awareness, and legislation to change gun laws.
- Brady United Against Gun Violence: Founded by the family of former White House press secretary Jim Brady, who was partially paralyzed during the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the organization fights for improved gun laws, like its landmark Brady Bill, which made background checks a requirement for handgun purchases.
- Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions: This university research center focuses on the rigorous study of gun violence, its impact, and preventative measures, and advocates for policies that can reduce gun violence.
- Giffords Law Center: Founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt, Giffords Law Center works to reduce gun violence by encouraging stronger and better gun laws.
- Sandy Hook Promise: Founded by the families of children who were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, Sandy Hook Promise focuses on developing bipartisan school and gun legislation and works to provide anti-bullying education and information to help school staff and students recognize at-risk behaviors and intervene.
Join a local gun violence prevention organization
Groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady United Against Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, and Giffords Law Center, many of which were founded by survivors of mass shootings or their families, need volunteers to continue to do their work. So donate your time to support gun safety.
You can easily volunteer and sign up for your local chapter to find new ways to work on gun control efforts. “This work is done by people who wake up every day to do the heavy lifting of grassroots—meetings at the school board, statehouse, local council, even boardrooms—to help change the culture around gun violence,” Watts says.
Beyond those national gun violence prevention organizations, there are local grassroots organizations that would appreciate your support. To find one in your area, google your state and the words “gun control organization.”
Hold a social media fundraiser
You’ve probably already seen people creating personal fundraisers on Facebook to benefit a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts. (Usually, Facebook tries to get you to set one up as your birthday draws near. But you don’t have to wait until your birthday to raise funds for a good cause.)
To set up a fundraiser, simply click the plus sign on the top of your Facebook page, scroll down to “Fundraiser,” and follow the prompts to choose a goal amount and nonprofit to donate to. Then create a personal message to encourage people to donate.
Run for office
For many government workers, a single issue crystallized their desire to make a change, and if you feel strongly enough, gun control can be your cause. It may be one of the most impactful options for how to help with gun control and stop future shootings in schools and other public areas.
Many gun safety groups, like Everytown for Gun Safety, offer programs to help train you to run for office. “It’s now a moral imperative for gun-safety advocates to run for office,” Watts says. “We train and provide support for our own volunteers and gun violence survivors to stop shaping policy and start making it.”
Join protests and rallies
Pacific Press/Getty Images
Since the Uvalde shooting, communities have gathered for candlelight vigils, rallies, and other events to honor the lives lost and show support for stronger gun laws. “We want everyone to see us,” Watts says. Every year, on the first weekend in June, Everytown for Gun Safety has “Wear Orange” weekend to draw attention to the issue. “We highlight the crisis of gun violence by wearing orange and encourage people to visit WearOrange.org to get connected to a local event.”
Talk about it
While it can be easier to talk to like-minded people and encourage them to vote or take action against gun violence, you might be able to find common ground with a loved one who has differing views on gun legislation. “People who seem very extreme on guns may actually support some types of regulation, and maybe that’s where you focus your conversation,” Anderman says. By listening and looking for places where you see eye to eye, you might help encourage someone to consider gun-sense candidates.
It may feel like change is impossible, but gun-safety advocates say their work continues to produce results. Only by continuing to volunteer and make your voice heard will we make strides to reduce mass shootings in America.
“Do not become numb or apathetic,” Anderman says. “We absolutely know the solutions to gun violence, and things will change.”
- Morning Consult and Politico: “National Tracking Poll”
- Kris Brown, president of Brady United Against Gun Violence
- Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action
- Annals of Internal Medicine: “Firearm Acquisition Without Background Checks”
- Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords Law Center
- NPR: “Poll: Despite Record Turnout, 80 Million Americans Didn’t Vote. Here’s Why”