In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, outrage is turning into political and social action. In a "Demand a Plan" ad in The New York Times, a number of technology industry executives and other leaders called on President Obama and Congress to come up with a plan to end gun violence.
In a blog post, one of the signatories of the ad, venture capitalist Fred Wilson, wrote that tech industry leaders are working to mount a "sustained social media and regular media campaign to pressure our leaders to do something about the gun safety problem in our country." In addition to The New York Times ad, Wilson said they started a social-media campaign on the Demand a Plan Web site.
Other signatories in the ad include Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Andreessen Horowitz' Ben Horowitz, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue, craigslist's Craig Newmark, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, and Randi Zuckerberg.
The Demand a Plan campaign was started by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization co-founded in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The group now has the endorsement of more than 750 mayors and 750,000 supporters to date around the country.
Obama addressed the issue during a press conference today, calling for swift legislative action to steadily reduce gun violence. "The fact that the problem is complex is no longer an excuse for doing nothing," he said, appointing Vice President Joe Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete reform proposals before the end of January 2013.
"As soon as I get recommendations, I will put forward very specific proposals," Obama said. "We are looking for a thoughtful approach that can preserve the Second Amendment and that [can allow] responsible gun owners [to] carry out their activities, but we need to be serious about the safety side of this." He noted that no single law or set of laws can solve the gun violence problems, and that mental health is an element in any solution. Obama plans to discuss the issue during his State of the Union address on January 29.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is calling for a criminal background check for every gun sold in America and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In addition, the group advocates legislation that would make gun trafficking a federal crime.
"In this age of technology we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show," Obama said.
Below is the ad that ran in The New York Times: