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Mothers to serve lemonade nationwide ‘because Congress handed us lemons’

After the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., happened on December 14th, mothers across the country decided to take action.

“We all became accidental activists,” said Jocelyn Strauss. “We just felt it was time to do something.”

So they formed the group “Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.” The group now has 100,000 members, including about 800 in Phoenix.

Strauss is the group’s regional manager in Tucson. She said the group supports the Second Amendment, and many of the members are gun owners. But they believe that tougher laws must be created to protect Americans from gun violence. She said that since Congress handed the moms “lemons” by failing to pass background check legislation in April, the moms have decided to make lemonade.

Chapters across the country are hosting lemonade stands to get the word out about the cause. One of them is this Saturday at the “Historic Y” in Tucson. Strauss is expecting several local lawmakers to drop by.

Group members will also be invited to write a “recipe card” for gun legislation. They can include their “secret ingredient” for gun sense. They can also send a postcard to Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, or any of the state’s congressional leaders.

“Moms Demand Action” is pushing a six-point plan for what it calls common sense solutions for gun legislation:

1. Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases;

2. Track the sale of large quantities of ammunition, and ban online sales;

3. Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds;

4. Establish product safety oversight of guns and ammunition, and require child-safe gun technology;

5. Support policies at companies and public institutions that promote gun safety;

6. Counter the gun industry’s efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.

Strauss said that one thing the group hopes to do at Saturday’s lemonade stand event is to reassure people that it is not an anti-gun group, but that they are concerned about people’s safety.

“We all really just want to protect our children. We all really just want to protect our communities,” said Strauss. “The lemonade stand gives us a chance to be out in the community and let people know.”

Strauss said there are no current plans to hold a similar lemonade stand in Phoenix.