Local grandmothers join campaign against gun violence

08/04/2013 10:07 PM

08/04/2013 10:07 PM

For one grandmother, everything began with acceptance.

Her love alone would never erase what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She was deeply shaken, although her grandson survived, hidden in a closet.

Soon, she linked with another grandmother. Then another joined them, and another, each hopeful that their diligence might bring sensible answers to curb gun violence without undercutting the Second Amendment.

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence

was the result.


previous column

spoke to that first grandmother’s commitment. Since it appeared, here and in newspapers across the country, people have stepped forward wanting to start their own chapters.

One is forming in the Kansas City area. The effort is being led by Susan Blaney of Prairie Village and Judy Sherry of Kansas City.

Between them, they have eight grandchildren. Like the ladies behind the original effort in Massachusetts, these two share an abundance of energy and motivation. They’ve set up an email account at


for others who are interested in joining them.

Blaney retired last year after a career as an administrative judge for the Social Security Administration. For her, the Newtown shootings of 20 children and six adults were the final straw.

Her daughter graduated from the University of Arizona and knew the aide who was shot dead when another gunman tried to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Blaney’s sister lives in Denver, so the mass shootings at Columbine and Aurora felt close as well.

For Sherry, the new chapter will dovetail with her efforts to promote moderates in politics. “Moderates will help people realize that we are not going door-to-door to take away your guns,” she said. “But yet we have to have some controls.”

She has a background in advertising, an obvious plus for a new group.

As interest grows, the founders are drafting a mission statement and other guidelines for the new chapters. They advocate addressing gun violence as a public health issue, wishing to remain nonpartisan, not funding candidates.

In a note, they reiterated, “We have chosen our path and are comfortable with more parties at the table working together rather than an ‘us against them’ path.”

It’s a wise start. And not surprising given that theirs is a movement begun by family love.


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