June 16, 2013
No Father's Day Campaign Attacks Gun Violence

No Father's Day cards are being used in a campaign to ask Congress to support legislation that "creates universal background checks, ends gun trafficking and keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people." The affecting cards are meant to remind legislators of the real human costs of gun violence.

I have posted one of the cards here. To see them all or to participate in the campaign, you should visit the No Father's Day website.

Each card pictures a scene of someone who can no longer celebrate Father's Day because of a gun tragedy. In some cards, a father is left without a child. In others, the child is left without a father.

Neil Heslin, a father who lost his 6-year-old son in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, is the public face of the campaign. His only child Jesse was one of the 20 first graders who were gunned down in the Newtown, Connecticut slayings in December.

His own parents are deceased, and the divorced father has been left without a family. He said:

"It's very difficult to be coming upon [Father's Day] by myself...You're never going to be able to stop all gun violence. But any step we can take to prevent it is worth it...I don't know how anyone can look at the pictures of those kids who lost their lives and not say that something has to happen."

A measure to expand background checks on gun buyers was narrowly defeated in April. However, the family members of those affected by the Sandy Hook shooting and other gun tragedies aren't willing to give up.

His partner in the No Father's Day campaign is Rev. Samuel Saylor. The Hartford, Connecticut man lost his 20-year-old son in a different shooting in October.

When Heslin testified in front of Congress in February, he wept as he asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to ban assault weapons like the ones Adam Lanza used in the attack on the school.

For people frustrated by the lack of action from Congress since Newtown, the No Father's Day cards may be one way to send a message.

[card image by No Father's Day]