The Oscar-winning actress invoked the Newtown tragedy in the essay, opening up about bringing her then 10-year-old daughter to her film set that day in December 2012 – and the impossible task of trying to shield her from the news that a young man had gunned down 20 children and six adults.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep the news away from my daughter forever, but I didn’t want her to hear it accidentally. I figured I would tell her when we came home and her brother and father were there. I wanted to explain it and not scare her. But how was I was going to tell my young daughter that children were massacred in their classrooms? How could I explain that level of atrocity?” Moore said in the essay titled “When Gun Control Got Personal for Me.”
Despite her best efforts, her daughter discovered the news anyway, and promptly asked, “Mommy, did a bunch of little kids get shot today?”
“At that moment, it felt ridiculous to me, and irresponsible as a parent and as a citizen, that I was not doing something to prevent gun violence,” Moore wrote. “Simply keeping the news away from my child was putting my head in the sand. I wasn’t helping her, or anyone else, by doing that. So I decided to learn more.”
Moore, 55, then went on to explain that she discovered that an average of 91 people a day are killed by gun violence, and that women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in any other developed nation.
She also wrote that although most gun owners agree on common-sense safety laws, our gun murder rate is 25 times that of other developed countries “because our weak gun-safety laws allow guns to end up in the hands of dangerous people.”
“Roughly 40 percent of firearms in the United States are acquired without a background check, so criminals can obtain weapons they shouldn’t have,” she wrote. “For example, there is a huge loophole in the federal background-check law that allows abusive boyfriends and stalkers to buy a gun. Studies show that when there’s a gun in a home where domestic violence has occurred, the chance that one partner will be killed increases by 20 times.”
Later, Moore explained that she has joined Everytown for Gun Safety – praising their work to curb gun violence, in particular their work to close the background check loophole – and encouraged her colleagues to do the same.
“I went through my phone and asked everybody I knew (including the amazing Lena Dunham, who then invited me to write this piece) to join the Everytown Creative Council, a bunch of actors and artists eager to spread the word and take action against gun violence,” she wrote.
Now, she is asking even more people to join the movement.
“We need you to continue to turn the tide on gun violence,” she concluded in her essay. “And I know that we can do it together. I don’t ever want to have to explain another Newtown to my kids, and neither should you.”