Julianne Moore Launches Gun Safety Campaign: 'This Is My Responsibility As a Parent'

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, "I just thought, 'I've got to do something,'" the Oscar-winner tells PEOPLE

Like many parents, Oscar-winner Julianne Moore was deeply affected by the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.

“I remember my daughter [Liv, 12] came to work with me that day. I was doing a movie in Queens and when we got into the van, I actually said to the driver, ‘Turn the radio off,'” Moore tells PEOPLE. “She was young so the whole day, I kept the TV and the radio off.”

That night back at home, Moore, 54, and her daughter were decorating the family’s Christmas tree. “She had her phone with her and she said, ‘Mommy, did some kids get shot?'” recalls the actress, who also has a 17-year-old son, Caleb. “I was like, ‘I’ve had it.’ I said to my husband, [director Bart Freundlich], ‘I’ve got to do something. This is the one thing that I need to say something about. This is my responsibility as a parent.”

Joining forces with Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the U.S., Moore is now launching the Everytown Creative Council, which includes members of the creative community who support gun violence prevention.

“As actors, we are citizens first so we believe in the Constitution and the Second Amendment,” Moore says. “But 92 percent of the people in the United States are in favor of background checks, too, so I don’t feel like I’m in the minority. I definitely feel like I’m in the majority here.”

The actress equates gun safety with strives that have been made in the automobile industry as well. “For cars, you have to have training and you have to have a license, and you wear seat belts and we have airbags and we have all of these things in place that have reduced fatalities unbelievably,” Moore says. “And it was a totally unregulated industry at first. I feel like something that is very sensible and straight forward can be done also with guns.”

Moore hopes the Council will ultimately help create more awareness for change. “Call your state legislator, lobby for it in your own community. Talk about it culturally, too, there are plenty of gun owners who are interested in safety,” she says.

“I know people who own guns who have a gun safe because they have children in their house. These are responsible people. By talking about it, we can admit it’s a problem and we can admit that we want to work together to solve it.”

To date, 79 celebrities including Steve Carrell, Reese Witherspoon and Ellen DeGeneres have already joined the Council and the list continues to grow. “I was going through my address book alphabetically. That’s all I did. ‘Please, are you interested,’ and the response has been overwhelming. I’m so, so thrilled. Everybody feels this way about this issue,” Moore adds. “I feel like with gun safety, there have been many people who feel threatened by saying something but I don’t think I’m saying anything that’s unreasonable. With all of these rights that we have in our Constitution come a great deal of responsibility, and I think the founding fathers would agree with me.”

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