The NYU branch of the Brady Campaign, an organization that advocates for legislation that will prevent gun violence in New York and around the country, kicked off what they hope to be a long and successful movement on Tuesday night.
The Brady Campaign has three main goals: encouraging legal gun owners to store guns more safely, pushing for stronger background checks nationally and stopping “bad apple gun dealers,” who are sellers that do not require background checks.
Andrew Gerst, an NYU Law student who coordinated the campaign’s first meeting, recalled his experiences teaching in public schools, which led to his dedication to the gun control movement.
“I was so fed up with the fact that teachers have to prepare for a shooting, and I was so outraged that we had to waste learning time over this epidemic of violence,” Gerst said.
Gerst decided to bring this issue to NYU and speak to other law students passionate about taking guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
The Immediate Action Plan of the Brady Campaign at NYU is to help reduce gun-related crime, gather data on 80 dealers in the New York City area and for members to call their member of Congress in support of “Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers” letter, both of which are due Sept. 22.
A flyer handed out to those interested in the Brady Campaign sends a strong warning to the gun industry.
“If you irresponsibly sell guns to criminals, you will pay or be shut down,” the Brady Campaign’s flyer reads.
The Brady Campaign is not associated with any other colleges or law schools in New York City, but Gerst believes NYU is the best place to begin this initiative.
“I came to NYU and wanted to be a public defender, my vision for law school is doing as much public interest advocacy as possible,” Gerst said. “NYU has a reputation for being a very public interest minded place, and there are a lot of law clubs devoted to public interest, but gun control was not one of them.”
Gerst is passionate about the issue of gun control and hopes to find students that share his dedication to create a safer country in which death from gun violence will be dramatically reduced. On average, over 108,000 people in the United States are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, etc. in one year alone, and those involved with introducing the Brady Campaign at NYU are determined to correct injustices associated with gun violence.
“After the Virginia shooting about two weeks ago, I read an interview with the father of one of the victims, who vowed to stop this and change the law,” Gerst said. “No one wants to talk about this issue until it happens to them.”
JoAnna Suriani, a first year NYU law student noted the intersectionality between different social issues as being one of the reasons why she became interested in the Brady Campaign.
“I’ve worked on policy issues in the past related to this, and gun control is a really interesting issue for women’s issue,” Suriani said.
While The Brady Campaign at NYU currently consists of law students only, they invite any undergraduate or graduate students interested in the gun control initiative to attend their meetings and participate in their plans to create a safer New York.
E-mail Kati Garrity at [email protected]