Islanders form Moms Demand Action group

Group focuses on preventing gun violence.

Mercer Islander Gwen Loosmore’s advocacy for preventing gun violence has taken her from local meetings to the halls of justice.

Loosmore serves as the legislative advocate for the Washington State PTA and also leads the newly-formed Moms Demand Action (MDA) group for Mercer Island/Bellevue. The group, which is linked with the national Everytown for Gun Safety organization, launched into activity last October and has held a handful of local meetings with about eight to 10 advocates. Loosmore spreads the word about MDA on email with approximately 25 people who have shown interest or are involved in the group.

“For me, this provides a lot of hope. I actually believe this problem is solvable,” Loosmore said about her robust involvement in the crucial cause, which she’s heard includes 10 million volunteers nationwide through Everytown. “It’s kind of an exciting organization to be involved in.”

Everytown’s mission is ending gun violence one law, volunteer, donation, policy, statistic and survivor at a time, according to its website.

If people can’t attend the Island/Bellevue meetings, they can help run the group’s booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market or lend a hand in the legislation realm. Loosmore added that Islander Ashley Hay plays an integral role in organizing the market booth, which features free gun locks and heaps of information for community members.

Loosmore said a local PTA-based group formed a few years ago with volunteers standing up in response to the Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

“After Parkland, all anybody wanted to talk about was gun violence. That’s the point at which I got involved, trying to understand how PTA works,” Loosmore said. “One of the first times I went and testified in Olympia, I met April Schentrup, whose daughter Carmen was killed in Parkland. I’ve met a number of survivors.”

“It is everywhere,” Loosmore added about shootings at or near high schools in Seattle and West Seattle.

Keeping guns out of the hands of people — including children — who shouldn’t have them, storing guns safely and surrendering firearms to police if people don’t want them anymore are some ways to prevent gun violence, Loosmore said.

“When I see an incident in the news, I can channel that energy, that anger, that fear, that concern into work. We’re going to do this. Gun owners and non-gun owners alike, we’re going to come together, and we’re going to make our country safe,” she said.

Diane Gordon, who attends the local meetings and is ultra-active in Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, said, “We need as many people involved in this fight as possible, taking action and pressing for change.”

Michele Silbey, who is the local elections lead for Everytown for Gun Safety, added about the local MDA: “As a mom of teens living on Mercer Island, I am working with this incredible group to ensure that my children, and all of our youth in this tight-knit community, don’t have to experience the horror of gun violence during their lifetime.”

The local Moms Demand Action group is also open to advocates from neighboring cities. To contact the group, visit: