People Magazine Just Made an Unprecedented Push for Gun Control Solutions

Chris Pietsch/ZUMA


People magazine, one of the country’s largest publications, with a circulation of more than 3.5 million readers, just threw its weight behind the push for increased gun control by publishing contacts for every member of Congress, and urging their readers to lobby for action.

In an editorial on Wednesday, the magazine’s editorial director Jess Cagle explained the unprecedented decision to enter the gun debate after the latest mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.

As President Obama said, our responses to these incidents—from politicians, from the media, from nearly everyone—have become “routine.” We all ask ourselves the same questions: How could it happen again? What are we doing about gun violence in America? There are no easy answers, of course. Some argue for stricter gun laws, others say we should focus on mental health issues, some point to a culture that celebrates violence.

But this much we know: As a country we clearly aren’t doing enough, and our elected officials’ conversations about solutions usually end in political spin.

In this issue we pay tribute to the nine Oregon victims, as well as 22 other men, women and children who’ve lost their lives in mass shootings—incidents where a murderer has opened fire on a crowd—in the U.S. during the past 12 months.

The move by People is remarkable considering the magazine—a staple at every newsstand and doctor’s office in America—is traditionally associated with celebrity gossip and general human interest stories that carry little risk of being offensive or overtly political, meaning its message could reach many more Americans outside the DC echo chamber, in which action on gun violence has completely stalled.

Read People‘s entire announcement here.