People Magazine Just Made an Unprecedented Push for Gun Control Solutions

Chris Pietsch/ZUMA

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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.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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