UPDATED with an interview with Alyssa Milano
A new coalition of celebrities and activists, including actress Alyssa Milano and Parkland High School student advocate David Hogg, announced plans today to take on the National Rifle Association and the politicians who accept money from the powerful gun lobby.
The NoRA Initiative (short for No Rifle Association) put the NRA on notice in a letter to Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre enumerating the organization’s efforts to combat tougher gun regulations following mass shootings.
“We’re going to shine a bright light on what you and your organization do to America. We’re going to make sure the whole world sees your bloody hands,” the NoRA initiative wrote. “We’re coming for your money. We’re coming for your puppets.”
The campaign was announced to coincide with the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher in one of the deadliest episodes of school violence.
Milano said the coalition was conceived on Feb. 15, the day after the Parkland shootings. She began reaching out to her circle of friends, many of whom are activists, to work together to combat gun violence and the influence of the NRA.
“It was a plea, ‘Can we please do something about this?” Milano said. “We’re smart people. We can figure this out.”
Milano said some 50 people are working on the NoRA initiative, which is dedicated to shining a light on the NRA’s stranglehold over the government and move influence the national conversation around gun violence.
“So, we chip away at this,” Milano said. “Until we can really change this narrative by hacking the gun violence culture, nothing is going to change.”
The coalition’s members include several who were outspoken in the #MeToo movement confronting sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood, such as Ashley Judd and Debra Messing, and other prominent activists, artists, writers and celebrities: Alec Baldwin, W. Kamau Bell, Don Cheadle, Minnie Driver, Jimmy Kimmel, Julianne Moore, Patton Oswalt, Jason Ritter and Amy Schumer.
Milano was among a handful of celebrities pressuring Amazon to drop the National Rifle Association’s online video channel NRATV from its streaming service in a campaign to mute the lobbying group’s influence.
NoRA pledged to work to register and mobilize voters to reject NRA-backed candidates and to raise money for organizations that share its vision for freedom from gun violence.
An audit conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals the size of the challenge. The NRA poured unprecedented amounts of money into efforts to deliver Donald Trump the White House and help Republicans hold on to both houses of Congress. Expenditures in 2016 totaled more than $419 million, according to OpenSecrets.org.
“Today we lift the voices of the children who died because you refused to allow your puppets to vote for mandatory safe storage, trigger locks, assault-weapons-bans, or other common-sense devices and protections,” the letter to LaPierre notes. “Today we speak for the majority of Americans who correctly say your policies are bad for our nation.
We see you. And we’re going to make sure everyone else does, too.”