You may have already seen a bunch of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs with new avatars on Twitter this morning.
Today, a campaign called Demand A Plan launched to encourage the government to make changes to gun laws. It was sparked by the Sandy Hook shooting; it’s supported by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and more than 750 other mayors against illegal guns. The group also boasts 750,000 grassroots supporters.
“Many leaders in the Internet/tech industry have been working with Demand A Plan over the past few days to kick off a large and sustained social media and regular media campaign to pressure our leaders to do something about the gun safety problem in our country,” Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson writes on A VC.
The group says it wants a “common sense legislation” passed that will do three things:
- Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
- Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw purchasers”
Bloomberg has been particularly vocal about the need to minimize gun violence. He spoke about it Sunday night on “Meet the Press,” and at a press conference following the Newtown tragedy he said, “If this moment passes into memory without action from Washington, it will be a stain upon our nation’s commitment to protecting the innocent, including our children.”
Demand A Plan is a lot like the “STOP SOPA” movement the tech community created, when influential investors and founders blacked out their Twitter avatars until the online piracy bills were dropped.
There are three main components of the Demand A Plan initiative. There’s a full-page ad in the New York Times. There’s also a viral social media campaign tied to Demand A Plan, which includes the ability to change your Twitter avatar to a yellow strip that reads ‘Demand A Plan.”
Ken Lerer, co-founder of The Huffington Post, SV Angel’s Ron Conway, and Eric Hippeau, former CEO of The Huffington Post, all played a heavy hand in today’s movement.
I demand a plan for gun control – do you? avc.com/a_vc/2012/12/d…
— David Tisch (@davetisch) December 19, 2012
— David Lee (@davidlee) December 19, 2012
— Manoush Zomorodi (@Manoushz) December 19, 2012