More than three-quarters of a million people showed up in Washington that day, with millions more attending events in 70 other cities including Atlanta.
I interviewed a number of participants and most of the people I spoke to had lost a loved one to gun violence.
Each had a painful, poignant story to tell; a little boy accidently shot dead by his friend; a teenage girl gunned down at school; a young man caught in the cross fire of rival gangs.
Everyone there agreed America needed to rein in guns.
Then nothing happened.
That’s because the National Rifle Association, the $12 billion gun industry’s trade organization whose sole purpose is to sell as many guns as possible, threatened the political careers of lawmakers who so much as considered gun safety legislation. Cowed, congressman and senators ran for cover.
So here we are, almost 15 years later, and the bloody mayhem continues unabated. Not even the horror of 20 babies and six educators shot to pieces in Newtown, Connecticut, could snap Americans out of their lethargy.
From that awful day to this, 15,000 more people have been killed by guns. If gun deaths were a disease, they’d be classified an epidemic.
At the time of the Million Mom March, President Bill Clinton noted that until gun safety became a prominent national voting issue, until tens of millions of Americans who understand guns are a public health crisis stand up to the four million-member NRA, nothing would change.
Now Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, wants to bankroll that change. He says he will spend at least $50 million combating the NRA and do it on the NRA’s own turf, Washington, using the NRA’s legislative and grass roots playbooks.
Bloomberg has launched Everytown for Gun Safety (everytown.org) that seeks to energize and motivate grassroots voters to demand common sense gun safety legislation.
“This new organization will bring more people into the fight against gun violence, which affects every town in America,” said Bloomberg.
During his tenure as mayor, Bloomberg pushed tough gun safety measures that helped make America’s largest city safer. In 2012, just 237 firearm homicides were recorded, an all-time low in a city of 8.3 million.
Given its sordid history of smearing opponents, we can expect an all-out campaign of distortions and lies from the NRA because Bloomberg represents the first real threat to its purported omnipotence.
Like the NRA, Bloomberg knows money talks on Capitol Hill, and he intends to spend his millions on a political action committee, keeping tabs on politicians who cravenly toe the NRA line, supporting gun safety candidates, and mobilizing Main Street.
That last one will be challenging. According to Pew Research, 42 percent of those supporting the NRA are politically engaged, compared to just 24 percent of those who support gun safety laws.
Nevertheless, public sentiment seems to be on Bloomberg’s side. Fifty-two percent of Americans support stricter gun laws. On legislation like universal background checks, which the NRA supported after Columbine but now opposes, 80 to 90 percent of Americans agree.
Bloomberg may get some additional help when Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein releases his anti-NRA movie, which he promises will make those associated with the organization “wish they weren’t alive.”
Moved by the Newtown massacre, the producer behind gun-glorifying blockbusters like “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill” told CNN’s Piers Morgan he will no longer make movies in which guns play leading roles.
“I can’t continue to do that,” said Weinstein. “The change starts here.”
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.