Thomas Prescott, chair of the Gun Owners Caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party speaks at the Dems and Donuts meeting Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Biscuits in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Allison Hurtado

The monthly meeting of Democrats and Donuts, hosted by LD 18 Democrats, featured guest speaker Mary Berg on Wednesday morning at Biscuits in Ahwatukee.

Marie Colangelo began the meeting and introduced Berg with the Phoenix Chapter of Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group formed after the Newtown massacre. The goal of the organization is to demand action nationally from the government to reduce the threat of gun violence.

“There may be parts of our mission you agree with and parts of our mission you disagree with, but hopefully we can at least agree we have a problem in this country,” Berg said, citing political contributions by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as the chief problem in getting legislation passed.

“Our own Sen. Jeff Flake received 361,000 from the NRA,” Berg said. “Even Justice Aton Scalia said, ‘The Second Amendment is not absolute.’”

Berg also spoke on the unaccountability of the gun industry. The Protection of Lawful Commerce Act in 2005 that was lobbied for by the NRA prevents firearms manufacturers from being held liable for negligence. The law creates a system where gun manufacturers don’t need to fear lawsuits, and thus not comply with ethical standards for the industry, according to Berg.

“They simply don’t have to if they can’t be sued.”

Berg went on to criticize the Grassley-Cruz amendment that, “ultimately would have cut funding for the background check system.”

Bypassing background checks through private sales are a top priority for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America because they allow the free flow of arms through communities.

“The act of a private sale avoids a background check,” Berg said.

In the face of the nation’s tragedies Berg said, “This has to stop. We have to make it stop. America is better than this.”

• Matt Covert is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.

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