A mother of a march

Dana Bartimus’ mild-mannered appearance belies her fury. The smell of her perfume matches her brand-name shirt and diamond-studded earrings, which combine to give more of an impression of a Johnson County shopper than an anti-gun-violence activist. Either way, Bartimus is a mother who, concerned about her children, is organizing a Kansas City rally in support of the Million Mom March, taking place on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Mother’s Day. (Kansas City’s rally will take place Saturday, May 13.)

The problem of gun violence became a concern for Bartimus after living in London with her husband and three children. “In London,” she says, “I never had to worry about my children. They traveled with tons of different kinds of children to various places without any hint of violence. I never was afraid to send them anywhere. I always felt comfortable knowing that wherever they were, they would be safe.” But when Bartimus and her family returned to the States, she realized that she had taken that comfort for granted. She now feared that her children could be injured or even killed as a result of gun violence simply by leaving the house.

When she speaks of her concerns, she is adamant about where she stands. Bartimus and other mom marchers want the public to understand that their intention is not to take away guns but to protect children. “This issue is not, I repeat, not about banning people from using or having weapons,” she says. “This is about some people who are irresponsible gun owners. Individuals do have the right to bear arms. They don’t have the right to endanger the lives of our children.”

Bartimus says the march is intended to urge lawmakers to place additional requirements on gun owners, such as “cooling-off periods and background checks, safety locks for all handguns, limiting handgun purchases to once a month, no-nonsense enforcement of gun laws, and, last but not least, help from corporate America” in helping the Million Mom March effort by advertising its message.

Actual gun-safety legislation may be a shot in the dark, but women in Kansas City and around the country are giving it a mother of a try.

In conjunction with Washington, D.C.’s effort, Kansas City will hold its own Million Mom March Saturday, May 13, at 11 a.m. at Mill Creek Park, 47th and J.C. Nichols Parkway on the Country Club Plaza. For more information, call 913-491-1206.