This is Day 6 in our 12 Days of Action . We are so glad to have you as an active member of our extended community. The ENOUGH Campaign is posting daily actions for you to make a difference in ending gun violence. ​
Take Action: Write an Op-Ed!
Prevent gun violence by shaping the conversation
Opinions matter. People are influenced by what they read in the news, see on social media, hear in conversation, and watch on TV. There are public relations teams entirely dedicated to framing opinions - in everything from the corporate gun lobby, to the beauty industry to even the Vatican. Whoever controls the conversation shapes the world.

Every individual has a stake in the greater conversation. But for regular folks like us, we tend to have much smaller platforms. That's why opinion pages and social media can be so valuable. These platforms can magnify our voices and carry our message to the masses.

Framing the conversation

After the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, there was a startling increase in mass shootings, jumping to over 200 percent. Following the law's expiration (which the NRA had successfully lobbied for during the law's crafting, by which they inserted a sunset clause), the NRA was now free to promote the manufacturing and selling of the deadly military-style weapons. Their public relations team aggressively doubled down on their communications strategy, crafting talking points to support their mission and their bottom line. They successfully disseminated their argument and drafted NRA members and pro-gun activists to lobby their lawmakers and to spread their opinion through op-eds, letters to the editor, advertising, and more.

What do you know, why does it matter, and how can you use it to change the world?

It's up to you to tip the story in favor of gun safety by setting the record straight. Research databases like the Gun Violence Archive and examine scientific articles from groups like Harvard Injury Control Research Center to support your opinions. Read up on scientifically proven fact-based talking points from trusted gun violence prevention organizations like Giffords Law Center, Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety.

Your opinion should be timely, tap into the urgency of a specific subject, and be persuasive.

Where to Begin

Your op-ed should address 3 key questions: Who am I writing for? (Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action). Here are some simple points to remember when writing your op-ed:

  • Get right into the subject. Make your position clear from the beginning.
  • Keep your sentences short, and don't try to make too many arguments in one article.
  • Be sure that all names are correct and all quotations are accurate.
  • Be sure to end your article with a forceful conclusion.

See: How to Write an Op-Ed below.
Local Editorial Contacts to Get You Started
Remember to always first check the media outlet's op-ed submissions policy. When sending in your op-ed or letter to the editor, include your name, address, and phone number for verification; only the name and town will be published. This is not a comprehensive list and we encourage you to look up your local media outlets and send them your op-ed.

The Connecticut Mirror 
Editor Paul Stern

Hartford Courant

Connecticut Post

Stamford Advocate 
Editorial Page Editor John Breunig 
How to Write an Op-Ed
Boston Globe Opinion Page Editor Margorie Pritchard offers an op-ed guide:
Argue. An op-ed piece is like a legal brief. Forget objectivity; put forward your opinion in a persuasive, argumentative manner. Know your thesis. It doesn't have to be complicated, but if you can't sum up your argument in one sentence, think about it
more before you sit down to write.

Be informal. Write as you would explain your argument to a friend. An essay can - and should be - like everyday speech. Keep it short and simple. State your opinion clearly and quickly, back it up with facts and examples, and be done with it. Anything longer than 700 words can probably be said more succinctly. Many editors lack space for anything more than 700 words. Your opinion piece may be well-argued, but if it's too long, editors won't even consider it.

Think about structure. Aside from length, there are no hard-and-fast rules. While certain topics can be handled casually, even fancifully, others benefit from a well-ordered design. Here is a basic format often used for an opinion essay:

  • Lead paragraph. Your first sentence should grab people, otherwise they won't read on. Start with a concrete image or example that sums up what you are saying, then get to your thesis and state it. ("Bob Brokaw didn't know it when he started smoking as a teen-ager that he'd be dying at the age of 50 of lung cancer.")

  • Concessions and support. Now that you've made your point, back it up. Before you give evidence, you might want to provide background ("Cigarettes are long paper tubes...") and/or concede certain points ("Granted, cigarettes made Humphrey Bogart appear suave and sophisticated..."). Then, in successive paragraphs, state the remaining tenets of your argument.

  • Conclusions. In the concluding paragraph, take things one step further. ("It's high time Congress stubbed out subsidies for tobacco growers and outlawed all forms of tobacco advertising.") Make your last sentence, like your first, a "kicker." You can come back to your lead example ("If it had only happened sooner, Bob might not be in an iron lung today") or not, but don't just fade away. Finish with a bang, not a whimper. Make it memorable. 

Sample Op-Eds
Change the Conversation,
Change the World.
Sign this petition to the FCC and Congress in support of Net Neutrality.

The internet should be equally accessible to everyone. The ability to organize grassroots movements, whether locally or across the globe, is made possible by an open Internet. Without Net Neutrality, internet service providers can choose what you see online, favoring some sources or blocking others. And online searches will tip in favor of advertisers and corporations, not individuals, non-profits, or grassroots civic action groups.

Each of us have the right to frame the conversation in the way we see fit. Peer-edited websites like the popular non-profit Wikipedia will be harder to access without a neutral internet. If we lose Net Neutrality, we lose the very right to voice our opinions, we lose balance on subjective arguments, and groups with whom we share values will be hidden and harder to seek out.

Please sign this petition and tell the FCC and Congress that without an internet that is equally accessible to everyone regardless of income or geography, people everywhere will not have the tools they need to make their voices heard.

And then after you sign this petition, write and submit an op-ed about it.
Take Action
Sign up here to be a part of the 12 Days of Action event and get 12 alerts daily, starting 12/14 and ending 12/25. The action alerts will also be posted on and on Twitter @EnoughCampaign1 .
Join the conversation:
The mission of The ENOUGH Campaign is to protect our families and our country as we advocate for more public awareness on the issues of gun violence prevention in America. Through legislative advocacy and community education, we champion stronger gun laws and aim to transform public perceptions of gun safety.
The ENOUGH Campaign is a proud member of the Newtown Action Alliance