Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 7, 2013

Leland woman leads 'Moms' gun campaign

BY LORAINE ANDERSON landerson@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — LELAND — Janine Fierberg is in the thick of Michigan’s Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense national campaign this week, an effort to pressure Congress to pass stronger gun laws.

So is her 75-year-old father.

Fierberg, of Leland, grew up just down the road from Newtown, Conn. and leads the northern Michigan-Traverse City Moms Demand Action chapter. She volunteered for the task and plans to attend an April 13 rally at the Michigan Capitol.

Fierberg’s father, James Alexander, is a lifelong Connecticut resident, hunter and shooting enthusiast who served eight years in the Marines. He resigned from his Connecticut gun club after receiving a membership renewal notice that required National Rifle Association membership. The notice came on the same day Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother and then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 first graders and six adult staff members.

Alexander’s resignation letter is posted on the national Moms Demand Action Facebook page. In part, it reads:

“I can no longer abide by the NRA’s uncompromising position regarding any reasonable gun control measures and can no longer support the association despite what other good they may do in promoting hunting and gun sports.”

Fierberg said she is proud of her dad and his position on the NRA.

She’s long supported gun control, but that doesn’t make her anti-gun or anti-hunting. She said she knows many hunters who support sensible gun use and who think assault guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines should be regulated.

“There is no right to the ability to create carnage,” she said.

Fierberg believes the Second Amendment right for citizens to bear arms can be regulated to protect civilians from criminal activity with war zone weapons that have been adapted for civilian use. She is a former attorney who retired several years ago to become a stay-at-home mom and raise two daughters, now 16 and 18, with her husband, Doug. They live on a small hobby horse farm in Leelanau County.

She has more than one link to Newtown and mass violence. Her brother, his wife and their three middle school children live there now. Doug, also an attorney, specializes in representing victims of campus crimes. He and his partner represented the majority of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting victims and/or families of victims.

Mom’s Demand Action was founded on Dec. 14 by Shannon Watts, an Indiana mother of five and former communications executive. She started a Facebook page called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The group has since become a nonprofit organization with tens of thousands of members and more than 80 local chapters across the country. Watts’ goal is for Moms Demand Action to become the Mothers Against Drunk Driving of safe gun laws.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Fierberg said of the Moms Demand Action effort.

Mom’s Demand Action wants stronger national and state gun laws on five action items:

- Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds;

- Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases;

- Report the sale of large quantities of ammunition to the ATF, and ban online sales of ammunition;

- Make gun trafficking a federal crime with serious criminal penalties;

- Counter gun industry lobbyists’ efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.

The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners announced a peaceful counter-protest the same day and place as the Moms Demand Action effort.