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Mothers to serve lemonade nationwide 'because Congress handed us lemons'

After the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., happened on December 14th, mothers across the country decided to take action.

"We all became accidental activists," said Jocelyn Strauss. "We just felt it was time to do something."

So they formed the group "Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America." The group now has 100,000 members, including about 800 in Phoenix.

Strauss is the group's regional manager in Tucson. She said the group supports the Second Amendment, and many of the members are gun owners. But they believe that tougher laws must be created to protect Americans from gun violence. She said that since Congress handed the moms "lemons" by failing to pass background check legislation in April, the moms have decided to make lemonade.

Chapters across the country are hosting lemonade stands to get the word out about the cause. One of them is this Saturday at the "Historic Y" in Tucson. Strauss is expecting several local lawmakers to drop by.

Group members will also be invited to write a "recipe card" for gun legislation. They can include their "secret ingredient" for gun sense. They can also send a postcard to Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, or any of the state's congressional leaders.

"Moms Demand Action" is pushing a six-point plan for what it calls common sense solutions for gun legislation:

1. Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases;

2. Track the sale of large quantities of ammunition, and ban online sales;

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

4. Establish product safety oversight of guns and ammunition, and require child-safe gun technology;

5. Support policies at companies and public institutions that promote gun safety;

6. Counter the gun industry's efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.

Strauss said that one thing the group hopes to do at Saturday's lemonade stand event is to reassure people that it is not an anti-gun group, but that they are concerned about people's safety.

"We all really just want to protect our children. We all really just want to protect our communities," said Strauss. "The lemonade stand gives us a chance to be out in the community and let people know."

Strauss said there are no current plans to hold a similar lemonade stand in Phoenix.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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