Mark Carman received quite a bit of Facebook and YouTube attention after his October 3rd video went viral in which he displays his semi-automatic Ruger while talking about lax gun regulations in the U.S. No, he didn’t make the cold cash musician Psy banked after “Gangname Style”; Mr. Carman scored one better. Carman’s been invited to the White House on November 16th and 17th to meet one-on-one with Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, and to address members of Congress and the Senate on the issue of gun violence.
It’s been a real “slap to action” month for Mark Carman, who describes himself as “Just a guy.” When his personal Facebook exploded, blasting him with shrapnel generated by the social media machine, Carman confesses he didn’t know what to do with all the posts. So he just started answering them. Carman’s essential message that “We’ve got a problem” with gun ownership laws hit people hard on the heels of the October 1st Umpqua Community College mass shooting in Oregon.
Within days of the viral video, Carman discovered his promise to “make some noise” had been heard by responsible gun owners (RGOs) like himself and non-gun owners (NGOs) alike. Volunteers emerged with perspectives as unique as the parts of the country from which they responded, but all unified under one objective: To reduce gun violence in America.
With Carman at the helm, a distributed volunteer team brainstormed a name for this newly birthed grassroots organization — ACRGO (American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership).
FAST steps: A font and graphic design for the ACRGO logo, an ACRGO dedicated Facebook to relieve the burden on Mark Carman’s personal page, an ACRGO website putting forth an official Mission Statement elaborated with five purpose points, a collection of factual resources on firearms made accessible to the public, and countless volunteers monitoring and moderating discussions on Facebook to uphold the main value criterion of legitimate debate: Civil Discourse not Civil Discord.
By October 14th, Mark Carman had completed the paperwork necessary to receive an official document from the Commonwealth of Virginia certifying ACRGO as an LLC (Limited Liability Company). Mark Carman, sponsored by MoveOn Civic Action, wrote and circulated a Petition addressed to President Obama stating that signers of the Petition support the President in stopping illegal gun sales. The Petition urges President Obama to “close the loophole that allows criminals to buy guns without background checks…” The first step of a multi-step legislative proposal Carman believes will keep gun-owners and non-gun owners equally satisfied.
Mark Carman’s video, supporters, and petition got the ear of the White House, where Carman will be speaking under the one-month-old banner of ACRGO on November 16th and 17th, representing a true coalition of gun-owners and non-gun owners who are mobilized and ready to use the democratic practice of civil discourse and legislation to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.