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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 04May00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Two LDS Women Push Opposite Sites On Guns
Salt Lake Tribune 29Apr00 D6
By Judy Fahys: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Two like-minded Utah women have recently emerged on opposite sides of an issue that is the most hotly debated topic in the nation. Longtime activist Janalee Tobias and political newcomer, Rebecca Oyer have drawn weapons on opposite sides of the gun control issue. Tobias will represent a group of concerned mothers, known as the Pistol-Packin' Mamas, while Oyer is shepherding the upcoming May l4, Mother's Day Million Mom March in Utah.

Both Tobias and Oyer were raised in Utah and earned degrees from Brigham Young University. They are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are in their 30s. Each has a firm view of how society could better protect its children from guns, but differ about the best way to solve the problem.

Tobias led a rally last weekend of "Informed Armed Mothers" at the sate Capitol. Oyer will lead a "mini" Million Mom March in Utah to coincide with the national march on the U.S. Capitol Mall and marches in two dozen other cities. Oyer wants Congress to make guns less accessible to children and criminals by licensing and registering guns. "That [registration] makes everyone responsible for their guns," Oyer said. "Child-protection locks would be a nice idea, because there are so many accidental shootings with curious kids."

Tobias is a Utah mother who explains her position in opposing gun control. She sees it as well-meaning but misguided. She has founded Women Against Gun Control, now an international organization, and has appeared before Utah Legislature testifying against measures that would put limits on guns. "No one wants to be a victim, feeling helpless and defenseless," said Tobias. She sees firearms as a way to equalize the power between victim and criminal.

While attending Ricks College in Idaho, Tobias was invited to go target shooting. She later developed an appreciation for the protection guns offered when she took a self-defense course at BYU. "They [the Million Moms] don't seem to care about the protection of my family," she said. "Unless they are here to protect my family, then, yeah, I think they are anti-family."

Tobias recalled a horrific tale reported by a Pennsylvania woman at the "Informed Armed Mothers" rally last week at the State Capitol. A woman was on a car phone with 911 for a half-hour before her ex-boyfriend forced her into a fatal collision with a train. Tobias asked the crowd, "What should you do when someone's after you?" "Call 911 or get your 9mm pistol?" Most importantly, Tobias said gun-control has failed to curb violent crime and cannot stop the moral decay blamed on gun violence. Tobias plans to countermarch on the U.S. Mall when the Million Moms gather there on Mother's Day.


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