Gun Control Leader to Campaign After March

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

Washington ( - Million Mom March organizer Donna Dees-Thomases indicated Friday that her group would transform itself into an overt political organization after Sunday's rally, endorsing candidates and campaigning against pro-Second Amendment incumbents.

"Right now, we're trying to be non-partisan, but it's very hard," said Dees-Thomases. "But on May 15th, the oven mitts come off and we're going to take a hard look at the [presidential] candidates."

Dees-Thomases said the group would likely become a 501(c)4 organization, the designation for political action committees and other partisan groups.

Dees-Thomases indicated that pro-Second Amendment groups such as the National Rifle Association had dominated the gun debate for too long, and said there has been "no grass-roots movement trying to prevent gun violence in this country."

She had strong words for the NRA, calling it a "terrifying" organization and accusing the group of trying to recruit students with its "Eddie the Eagle" program, which teaches gun safety in schools.

"Like the tobacco industry, they want to get our kids hooked on guns," said Dees-Thomases.

Dees-Thomases added that she has had "trouble restraining some mothers" who are angry at NRA spokesperson Charlton Heston.

She also indicated that while speakers at Sunday's rally had been directed to "stay on message," she would not prohibit "Bush-bashing" directed at presumptive Republican presidential nominee George W Bush.

Marchers are demanding what they call "common sense gun laws," which includes licensing and registration of all handguns, mandatory gun safety training, trigger locks, background checks, monthly limits on gun purchases, and waiting periods.

"The NRA says that we should enforce existing gun laws," Dees-Thomases said. "But those laws are useless without policies such as registration and licensing in place."

Million Mom March literature calls the Second Amendment "irrelevant" in calling for public safety regulations such as registration.

Dees-Thomases, who has said she has never organized anything "more complicated than a carpool," deflected suggestions that she is a longtime pro-Clinton activist. Dees-Thomases is related to Susan Thomases, a confidante of First Lady Hillary Clinton.

She has also worked for former Democratic Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, as a public relations firm executive, and a consultant for The David Letterman Show on CBS.

Predictions of attendance on Sunday have ranged from 150,000 to 250,000.

A spokesperson for the NRA declined to comment on Dees-Thomases's statements when contacted by