“There Ought to Be A Law” (produced by Anita Clearfield, Shoshanna Hoose and Geoffrey Leighton) tells the story of a Maine woman who became a gun control activist after her teenage son’s suicide. Winner of the Maine Film Academy’s 2007 Galvanizing Activist Leadership award, the hour-long film now is available for community screenings and classroom use. Ordering information and clips from the film may be found at the films official website.
Cathy Crowley, a self-described “average Mom,” worked two, full-time jobs and devoted her free time to family. Until 2004, she had never been involved in politics, or even voted.
Devastated by her 18-year-old son’s death, Crowley felt compelled to talk to the Wal-Mart salesperson who sold him the weapon that ended his life. The store manager told her that they followed the law and if she didn’t like it, she should try to change it.
So Crowley decided to do just that. She sat at her kitchen table for 10 hours and wrote to every single lawmaker in the state legislative directory. Several Maine lawmakers agreed to sponsor a bill that would require a waiting period before young people could buy guns.
The legislation, coming at a time of growing concern about Maine’s high youth suicide rate, at first seemed likely to sail through the legislature. Then the National Rifle Association mounted a behind-the-scenes effort to defeat it.
Crowley devoted every free moment to working for its passage, and she enlisted her family’s help. Shy by nature, Crowley became a savvy activist who buttonholed lawmakers, negotiated with committee chairmen and took on one of the most powerful and feared lobbying groups in the country.
Since its premiere in January, “There Ought to Be A Law” has been shown at theaters, colleges, churches and other community gathering places in connection with panel discussions. The film generates lively conversation about the legislative process, youth suicide and gun control – and encourages many to get involved in those issues.