Spurred into action by the recent tragedy in Highland Park, Winnetka resident Kitty Brandtner has created March Fourth with the singular goal of successfully banning assault weapons—right now.
Winnetka resident Kitty Brandtner was celebrating the Fourth of July with her three children (all of whom are under 5 years old) when tragedy struck in nearby Highland Park. The 35-year-old had a realization: “I couldn’t live with this as our reality anymore. … My wheels started turning.” The result? March Fourth, an organization designed to channel fear and anger from tragedy into fighting for a federal assault weapons ban. As Brandtner and volunteers across the country continue their mission, NS caught up with the organization founder to talk about where things stand, and what comes next.
March Fourth founder Kitty Brandtner
What inspired you to step up and take action?
Sandy Hook gutted me, and I didn’t have kids at the time. Uvalde sidelined me emotionally and I became fearful of sending my oldest to kindergarten. Highland Park is 10 minutes away—it finally hit home. I posted on Instagram asking if anyone wanted to join me in D.C. where we would stand and scream at the top of our lungs that we want to ban assault weapons until lawmakers listen. As more of us joined together with March Fourth to create this rally in D.C., in less than a week, I realized I wasn’t the only one who had had enough.
What have been March Fourth’s greatest successes so far?
Uniting an incredible group of over 80 volunteers running an organization with one mission: to federally ban assault weapons right now. The House dusted off a bill (H.R. 1808) after a year and a half of inaction just one week after our march. Two weeks after our march, it was passed through the House. We united families from Highland Park and Uvalde, Texas— two communities on opposite sides of the country who would’ve never met and are now bonded through horrific tragedy, but now also in purposeful action. It’s incredible what determination can accomplish.
What are the biggest challenges March Fourth is facing?
The only thing between America and a federal ban on assault weapons is the U.S. Senate. The House passed the bill, and the president will sign the bill. Senators need to hear that we are united as Americans on this issue—and that it is politically safe for them to vote yes on S.736 (federal AWB). … We will be loud and we will not stop until this is passed.
Where do you see the organization in 2023?
Optimistically, we will have a federal ban on assault weapons in 2022. Next, I’d love to mirror New Zealand’s highly successful voluntary ‘buyback’ program around assault weapons in 2023.
How can people help?
Donate. And follow us on social media for updates and to share our important calls to action with your friends and family.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY O HELLO MEDIA; PHOTO BY: CATHERINE MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY