MARK GLAZE, widely considered a founding figure in the modern gun-control movement, was born on this date (d: 2021);

Mr. Glaze was already a veteran political organizer in January 2011 when he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization that was founded by Michael R. Bloomberg and more than a dozen other mayors. He worked for the organization part time, as a consultant on loan from the Raben Group, a public affairs firm.

Gun violence was at the time one of those issues that Washington insiders compared to the weather: something everyone talked about but no one did anything to change. The National Rifle Association controlled the topic, cajoling even moderate Democrats to oppose any effort to regulate firearms.

A decade later, gun violence is a winning issue for many state and local governments, the N.R.A. is in tatters and Congress is increasingly willing to stand up for gun safety — a drastic shift that many attribute to Mr. Glaze’s tireless organizing and brilliant strategizing.

The changes happened over several years amid a series of high-profile mass shootings. It started a few days after Mr. Glaze joined the organization, when a gunman shot nineteen people in a parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, killing six and injuring thirteen, including Representative Gabby Giffords.

Then, on December 14, 2012, a gunman killed 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Newtown was a tragedy, but as Mr. Glaze immediately recognized, it was also an opportunity for action. So did the White House: President Barack Obama promised to put his full influence into passing substantial gun-control legislation.

By April, even a watered-down measure to improve background checks failed to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to beat a filibuster.

It was a stinging defeat for Mr. Obama and the gun control movement, but Mr. Glaze saw a silver lining. He understood what had to be done: He had to beat the N.R.A. at its own game. 

He resigned from the Raben Group to work full time for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He hired dozens of staff members and more than doubled the number of mayors endorsing the organization. He rallied local activists and put pressure on purple- and red-state Democrats, who are often the most responsive to N.R.A. pressure. And he made himself a face of the movement, going on television talk shows and speaking to any reporter who would listen.

By the time of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, in which a gunman killed seventeen people and injured 17 others, the landscape had fundamentally shifted. The issue moved into the streets, with protests and boycotts of companies that dealt with the N.R.A., as well as civil lawsuits that left the gun lobby reeling.

Although Mr. Glaze never claimed credit, other activists said that shift would not have happened without him.
Glaze struggled with addiction and depression. In October 2021, Glaze was being held at Lackawanna County Prison after his arrest on September 9th for fleeing the scene of a car accident in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. Police charged him with DUI, accidents involving deaths or personal injury, abandoning a vehicle on the highway, and careless driving. He committed suicide while in custody.