Any progress on the issue of commonsense gun laws seems futile, especially after the lack of change in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, an incident in which primary school children and their teachers were slain in their school.
After little to no change on the federal level was taken and countless others have been shot since (the count is 438, out of which 138 have died) in school shootings, it looked like nothing could stop America’s insane gun laws.
Then the tragedy in Parkland happened. Florida is the home of the deadliest mass shooting in the country, when a gunman opened fire in Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Now it is the home of a devastating high school shooting, with 17 shot dead by a former student with an AR15.
This student was known by the FBI as a possible threat. He was expelled from the school. He had racist ideals and was violent toward his ex-girlfriend’s new partner.
Everyone thought that the same motions would play out; any calls for gun control would be drowned out by trolls from the National Rifle Association (NRA) calling for meaningless thoughts and prayers.
But this one was different. The survivors immediately spoke up. They immediately said that they were sick of this fear that had come to realisation right before their eyes in their place of education on a day of love.
They knew why this event had occurred, and, as senior of Stoneman Douglas High School Emma Gonzalez put it, they were sick of the “BS” being toted by politicians in the pocket of the NRA.
Historically, in the US at least, student activism has brought about great change. The Civil Rights Movement was strengthened by the voices and action of the students who joined in protests and went to the South to register voters. It worked in the US then, and it can work now.
But these students, many of whom will not be able to vote in the upcoming primary elections, will have to overcome one of the largest lobbying organisations in the US. The NRA is the modern age’s big tobacco, except they have had the clever idea of preventing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from conducting research on guns. This can be seen by their response to a study funded by the CDC in 1993, where the NRA then lobbied Congress to shut down the division of the CDC that studied gun violence.
Most Americans do agree that there needs to be common sense gun regulation and control. However, the NRA does not want these limitations simply so they can sell their products to gun owners and members, and maintain control over politicians.
The best way to circumvent them is to vote out anyone with an A rating from the NRA. Voting out anyone who will not stand up to the NRA can be difficult, as many Republicans will not dare to stand up to their party or the NRA in favor of safer gun regulations.
Therefore, a major overhaul must be made, starting with the primary elections coming up in November. Guns are seemingly a part of American culture, but they also represent a lot of what is worst about America. They are dangerous: too readily used without proper thought, they can be too easy to purchase by those that should not have them, and they are disproportionately aimed at minorities.
America has a lot of work to do, but the good thing is that our youth seem to know exactly what needs to be done. They are all grown up, ready to vote.
Image: Joshlopezphoto via Flickr