Kids will lead on gun reform when lawmakers won’t
As we look at video and photos of the hundreds of thousands of students who walked out of class to fight for gun reform, we can be thankful that they’re not afraid to step up.
Hundreds of students at our local suburban school in Illinois, Oak Park and River Forest High School, joined with others around the country to remind elected officials that the rules have changed. No longer will the issue of gun safety fade away after a mass shooting.
Because the kids aren’t going to let that happen.
The National Rifle Association, Donald Trump, and Republican lawmakers still think they can just wait it out until the country’s attention turns to the latest Trump scandal. But the game has changed. These kids and their protests are going to be in their faces. Especially on Election Day, when those who have turned 18 make their way to the polls for the first time.
Many of the students, including the adult onlookers, were dressed in orange, the color that has come to symbolize the gun control campaign. This was a silent march and protest. Instead of chants, students marched in the street while adults faced them from the sidewalk, many holding signs simply saying, “Thank you.”
Many students carried signs. Some signs listed the names of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, with the admonition, “It ends now.”
Many of the signs simply pleaded their case:
- No more devastation, because I want an education.
- It could have been us.
- Give us a shot with life, not bullets.
- Books, not bullets.
- Schools, not war zones.
- We march because they can’t.
- Protect people over guns.
- Congress: Protect children.
- How many deaths will it take?
- Ask yourself: Do you need that gun?
- Teachers are teachers, not security.
- Fear has no place in school.
- Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.
- We are the future.
We know Congress won’t do anything right now, given its current makeup. And while some states are passing laws, it’s only a first step.
Multiple polls show that vast and growing majorities of Americans favor common-sense gun safety measures, such as universal background checks for all gun sales (even private ones), a ban on assault-style weapons, a ban on bump stocks, three-day waiting periods to buy weapons, prevention of sales of firearms to people who have been convicted of violent misdemeanors, restrictions on gun purchases by those who have been reported to law enforcement as being a threat to themselves or others, expanding treatment and screening of the mentally ill, and limits on the size of ammunition magazine clips, and the creation of a national database on gun sales.
Lawmakers on the wrong side of the gun safety issue are going to get a big wake-up call come November.
One couple brought their granddaughter, knowing how frightening the future might be. Let’s follow this toddler’s advice and flex our electoral muscles over gun reform.