How are young people leading the charge for US gun reform?
We examine how activism is changing the conversation on weapons safety in the wake of the Parkland school killings.
A new surge of youth-led activism seeking US gun reform is swiftly drawing supporters and rattling the establishment.
Students who took cover during a deadly gun attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14 are urging swift and effective changes to the law under the banner ‘Never Again’, using both social media and traditional media outlets to advance their message. They’ve held sit-ins at Florida’s state capital, demanded action from US members of Congress on live television, and inspired protests by thousands of students across the country who are fed up with active shooter drills and ‘code red’ alerts. Their actions have parallel with the activism of Black Lives Matter supporters who have pushed for changes to gun laws through direct action and campaigning.
Nonetheless, the students have faced steely opposition, not least from the National Rifle Association. While the student activists are seeking limits on who can get access to semi-automatic assault weapons like those used in he Parkland massacre, the NRA’s executive vice president has bitterly criticised calls for gun reform as a “socialist wave”.
Now the Never Again activists are preparing to rally in Washington DC on March 24, hoping hundreds of thousands of supporters will join them. We’ll look at how this new spirit of activism may become a transformative moment in the fight for gun reform in the US.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Clifton Kinnie @CliftonKinnie
Founder, Our Destiny
Charlene Carruthers @CharleneCac
National Director, Black Youth Project
Student, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Parkland student Emma Gonzalez opens up about her fight for gun control – Harper’s Bazaar
Black teens have been calling for gun reform for years – Teen Vogue
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