A group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida who survived the mass shooting are leading a march and bringing gun control to the fore. To bring the conversation to the majority and to try and create change the students are leading the March For Our Lives on March 24 in Washington D.C. Their goal is simple: to ban civilian ownership of semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Everytown for Gun Safety (a non-profit which advocates for stricter gun control and is against gun violence) will also be participating in the march.
Walkouts will also occur in the lead up to the march, the first happening on March 14, one month after the Florida shooting, where students and faculty will walk out of their schools at 10am local time for 17 minutes – marking one minute for each life lost in the latest school shooting. Another is planned to take place on April 20, 19 years after the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. A petition pledging to walk out of the classroom has already garnered 22,000 signatures and March For Our Lives is calling on their followers to support the walkout action.
The students have been forthright and justifiably outspoken against the gun violence that targeted their school. High School junior, Cameron Kasky, said this during an interview with CNN, “My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around”. Another student, Emma Gonzalez, had this to say about semi-automatic and automatic assault rifles, “They have no place in civilian society”.
Celebrities have expressed their support, donated funds and announced their intent to march alongside the students including Justin Bieber, Amber Tamblyn, Olivia Wilde, Julianne Moore, Amy Schumer, Bryce Dallas Howard and Alyssa Milano.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida was rocked to its core when 17 students and faculty members were killed and 14 injured when a former, expelled and disgruntled classmate came to the school armed with an AR-15 rifle. Days after surviving the ninth deadliest school shooting in United States history, these inspirational students don’t believe lawmakers when they say tougher gun laws don’t have an impact on or decrease gun violence.
Cameron Kasky stated that “This is about us begging for our lives. This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians accepting money from the NRAq and using us as collateral”. And unfortunately it’s common knowledge that the vast majority of the lawmakers who offer clichéd messages of ‘thoughts and prayers’ receive considerable funding from the National Rifle Association, with some paid sums totalling millions of dollars. To add insult to injury, instead of attempting to make it more difficult to purchase a deadly weapon, as recently as last year lawmakers have actually made it easier.
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will not stand for this and their message is simple: they want to stop gun violence.