In the wake of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Feb. 14, gun control has been on the top of the minds of many concerned Americans. But the fight for gun control is now being led by the survivors of the tragedy: students in Florida who are organizing walkouts for the cause and very publicly calling out political BS. These young voices have amplified the dialogue on gun control, while at the same time adding an urgency to make change — and though the journey has already been rocky, they’re showing no signs of backing down.
Parkland students recently took to the Florida House to witness a vote on banning assault rifles and large capacity magazines, believing that their presence would add faces to the issue. Sadly, the measure was voted down so the House could vote on measures like pornography being a “public health threat.” But student survivors of the tragedy haven’t been deterred; in fact, they’re now gearing up to meet with President Donald Trump for a “listening session” about gun control issues.
Trump is a noted gun advocate backed by the NRA who has enabled lax gun laws thus far in his presidency — but as of Feb. 20, he has begun attempting to make change on the matter by moving to regulate bump stocks. “We must actually make a difference,” Trump said, adding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been tasked with handling bump stocks. Trump also tweeted that all politicians must focus on strengthening background checks.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
These efforts to regulate bump stocks feel like a big deal — but it is possible that it will only graze the surface of what’s now unequivocally a major issue.Bump stocks, as The New York Times explains, are the attachments that can be added to semiautomatic rifles to make them fire faster, using the momentum made by the weapon’s movement to create a rapid fire. For reference, 12 of the rifles used by the Las Vegas shooter featured bump stocks and are how the shooter was able to make roughly 90 shots in the span of 10 seconds. The effort to ban the bump stock is good, but it’s worth noting that it’s also somethingthe NRA supported in an October 2017 statement. The NRA also came forward in support of improving background check systems in December, so Trump’s seemingly progressive moves do, in fact, tiptoe around NRA philosophies.
Overall, though, the White House’s view on guns may only be shifting slightly — but the ripples outward are already being felt as prices for bump stocks are soaring. Trump’s efforts to rein in guns may bring breakthroughs (and boy, we truly hope that they do) but, given his relative silence and smiles, this may all be orange-tinted lip service. No matter, the Parkland student survivors are continuing their fight — and here’s hoping that our youngest generation can break through the barriers on gun control and put the change we so desperately need in motion.