As high school students, we are uniquely connected to the gun control movement spurred by the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and should involve ourselves accordingly.
Not only are we in high school—where, as of February 27, at least 11 shootings have occurred across the country, according to Everytown for Gun Safety—but we are also of the age when our emerging political voices can impact public policy, legislation, and the national dialogue.
Let’s act on this potential we have to enact change, starting with getting informed. To better understand the political discussion and prepare for the time when we can vote—whether this year or in a few years, whether in Massachusetts or another state—we should know which government officials are backed by the National Rifle Association. Republican senators Marco Rubio from Florida and John McCain from Arizona are among those politicians who may feel obligated to avoid explicit expression of anti-gun sentiment—and to avoid including gun control measures in their platforms—for fear of losing sponsorship. More information on such politicians is available through the link: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=d000000082.
Additionally, let’s be aware of the marches and demonstrations we can join. The Vanguard commends those who organized and participated in the national walkout on March 14 as well as other anti-gun violence movements, and we hope students will consider attending the March for Our Lives on March 24 at the Boston Common over spring break, sister marches around the world, or other movements organized by school.
We should not hesitate to talk to others of similar ages about current events related to gun control, as joining in the cultural conversation can educate us, show us new perspectives, and broker relationships with others who plan to be active citizens against gun violence.
There are many organizations fighting gun violence. The Brady Campaign aims to decrease the country’s annual gun death toll by half and promotes stricter background checks, limits on gun dealers, and the development of a national discussion on the dangers of household guns. There’s also the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, an umbrella organization that joins causes fighting gun violence across the state. We can participate by signing petitions, attending advocacy workshops and State House hearings, and calling officials.
The Vanguard encourages students to be in tune with news covering school shootings and other reports of gun violence so we can understand the scope of the issue and take an educated stance. We believe it’s important to listen to opposing viewpoints—both in conversation and in the media—so we can broaden our thinking and prepare our own arguments for broader appeal.
Through education, activism, and informed discussion, let’s join the millions of other high school students who are actively engaged in the gun control movement so that we can finally prompt legislative reform.