This week marks one year since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School. On February 14, 2018, 17 lives were lost. In the wake of a tragedy, a group of courageous students has sparked change in the gun reform movement; these high school students made their voice heard, and we should take a moment to reflect on what changes they have helped to inspire.
State governments have by and large responded more actively to the situation than the federal government. The New York Times reports that 76 new gun laws have been passed in over half of the states in the US. This includes policies that prevent a person deemed dangerous—as the shooter at MSD could have been—from getting a gun for up to a year, which has been passed in three states. The progress made on the state level is a testament to the hard work and passion of the students, and should be inspiring to us.
Unfortunately, the federal government has not been as open to change. Gridlock has prevented any new legislature from being successful, which has only been worsened by the involvement of the NRA. With the Democrats in the house, some gun regulation policy has finally made it out of committee, but without a majority in the Senate, it does not seem that they will be able to push it through Congress to the president’s desk.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KTIV.COM
While the bureaucracy of government is frustrating, it is still heartening to know that there are changes coming. Increasing demographic representation and the new freshman faces in Session 116 of Congress are promising, and with a Democratic agenda aimed at reducing corruption in the government, there is hope that the influence of the NRA will be reduced and progressive gun control legislation will eventually be passed.
In an interview with NPR, MSD student-turned-activist David Hogg explained that he continues working with the movement because “[he] meet[s] more and more people every day who've lost children and friends and parents to gun violence in the United States. And until we get the laws that we're looking for, these stories are going to continue.” The impact of gun violence is far more than the media could ever portray; lives have been lost forever due to senseless violence and poor enforcement. A year-long of the grueling fight for gun control may not always be interesting to cover, but many of the students from Stoneman Douglas have lived and pushed through it, and we should recognize and support their fight every day.