It's been exactly a month since a shooter gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But in this very short time, a group of grieving students has mobilised into a movement that's already changing the conversation about guns.
"It is important to be involved in this because gun violence — mixed with mild incompetence — is found everywhere and is lethal to all of us," Taryn Hibshman, a senior at the school, told Refinery29.
Here's what the student activists have accomplished so far.
The governor of Florida has signed a sweeping gun safety bill.
Breaking with the National Rifle Association, Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun safety bill on March 9 that raised the age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21, created a three-day waiting period for most firearm purchases, banned bump stocks, and created a program to arm and train school faculty. It's a bipartisan compromise — and has been criticised on both sides — but groups like Everytown for Gun Safety are considering it a major step forward given the NRA's stronghold in Florida (and its nickname as the "Gunshine State").
Oregon became the first state to put a new gun law on the books since the shooting.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill on March 5 expanding a law that prevents domestic abusers from owning guns. It closed the "boyfriend loophole," which let abusers or stalkers who aren't living with, married to, or have kids with their partners buy guns. "I’m proud to sign this bill, making Oregon the first state to take action to prevent senseless gun violence since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida," Brown said in a statement.
The First National Bank of Omaha was among the first companies to divest, ending its production of a special NRA credit card. Delta and United airlines both ended their discounted rates for NRA members. Several major rental-car companies, including Hertz, ended their NRA discounts. The MetLife insurance company has halted its discount program as well.
Guns are in the national conversation more than ever.
Not only have the students appeared everywhere from CNN to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but they have kept the public's attention on gun control for longer than ever before. According to Vox, news outlets talked about the subject longer than after past tragedies and Google searches were up. Which means that — we can only hope — things will be different this time.
Students around the country are rising up against gun violence.
Inspired by the Parkland students, thousands of young people have participated in school walkouts, with the biggest one, the National School Walkout, planned for Wednesday, March 14. They're also inspiring students to register to vote as soon as they turn 18, with the 2018 midterm elections looking like they're going to be a turning point when it comes to gun control and many other issues. Together with Everytown, students are looking to #ThrowThemOut — as in, throw out lawmakers who offer "thoughts and prayers" to gun violence victims but continue getting funding from the NRA. (You can register to vote here.) They've even started a nationwide conversation on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.
Students are marching in D.C. for the March for Our Lives
In Washington, D.C., and across the country, students are organising the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, to ensure that their voices will be heard.
"This is my school, this is my home," Hibshman said. "And I have lost 17 of my friends. I left early that day and something blessed me, and I will use that blessing to fuel my fire to make a change. We will continue to fight and we will not be silenced."
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