A groundbreaking step to fight for gun control and the safety of students and faculty was taken on Saturday, March 24, 2018, when the student-organized demonstration March For Our Lives was held across major cities nationwide and around the world. This movement was inspired greatly in part by the devastating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018, when 17 people were killed and 17 more were injured by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz with a legally purchased AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Reports state Cruz pulled a fire alarm at approximately 2:19 p.m. on that day, and for the next six minutes shot emerging students and teachers at random before leaving the weapon at the school and blending in with fleeing students as they left the scene. He was later arrested at approximately 3:40 p.m. two miles away from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Coral Springs, and is currently awaiting trial for 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, all of which he’s confessed to.
Since the massacre on February 14, a rush of Americans and especially those aged 21 and under have called for gun control, awareness, and more stringent gun laws. Four days after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, the march was announced by survivor Cameron Kasky and his classmates, and was scheduled for March 24 in Washington D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue. An estimated 1.2 to 2 million individuals participated in the main march and sibling marches in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle and dozens more, and received financial support from celebrities including George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and many others.
What March For Our Lives is fighting for
Marjory Stoneman Douglas student-organized gun control advocacy group Never Again MSD and nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety protested for these changes to America’s current gun laws during their walk:
- Universal background checks on all gun sales.
- Raising the legal age for gun ownership and possession to 21.
- The closing of the gun show loophole for firearm purchase (the sale of weapons to unlicensed state residents; no background checks required).
- Restoring the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
- A ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines in the U.S. (detachable firearm magazines that can hold a large amount of ammunition).
Notable speeches from the March For Our Lives on Washington:
- Emma Gonzalez, a senior from Stoneman Douglas High School.
- David Hogg, a senior from Stoneman Douglas High School.
- Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old who spoke to support African American girls/women and gun violence.
Several others, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, nine-year-old Yolanda Renee King and additional students who’ve been survivors of gun violence.
How to support the March For Our Lives movement
There are many ways to support this powerful movement for gun control, and just a few are as follows:
For more information on how to choose candidates to support regarding their gun control policies, read this Lifehacker article. For information regarding legislation, lawmakers, and supporting those candidates who may or may not have received financial contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA), go to the Everytown for Gun Safety webpage.
As citizens of this great country, we have the ability and the right to expect legislation and lawmakers to make changes in order to protect civilians in ways that are not influenced by outside organizations. There are many avenues for us to support gun violence survivors, nonprofit advocacy groups, and to enact changes to existing laws—we need only make the choice. Midnight Publishing stands with the brave survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and all other survivors of gun violence or violence of any kind.