By Christina DiStefano
In the wake of the Parkland tragedy, young survivors are taking action for stricter gun control in the United States. They are protesting gun violence and pressuring lawmakers to put restrictions on assault weapons. These actions have again sparked the conversation about gun issues in our country, and these high school students will not let the conversation end. They are, as TIME author Collin Binkley stated, “taking a stand because lawmakers haven’t.”
High school students have been showing their support across the country in response to the Parkland shooting. Many students have organized walkouts and reached out to their government officials to demand change about the ever-growing issue of gun control in America. Many high schools have tolerated the protests, but others have threatened three-day suspension to any protesting students. Despite the threat of suspension, students have continued to plan walkouts and speak out for their cause.
Along with this, the actions of these students have created an uproar across social media. Many colleges have shown their support for the victims of this tragedy and have stated that any suspensions resulting from protests will not affect their college acceptance. Several companies that were previously affiliated with the National Rifle Association (NRA), including Delta Airlines and United Airlines, are cutting ties with the association in the aftermath of this shooting. Delta Airlines has ended its discounts for NRA members for flights. This harms businesses that work with the association, and can affect the NRA in the long run.
These protests have elevated the way we talk about gun control and it doesn’t seem like the survivors of the Parkland shooting will stop until positive changes are made. Students have gotten tired of the government officials’ lack of persistent action about the gun issue in America. Despite the harrowing number of deaths in the country due to gun violence, and the high numbers of mass shootings in comparison to other countries worldwide, lawmakers have not enacted any stricter gun laws to prevent events like these from happening. According to TIME, there have been 17 school shootings so far in 2018, and roughly 290 since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Although gun issues have been a constant topic of discussion, there has been little action done to try and prevent more tragedies like these from happening.
These tragedies raise the question: how can we fix this issue? Proponents of stricter gun regulations and background checks are hindered by the NRA and gun advocates who are adamant about their Second Amendment rights. In addition, many lawmakers blame mental illness for events like these, without delving deeply into the fundamental issues of violence and gun laws in the country. It is difficult to find a consensus on this issue, but it is vital to make changes so that we can prevent tragedies from happening. The students from Parkland High School have gone above and beyond what has been done in similar past events, and will not take no for an answer. We shouldn’t either.