On February 14, 2018, seventeen people lost their lives and many others were wounded in a deadly school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Mass shootings have become so normalized these past few years that we have become almost desensitized to the horrific incidents. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, and now Stonemason Douglas. When will it end? In fact, there have been 18 mass shootings since January 1st. We need change now.
The gunman, Nikolas Cruz has been described as a menace to the campus which has led him to be expelled because of “behavioral problems”. Those who knew him would say that he was always fascinated with guns and violence. He harmed animals for fun and proudly posted pictures of guns and knives on Instagram. According to the Anti-Defamation League, he also has ties to white supremacists. According to reports, five months ago, he stated that he aimed to be a ”professional school shooter.”
All the signs were depicted clearly, but nothing was done to prevent Cruz from walking into a school with a deadly gun and brutally taking so many lives. It should not have been that easy for a nineteen-year-old man to use an AR-15 assault-style rifle, that he had bought legally, to walk into a school with several extra ammunition and brutally kill so many people. A simple background check on Cruz when he went to purchase a gun would have prevented this tragedy from happening.
Guns kill more than 15,000 Americans each year. According to the FBI, 68% of murders in America were with the use of guns, yet people want to place these guns with teachers in classrooms filled with children.
Here is how you can support gun reform and make sure that incidents like Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, etc. never happen again.
1. Contact Your Local Congress Representatives
Find out who your representatives are by clicking here.
We cannot wait until the next shooting happens, in order to end this travesty now, we need stronger gun-control laws and the power to do so lies in the hands of the Congress. When you contact your local congressional representative, let them know you are a voting constituent and will only vote for candidates who make gun control their number one priority. Voice that you expect them to take action to get stronger gun legislation passed, such as background checks to purchase a gun.
2. Donate to Gun Reform Organizations
Here are some organizations that need your support:
- The Brady Campaign
- Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
- Everytown For Gun Safety
- If you are a woman you can join Women Against Gun Violence
- You can also sign up for Amazon Smile so a portion of every purchase you make will be sent to the GVP organization!
There are also local groups at the state level that you can join to make an impact. You can find your local state chapter by clicking here.
These organizations work hard to lessen gun violence and donating to them is a great place to start your fight for gun reform.
- 3. Learn More About Gun Violence In America
You can educate yourself and others on the importance of stronger gun laws in America. Let your peers know that change starts with them and you can reach your goal by working together to fight for your rights.
You can also take part in gun violence protests. Students from Parkland are organizing a nationwide protest on March 24 called March for Our Lives, where kids and families will parade the streets of Washington D.C, demanding action to be taken to protect their lives against gun violence.
It’s time to put an end to these casualties. How many more innocent lives must be taken for us to realize that gun violence is a crucial issue in America? We do not need any more “thoughts and prayers” but policy and change.
Photo by: Zach Gibson/Getty