On March 24th, the March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration to end gun violence in schools, drew millions around the United States and the world while captivating the attention of countless more. Participants in the march are leading a call for tighter gun control in response to the now continuous string of mass shootings occurring at schools in the United States. In their own words: “March for Our Lives is created by, inspired by and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”
Many students at UConn attended the sibling marches in Hartford and other locations around the state, with some even making the trip down to Washington, DC for the main march. Here in Connecticut the scourge of school shootings hits very close to home, with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting being one of the worst school shootings in the nation’s history. While Connecticut has passed stricter gun control than many other states there is still much that can be done to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people.
The advocacy we are seeing is outstanding in many regards. While it is disgraceful that this has gone so far that children have to march in the streets to demand lawmakers keep them from getting shot, the young people leading this movement speak on the issue with an authority that no one else has. They put pressure on lawmakers that no one else can. And they bring a mindset not mired in cynicism; their belief that they can and will succeed is one of their strongest traits.
Not everyone will agree on every suggestion put forward to combat this issue, but we have an obligation to support common sense reforms that have the potential to make a difference. There are a wide range of policies, from ensuring universal background checks to limiting the sale of high capacity magazines, which have widespread support and would have been enacted long ago if the gun lobby had not fought against them. We can’t allow this standstill any longer. The status quo is no longer acceptable. It is not even tolerable. It is abhorrent.