Following the events that took place in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, we saw students across the country rally against gun violence in the United States. Many of the victims from Parkland led this charge on social media and television, demanding their elected officials to act and draft gun control legislation.
This has become common when school shootings occur, during all the initial high volume media attention we see a push for gun control legislation which eventually dies off as new stories are pushed to the center of attention.
What has made the aftermath following Parkland different is the direct and open attack on gun control’s number one enemy. The National Rifle Association (NRA).
In the days following the attack numerous Parkland students voiced their experiences and their opinions via interviews, social media and a televised town hall. Across all of these platforms we saw the students question the ethics of elected officials across the nation who openly accept money from the NRA. My favorite being when Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky asked Marco Rubio if he would stop accepting money from the NRA. This assault on the NRA and its tactics to ensure politicians shut down gun control efforts has pressured multiple companies into cutting ties with the NRA.
Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Enterprise Holdings and Hertz are among this group of companies to cut their ties, while Amazon, Google, and Apple are still under pressure to stop providing the NRA a platform to stream their NRATV programing.
This kind of continuous pressure from social media and mass media is what has been absent in previous efforts for gun control. Now that these students have gained such strong momentum from the initial media coverage and utilized media platforms so effectively, they have created a large audience that can help them push for change.
In fact these students have already shown they can create change. Florida just recently signed a bill that raised the legal age to buy a gun to 21, as well as add a three day waiting period after purchasing the gun.
However with every victory the NRA reminds us that they will not be giving up without a fight. The NRA is suing Florida over this new bill stating that “This bill punishes law-abiding gun owners for the criminal acts of a deranged individual.”
The NRA has made it clear they care more about profit and power more than anything else; not students, not kids, not even conservative values. You would think an organization that was primarily conservative would not call other companies cowards because they are cutting ties with them. What happened to a free market and private enterprise being important to conservative values?
The NRA has shown its true colors over these last few weeks. Their primary concern is not to protect the second amendment rights of citizens but to help make gun companies a profit and maintain political power.
The battle against the NRA has really just begun but the push is stronger now more than ever. We have seen what can be done when we apply pressure to companies and politicians to decide between us and the NRA.
This movement can succeed, but it requires a continuous effort from those who believe in it and with the momentum these students have created, that has become a reality.