The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida became something of a media sensation after it went down. For the first time, it was classmates and friends of the victims leading the call for change and not the parents of victims. We saw it in the immediate aftermath and again at the CNN town hall. We saw it more with one student, David Hogg, calling for boycotts of FedEx because of their association with the NRA and urging people to travel to places other than Florida for spring break.
They have been up front and center and confident in their goals. Why? Because they have adults telling them they’re going to win. They’re saying to these kids, this time the results will come to fruition. They have the kids believing that significant sweeping changes to gun laws will take over the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country. It’s sad because these kids have put their faith in people who have been lying to them. They’ve told them “change” would happen, but it won’t.
The comments are not meant to belittle their passion or their anger. But the kids in question should have a healthy degree of skepticism for people who simultaneously say the voting age should go from 18 to 16 while saying they have to wait until they’re 21 to purchase a rifle. Somehow, the adults reached the conclusion kids are mature enough to understand the nuances of public policy as it relates to firearms and gun laws, but won’t be mature enough for another five years to purchase one.
As for the “victories” they’ve achieved so far, they’re pyrrhic at best. Corporations have faced pressure to withdraw some discount programs they had with the NRA. Such is standard practice with many organizations, and ironically, many people don’t know such discounts exist. However, activists have managed to get big name companies such as Delta, United, and Hertz to drop their association with the NRA.
What about the big changes to gun laws? Let’s get the subtleties out of the way. On the federal level:
- The minimum age to purchase a rifle will not go from 18 to 21
- There will not be another assault weapons ban
- Magazine restrictions will not be part of any legislation that does get passed
Contrary to the myth-making, it won’t happen because the all-powerful NRA, from up on high, will send down orders to their minions to vote the way they want. Those legislators will vote a particular way because it’s their constituents they’re worried about. People such as Joe Scarborough can take to the air every morning and repeat how popular expanded background checks are around the country. What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is it doesn’t move the voters who support it.
Another problem people who want stronger gun laws have is they believe the stereotypes about gun owners. They buy into the ludicrous idea that most gun owners are uneducated goober rednecks who only want their guns so they can pretend to be John Rambo on the weekends. They never associated gun owners with people who feel very strongly about their second amendment rights and vote accordingly. You know who makes up that block outside of the “survivalist” the aforementioned Scarborough always talks about?
Lawyers. Writers. Doctors. Executives. Truck drivers. Uber drivers. Construction workers. Factory workers.
Get the picture?
The people who don’t own guns aren’t driven to get out to the polls to vote on that issue but gun owners are more likely to do so because they see the issue as one of concerning individual rights. The sooner people on the other side of the debate can recognize that instead of resorting to the lowest common denominator stereotype, the debate will move forward.
In the meantime, they’re lying to these kids and when nothing happens, the adults who did the lying will have moved on to something more important.