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March for Our Lives means time is up for Congress to act on guns

March for Our Lives means time is up for Congress to act on guns
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Students attending March for Our Lives this weekend have a message for lawmakers: Stand up to the gun lobby and pass meaningful legislation or we’ll throw you out of office.

But they’re not just marching on Washington. 

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In the wake of the tragic mass shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students are planning nearly 800 sibling marches across all 50 states. From small towns to major cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and New Orleans, students and their many supporters are taking to the streets to demand meaningful action from state and federal lawmakers.

 

For the countless students and families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence, and for those who live in fear that their school or their community could be next, Saturday’s march is just the beginning.

This generation has been told that active shooter situations in their schools are like natural disasters — unpreventable and unavoidable. But students aren’t fooled. They know that mass shootings and daily gun violence are man-made problems, rooted in the inaction of lawmakers who have chosen to protect the profits of gun manufacturers instead of people’s lives.

As many of these students prepare to vote for the first time in upcoming elections, an A rating from the NRA won’t be a badge of honor. It will be a scarlet letter.

A new survey shows that gun violence prevention is a top issue for young people — including teens who will be voting for the first time — deciding how they’ll cast their ballot in 2018. Seventy-two percent say that politicians who refuse to take action on gun violence should not be reelected. Almost half say that they will actively work to throw politicians who oppose commonsense gun safety reforms out of office.

More than one-quarter have already participated in or plan to participate in the walk-outs that have swept the nation since Parkland. Perhaps millions will march this weekend.

An entire generation is mobilized, and determined to vote in the wake of Parkland. They’re fed up with living in fear — and they’re coming for lawmakers who aren’t willing to act.

Black and brown students have been fighting this battle for a long time. And while Congress has stalled progress at the federal level, communities across the country have already made significant strides at the state level. Together, we’ve defeated legislation that would put more kids at risk and advanced changes to keep our schools and homes safe.

Americans from every generation are getting off the sidelines. At the march, we’ll call on Congress to act on real solutions, including mandated background checks on all gun sales — even if they happen online or at gun shows. 

As a mom of five, gun violence is the most important issue to me when I vote. As parents, our kids are the center of our world and the future of this country. Their lives are on the line every day in our schools and communities — and their voices deserve our full attention.

Moms Demand Action is honored to support this student-led movement to hold lawmakers in Congress and in statehouses nationwide accountable. For thousands of children and families, it’s too late. For members of Congress and state legislators, inaction is no longer an option.   

Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a mom of five. Follow her on Twitter @shannonrwatts