It took yet another tragedy—the deaths of 17 people, mostly teenagers—to get even a tepid response from our nation’s leaders on guns.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who gets an “A+” endorsement from the National Rifle Association, has called for a “firearm task force” and indicated a willingness to expand background checks as well as to remove weapons from domestic-violence perpetrators. President Donald Trump has signaled that he might consider improved background checks for purchasing weapons.
But we’re not holding our breath that the Republican-controlled Congress, which has long stymied a discussion on gun control, will take any meaningful action. The lack of response to the slaughter of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 indicated that congressional leaders would not stand up to the NRA.
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District, expressed a sentiment on Twitter last weekend with which we agree: “I’ve been much more inspired lately by the children of America than the adults.”
In the wake of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the most courageous response we’ve seen has been from the students of that school—and other youths who have followed their lead in the days since the shooting.
Emma Gonzalez, a senior, has drawn attention through an impassioned speech during which she vowed to ask Trump, should she meet him, how much money he has received from the NRA. On Monday, a group of teens staged a “lie in” outside the White House to pressure lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws.
We applaud the young people around the country who are taking a stand to call for laws to prevent mass shootings. Currently, they are braver than the people who have the power to make our nation safer.
While this current period of our history is a dark one, we have hope for the future. Gonzalez noted, “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks—not because we’re going to be another statistic of mass shootings in America, but because we are going to be the last mass shooting….We are going to change the law.”
Emma, we’re in your corner.