A group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, will head a “March For Our Lives” bus tour this summer to drum up support for their anti-gun agenda and with the goal of registering young and first-time voters sympathetic to their cause.
Organizers said the tour, which was scheduled to kick-off in Chicago on June 15 and include five other states and a separate tour of all 27 Florida Congressional Districts, will register voters at each stop, and talk to them about whether local candidates support them or have the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Washington Post reported.
A check of the group’s website shows a more fulsome agenda, including: universal, comprehensive background checks; bringing the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database; funds for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to research n alledged gun violence epidemic in America; [a] high-capacity magazine ban, and a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles.
While it is good to see young people engaged in the political process, even if I disagree with their goals, it is worth asking a few questions, and perhaps even giving these newly-graduated high school students some advice.
One of the questions to ask is how they expect to achieve their aim of “not one more” student shot in school—even supposing their laundry list of objectives were achieved.
The anti-gunners have used the “not one more” and “if it saves one life” meme for nearly half a century. Since no rational person wants to see lives lost, we can only ask how legislation—even as Draconian as they are proposing—would be realized since bans that have been enacted, including one that has since expired on so-call assault weapons, have proven to be failures.
The answer, sadly, is that you cannot legislate criminal behavior out of existence. Laws against things—even such mundane things as not turning left at certain corners during certain hours—exist to guide behavior more than anything. The majority of people will always obey such a law, even if it takes them a few blocks out of their way. But every day you can see people disobeying—actually, breaking—laws without consequence. Because although the laws have been enacted to protect the majority of the people, there is not the manpower to enforce them 24/7. This does not mean that there shouldn’t be such laws, only that everyone recognizes that they cannot be fully enforced.
Now traffic violations are not murder, but laws against murder work the same way: they codify the will of the people and provide penalties for those who do not obey.
Here is where I would advise the young activists to rethink their animus to the NRA. I’ve had my disagreements with the group over the years, despite being a life member, but there is more common ground here than not.
“We need to take our communities back from the NRA, and continue this movement. We’ll make our voices heard, register young people to vote, get them to the polls and change America’s gun policies so that these senseless tragedies stop,” said one of the activists, Ryan Deitsch, quoted in The Post.
This is where everyone should pause, take a deep breath and remember that NRA members and the group itself are part of the community at large and that they have sought for more years than Deitsch has been alive to make everyone—gunowners and now gunowners alike, and especially young people, safer. Programs like Eddie Eagle, paid for by NRA members, have taught gun safety to grammar school children for more than 20 years. The simple “Stop. Don’t Touch. Tell an Adult” message has saved lives and prevented tragedies.
NRA has also offered their take on solutions to violence in schools. Anyone is free to disagree with them, but it would make more sense to take a look at their proposals rather than just rejecting anything that bears their imprimatur.
It’s possible that the student group—largely funded by Everytown for Gun Safety, itself funded by Michael Bloomberg—will still disagree with everything NRA proposes and still make it their mission to unseat politicians who have NRA’s support.
But before they demand that everyone listen to what they have to say, it would make sense to listen to what others have been saying for years.