Gun Resistance Is Here – And It’s Being Led by the Victims


By Lindsay Poss

Parkland, Florida has become the latest in a list of cities that has faced a mass shooting, with 17 dead and 14 injured after a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This particular shooting moved past Columbine to become the deadliest high school shooting in history. To say the least, it is difficult to see any path towards change in U.S. gun control laws, as little has been done after repeated tragedies. However, there is one source of hope is the outcry over this latest act of violence. It has sparked a movement from an unlikely source: the survivors.

The movement began on Twitter, where the teens forced to endure this attack quickly used the platform to voice their sadness, anger, and frustration. Amidst tweets of grief over the victims were protests of current gun laws and criticisms of conservative leaders. When Tomi Lahren denounced the left for “[not letting] the families grieve for even 24 hours before [pushing] their anti-gun and anti-gun owner agenda,” survivors battled back immediately. In several tweets, users echoed that guns were responsible for the deaths of their classmates, and that the conversation is thus about guns.  Users also began posting statistics about lawmakers accepting donations from the NRA. President Trump received many viral responses addressing his lack of support for gun control legislation. In these ways, social media has given survivors a voice and a direct connection to lawmakers. The students of Stoneman Douglas have used this powerful tool to force the conversation to continue.

Social media is just the beginning. In a rally held shortly after the massacre in nearby Fort Lauderdale, students, teachers, and parents banded together to express their outrage at gun control legislation. Survivors were cheered on as they gave fiery speeches condemning lawmakers for their lack of action. Student Emma Gonzalez gave an impassioned dialogue calling for tougher laws. “The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us,” she said. “They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence.” The crowd echoed her sentiment, as well as that of the other student speakers. Parents of victims followed suit, delivering fury-filled speeches directed at lawmakers and politicians. The teenage survivors have created an opportunity for many to powerfully express their voice on behalf of the victims, and the movement is gaining momentum as a result.

The next step is a national walkout as students plan to protest gun laws nationwide.  The Women’s March plans to organize a walkout for March 14, one week after the killings at Stoneman Douglas. Another is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Students, teachers, administrators, and parents want to show Congress that the lack of safety in communities is a direct result of gun violence, and that the younger generations are tired of having to mourn these tragedies.

What began with teens on Twitter has grown into a national call for accountability. Students too young to vote have successfully begun to express their voices, and call for the government to do more. We can only hope that this movement remains at the forefront of the news, and doesn’t get lost before the next mass shooting.

Lindsay Poss is a second-year student in the Public Policy and Management (PPM) program at Heinz. Before graduate school, she completed a Bachelors of Science in Decisions Science also at Carnegie Mellon University. She represented CMU as part of the Women’s Basketball team, and has a continuing passion for basketball which she pursues as the head coach of the Men’s Club Basketball team at CMU. After graduate school, Lindsay hopes to pursue a career in International Relations, specifically working in U.S.-Russian diplomacy.