Students and Supporters Will ‘March For Our Lives’ Saturday. Here’s What to Know

Founder’s Quote
March 24, 2018
Saint of the Day for March 24: Blessed Oscar Arnulfo Romero
March 24, 2018

By Liberty McArtor, a Staff Writer, The Stream, March 24, 2018

Liberty McArtorHalf a million people are expected at the Washington, D.C. March For Our Lives Saturday. Organized by survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting last month, the march has garnered the rapt attention of the media, celebrities and the world. Eight-hundred sister marches are set to take place worldwide.

So what are the students marching for? Who is helping them? Will they likely accomplish any of their goals? And will the actions they demand actually curb mass shootings?

What They Demand

According to the March For Our Lives website, “the mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”

The website invites visitors to sign a petition. It demands three specific actions of lawmakers: ban the sale of assault weapons, ban the sale of high capacity magazines, and close loopholes in the background check system.

Organizers are also pushing their peers to register to vote, so they can boot out politicians who don’t pass gun legislation.

“We’re going to show these politicians that we’re coming for them,” Parkland student-turned TV commentator David Hogg told Time.

Who’s Helping Them

The idea for the march came from Parkland students. But they’ve had a lot of help. Millions of dollars worth, in fact. According to Time, they’ve raised $4 million from crowdfunding alone. They’ve received more from celebrities, like Oprah Winfey, who donated $500,000. George and Amal Clooney donated another $500,000. Other celebrity donors include Stephen Spielberg, Jimmy Fallon and Dwayne Wade.

Like-minded groups have come alongside the students to help them organize. They include the Women’s March, Everytown for Gun Safety and former U.S. representative Gabby Giffords’ gun control advocacy group.

Singers Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato will march with the students and perform.

Will They Accomplish Their Goals?

The Parkland students have already inspired quick action in their home state. Florida passed a sweeping gun control and school safety bill earlier this month. But the bill falls short of what march organizers want, and they feel no love for Gov. Rick Scott, who signed it. Time reports they call him “Voldemort” — villain of the Harry Potter books.

A national ban on assault weapons is unlikely. General support for gun control is ticking up though, including for strengthened background checks. Trump and some Republicans support a Fix NICS bill. Such legislation would fix problems with the current background check laws. Recent mass shooters, like the Sutherland Springs shooter and the Parkland shooter, were not supposed to possess weapons under current law. But failures in implementation allowed them slip under the radar.

A bill like the STOP School Violence Act has already passed the House. It’s much more likely to become law at this point than comprehensive gun control. The bill provides more funding to train students, teachers, and law enforcement to stop school violence and funding to make schools more secure.

Will Their Proposed Actions Make a Difference?

Gun control measures proposed by march organizers are not likely to work. Why? Because they don’t address the real problems facing the nation.

report published by The Heritage Foundation in March digs into gun violence in America. It pulls data from the Department of Justice, Pew Research Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many other reliable sources.

The report cites eight “stubborn facts” quoted here, backing each with multiple statistics:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.

  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.

  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.

  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.

  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.

  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

A Failure of Responsibility

As is typical with gun control advocates, Saturday’s march organizers are married to solutions whose effectiveness has been repeatedly disproved. Predictably, they’re sighting in on the NRA, law-abiding gun owners and many politicians as their arch-nemeses. That’s why liberal celebrities, mainstream media and Democrats are showering them with support and attention.

Meanwhile, they ignore other survivors, like Kyle Kashuv. The 16-year-old represents a remnant of Parkland students who oppose broad gun control, but support other school safety measures. While his classmates organized Saturday’s march, he met with both Democratic and Republican politicians in Washington, D.C., including the president and first lady. He also developed an app to help students access emotional and mental health support. But he is rarely featured in the mainstream media. And he was completely left out of Time’s extensive cover story on Parkland students’ activism.

These students have every right to petition the government. But they (and the adults around them) have the responsibility to ensure the changes they demand are based in reality. And the media has a responsibility to report the news fairly — not just highlight students who share their convictions.

You can counter this. With a spirit of civility and respect for those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, consistently share facts like the ones above. Without a proper understanding of what causes gun violence in America, we risk passing meaningless laws that hurt more than help, leaving the real problems unsolved.


Liberty McArtor is a Staff Writer for The Stream. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College and previously worked in Washington, D.C., as a radio producer for WMAL’s weekend talk show and at First Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. Liberty resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband and their beloved cat. Follow Liberty on Twitter @LibertyMcArtor.