Editorial: A long fight for gun control remains after inspiring marches
March 27, 2018
Their voices were loud and so was their message: Enough is enough.
On Saturday, a couple hundred students in Park City led a march down Main Street to demand action from lawmakers on mass shootings. It culminated in a rally at City Park, where the students were joined by hundreds of adult community members, totaling an estimated crowd of about 1,000 people. All were eager for change.
Taken on its own, it was an inspiring sight and proved Parkites don't need the backdrop of the Sundance Film Festival to stage a meaningful protest. But the context made it even more powerful: It was a small part of a nationwide demonstration.
In Salt Lake City, for instance, an estimated 8,000 people marched to the Capitol Building. In Washington, D.C., the crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Dozens of other marches of varying size were held in cities all over America, all showcasing the remarkable energy that has seized the push for sensible gun control laws since the school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives.
The youth who have emerged to lead the charge — notably the Parkland students thrust onto an international stage, but also Park City students like march organizer Maya Levine — deserve immense credit. By shifting the nationwide conversation and putting pressure on lawmakers, they've succeeded where gun control advocates have repeatedly failed in the past.
But the work is far from over. A moment passes but a movement persists — and that's what the marches, and the students walkouts the week prior, must now become for tangible progress to be possible.
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Whether that includes more protests in the future remains to be seen, but it will certainly require a willingness to continue speaking up, as well as mobilizing when it matters most: election season.
Sustained activism is necessary because lawmakers have proven repeatedly that they're content ignoring the majority in acquiescence to the National Rifle Association and the minority of Americans opposed to things like stricter background checks, mental health evaluations and assault weapons bans. The movement must be loud enough and long enough to convince them that inaction will cost them their jobs.
If Park City's teens are any indication, the youth leading the fight understand it hasn't been won. Levine, for one, said on Saturday that students will continue to protest until the day lawmakers take meaningful action.
If everyone in the country who marched Saturday shares that attitude, perhaps that day is at last in sight.