The March for Our Lives events on Saturday riveted the nation. But there’s no guarantee they will achieve what they truly want: victory at the polls.
In a Monday story, we looked at what the student activists behind the protests are doing to get the policies they want, given that it’s uncertain how long they can keep the spotlight. Their strategies involve things like town halls and voter-registration drives. And they might be able to capitalize on a possible “blue wave,” in which Democrats do very well in congressional and state races.
It remains unclear whether they’ll be able to keep up their momentum over the next several months. Federal lawmakers just approved the STOP School Violence Act, which is designed to beef up crisis-intervention and reporting activities in schools but doesn’t contain new gun-control measures—so Capitol Hill may decide it’s already done enough for now. And they must contend with the well-established political power in Washington wielded by the National Rifle Association.
Parents of the victims of the Parkland, Fla., shooting victims have already had success in Florida, where a new measure signed by Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, imposes a new age restriction on firearms purchases, and provides more money for mental health services and armed school resource officers. It could become a model for other state-level legislation, although such efforts may not be enough to satisfy March For Our Lives student leaders.
For example, on Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, signed into law a $100 million school safety plan. The newly adopted legislation requires the “integration of trauma-informed care training for school staff,” beefed-up school safety plans, and more coordination with law enforcement. But there’s no additional gun control in the new law.
Landing page image: Protest signs and water bottles fill a sidewalk trash bin after a the March For Our Lives rally in Dallas. -- Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP
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