Gun Control Group Shuts Down

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Gun control groups are plentiful. It seems everyone with a bone to pick with the Second Amendment starts their own organization. They’re almost everywhere, and it’s kind of impossible for anyone to keep up with them all.

However, it seems there’s one fewer than there was.

That’s because one has decided on their own to shut down operations.

After three years of civic engagement initiatives dedicated to education, justice and service in Albuquerque, Fight for Our Lives, a student-led organization established to propel social justice causes, announced their self-decided shutdown on Oct. 2.

FFOL was focused on advocating for gun violence prevention in 2018, seeking climate crisis action in 2019 and creating ABQ Mutual Aid in 2020, according to FFOL co-founder Jonathon Juarez-Alonzo. He said on social media that the decision to dissolve the organization was a tough one and that “all good things must come to an end.”

A key legacy of FFOL was the youth involved in the movement’s work, who were able to develop leadership skills through organizing efforts, according to co-founder and former President Zoey Craft. Former Vice President Emil Phan said she got involved with FFOL in high school with the goal of advancing action and conversations on urgent social justice issues, which directly pertained to Albuquerque’s underserved communities.

FFOL was developed in response to March for Our Lives, an organization created to push gun control legislation following the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

“In July 2018, we were essentially just condemning and voicing how we believed that the Albuquerque Police Department were some of the largest perpetrators of gun violence in our community,” Juarez-Alonzo said.

Juarez-Alonzo said FFOL empowered many young voices on issues such as gun control and climate action at the city and state levels in New Mexico.

“We saw several legislative victories in 2019 and 2020 … regarding universal background checks and red flag gun laws, (which) were things that we championed,” Juarez-Alonzo said.

Following a year of leading movements conceived to spur gun violence prevention, Phan said FFOL shifted focus in 2019 to compel conversations and action related to the climate crisis, organizing  the “U.S. Climate Strike” in May and the “Global Climate Strike ABQ” in September.

And that’s part of the problem. The organization didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

The leadership seems to have been all over the place with their interests and apparently, the organization had too broad of a focus, so they were all over the place with the issues they addressed.

But hey, another gun control group down. That’s a win for our side, right?

Not really. It seems FFOL shut down because the leadership wants to do other things and despite the broad focus of the group, it’s not broad enough for their ADHD-focus of activism. This wasn’t really due to any lack of support for their initial gun control mission.

Unfortunately.

At least, there’s not any evidence of that. It’s entirely possible that after a couple of years, they started focusing on climate change because they just couldn’t get any real traction as a gun control group. Oh, they claim wins, but how much of that was because of them and how much was because of other, most established groups?

Either way, this is one less group to spout absolute nonsense about the Second Amendment, so in that regard, I guess it actually is a win.