Ever since Parkland, we have kept hearing how the next generation is going to be the one to push us to embrace gun control.
And, to be fair, we see a lot from that generation pushing for it. We see rallies on a regular basis revolving around the youth and their desire to restrict guns.
I have no doubt those who attend those rallies are genuine in their belief.
Students from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis gathered in the Missouri Capitol on Tuesday to push for gun control measures four months after a shooting at the school killed a student and a teacher.
Bryanna Love spoke from a letter she wrote in anticipation of her Capitol visit.
“Since the tragedy, I’ve put a great deal of time and effort into studying gun laws nationally, internationally and locally,” Love said. “I’ve put so much energy into dissecting political jargon and formulating the best way to appeal to lawmakers and voters until I realized how bizarre it was that I was doing this in the first place.”
As far as what legislation students want lawmakers to pass, red flag laws repeatedly were brought up.
“If that law was in place, then it could have prevented what happened to us on Oct. 24,” Mars Sander said.
Police were called by the attacker’s family to confiscate a gun from him before the shooting but were unable to do sobecause they didn’t have the authority.
Now, I get that these are kids from a school where a shooting took place, so they’re definitely more likely to want the laws they’re rallying for in the first place.
But the timing seems interesting to me.
This was Tuesday. That’s a weekday, presumably during the working day when lawmakers would see these kids. In other words, during the school day.
While I get that this was probably the most logical time to do this, it also raises questions for me.
One is, how many of the students were there because they truly believed in the subject, and how many were there for other reasons?
For example, did a government teacher offer extra credit for students who attended? Couple that with the desire to get out of school for a day, and it’s almost too good of an opportunity for a kid to pass up unless they were vehemently opposed to gun control.
And a lot of people at that age are rather agnostic on the subject.
Of course, these are just questions I have and aren’t actual accusations. I have no evidence that any of that was taking place, though I know how I was in high school, and I’d have jumped at a chance to get out of school for pretty much any reason.
Needless to say, I’m unmoved by these student-based displays. While these kids seemingly have a reason to choose to do this, the reality is that we’ll never know how much of that was driven exclusively by their desires and how much was driven by the teachers and staff of the school.
Even so, based on the photograph of the students, it still doesn’t look like a great turnout. When you consider all the factors I mentioned that could potentially drive students – even just being able to skip class – the fact that only a small number of students showed up suggests that even in St. Louis and at a school where a shooting happened, support for gun control isn’t as strong as some might like for you to believe.