How Parkland Survivors-Turned-Activists Inspired Dozens of Gun Laws

Nearly 70 new gun laws across 26 states have been enacted in the year since the tragedy.

Parkland gun laws
The Parkland student activists have inspired nearly 70 new laws on gun safety. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Time)
Getty Images for Time

Last Valentine’s Day, a teenage gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — one year later, the survivors, united by their mutual grief and outrage, are dictating policy.

These American teenagers have confronted their lawmakers, rallied others to their cause, took to the streets of Washington to put on the March For Our Lives, made impassioned pleas for reform and declared, “Never Again” until 67 new gun laws were enacted by both Republican and Democratic legislators in 26 states and Washington D.C.

That’s the inspiring new figure released by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence this week, CNN reported.

“2018 was a momentous year in terms of gun safety legislation,” said Allison Anderman, the group’s managing attorney. “The sheer number of the significant pieces of legislation that were enacted, the fact that very consequential bills were signed by Republican governors, as well as the very few gains made by the gun lobby really combined to make it kind of an earth-shattering year.”

The Giffords Law Center told CNN that some of the stand-out victories for the organizers of the March For Our Lives have been the laws passed that improve background checks to keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, the banns on bump stocks and large-capacity magazines and the tightened laws relating to concealed carry.

“They never backed down,” Anderman said of the Parkland activists. “And they were incredibly eloquent and motivated and organized. And the… campaign that they created was tremendously effective at amplifying the message and bringing people into the fold.”

And, as CNN noted, advocates for gun safety legislation have stressed how great a watershed moment the March’s founders created in 2018 when these bills were no longer limited to just Democratic legislatures and governors.

This includes a Florida bill known as the the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which covered a wide range of policies championed by gun control advocates like allowing law enforcement to ask for an “extreme risk protection order,” which temporarily prohibits someone from possessing firearms if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

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