A year ago this month, the Parkland shooting took place, killing 17 students and teachers at a high school in Florida. The event triggered the National Student Walkout and the March for Our Lives, where young people and their supporters protested for gun reform. The movement has since died down, and some of the Parkland students have became something along the lines of political pundits, but it is the right time to reflect on what changes have really been made on a national level since the tragedy.
The United States Congress
This week, two bills (H.R. 8 and S. 42 for my government geeks out there), are going to have a hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. These bills would push for universal background checks for gun purchases. S. 42, known as the Background Check Expansion Act, was introduced by Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT), and even though few details on the bill have been released at the moment, we can assume the bill was introduced by the Connecticut Senator as a result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. HR. 8, known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act is a House bill introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and has both Democrat and Republican lawmakers sponsoring it. While both of these bills may be a step in the right direction, it is unknown at this moment if they will pass.
The White House
President Trump finally created a federal ban on bump stocks, which will go into effect next month. Bump stocks, to put in simply, enhance a guns power greatly. Other than that, the White House has been relatively quiet on gun reform, especially when the focus has shifted to issues like immigration.
National Rifle Association
Sadly, the National Rifle Association, or NRA, has not changed any of its stances on gun rights, mostly because of their large government influence as a lobbying organization.
March for Our Lives
The organization switched its focus to increasing voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, which was successful. They endorsed candidates who refused to take money from the NRA, and pushed for gun control. It seems that electing candidates that align with their agenda will continue to be their primary goal.
Although I cannot speak for all students, I can explain how my personal viewpoint has changed over the past year. After Parkland, myself and others were infuriated and saddened. I was eager to protest, wanting rapid legislative change. Today, I understand that the point of the 2nd Amendment is to protect citizens if their government becomes tyrannical, but I still believe in the need for making the process to purchase a gun much harder. I still believe the NRA is a horribly stubborn organization that is only concerned about money. Most of all, I still believe that the families of Parkland, Florida need to be kept in mind before a politician decides to take a donation from the National Rifle Association.