On May 24, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. The Uvalde school shooting comes just 10 days after a shooter in a Buffalo, New York grocery store killed 10 people, and nine days after a shooting in a Laguna Woods, California church that killed one person and critically wounded four others.
This year alone, the U.S. has seen more than 200 mass shootings occur — more than there have been days in the year. According to Vox, the Uvalde shooting is the 27th school shooting of 2022, and the deadliest since 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. It’s clearer now more than ever that gun violence prevention should be a priority for the safety and protection of all Americans. If you’re feeling helpless as politicians send “thoughts and prayers” with promises of reform and little action to back it up, here’s how you can make an impact now to help prevent future senseless acts of gun violence.
Donate to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Everytown for Gun Safety is a nonprofit started as a grassroots movement by moms, students, and survivors of gun violence. Their work includes advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as supporting survivors, representing them in court, and working to spread awareness of the need for gun safety. You can donate through their website. Celebrities like Amanda Gorman, Gracie Abrams, Chrissy Teigen, and more have promoted donating to Everytown as an impactful response to the tragedy.
Contact your representatives.
Making your voice heard to the people in power, especially as many of them might be up for reelection soon, is one impactful way to make sure the opinion of the people is honored: More than half of Americans favor stronger gun laws as of 2021, according to Pew Research Center data.
You can find your representatives in the House and Senate on Congress’s website, as well as their contact information. But as activists like Olivia Julianna have pointed out online, this is not only a federal issue — your state and local governments should also be held accountable for their role in gun safety laws. You can also find your state legislators online.
You can also contact your representatives through Everytown’s website specifically to urge them to support H.R. 8, a bill that was passed by the House in March 2021 but has still not been voted on in the Senate. H.R. 8 would require background checks on all gun sales nationwide.
Get involved with a local or national organization.
States United to Prevent Gun Violence has a map with 32 affiliated state organizations — if your state is on there, you can learn more about the efforts happening in your state to prevent gun violence, and figure out how to get involved. You can sign petitions, attend protests, learn more about the laws specific to your area, help educate others you know, and more.
Many college campuses also have Students Demand Action — if there isn’t already one at your school, they have an organizing toolkit on their website. You can also join their Calling Team or Twitter Team, as well as apply for their Summer Leadership Academy.
Vote in the primaries, and in November.
The midterm elections are coming up, and though they’re still months away, your vote will have an impact on which lawmakers will have a hand in gun legislation in the next couple of years. In the meantime, many states have primary elections coming up — the New York Times has made a calendar with the dates for each state, so you can find out what races are coming up, who’s running, and where they stand on gun laws. You can also do research into which senators have taken money from the National Rifle Association (NRA).