We Marched For Our Lives, Now What?

March For Our Lives was an impactful and important protest to have in which citizens were able to call for change and open their eyes to the severity of the gun violence epidemic in the United States. Many attendees came to the march with the focus that gun violence must be ended because of the effect its had on schools.

Speakers were quick to point out that while this is an important point in the fight for gun control, it is not the only reason.

Gun violence disproportionately affects people of color, people with mental illness and other minority groups. When people talk about gun control they always bring up mental health as if people with mental illnesses are the ones causing all the harm; however, the opposite is true. Far too often, gun deaths are the result of suicides. 

In addition, police violence against people of color is an important conversation to have when discussing gun regulation. In many cases, police officers in the United States are too quick to use deadly force especially against people of color, including the Columbus police department. The Legal Defense Fund states, “Reportedly, out of the 15 largest cities in our country, Columbus ranks number one in the percentage of black people killed by police.” 

To fight gun violence people need to understand all of its components. We must demand stricter gun control laws, a better mental health care system, stricter laws around deadly force and a way to hold officers that use it incorrectly responsible. 

The push for the end of gun violence has not been this intense since the Columbine shooting in 1999. Now that the dust has settled and the march has happened, many are wondering what do we do now?

For starters, you can register to vote. The Ohio primary for the U.S. House of Representatives is May 8, 2018 and the general election is November 6, 2018. There are sixteen seats up for election in Ohio, so people must go out and vote for representatives that pledge to fight for gun control and representatives who will not take money from the NRA.

In addition, you can get involved with other organizations fighting against gun violence. This movement cannot lose stamina like so many others have. We need gun control friendly representatives and to be aware of other anti-gun movements that are not centered around school shootings.