Tipping point: Americans organizing more than ever after Florida shooting


Outraged by their countrys mass shooting epidemic, gun reform groups say they have seen a leap in members and in activity

Americans outraged by their countrys mass shooting epidemic appear to be organizing at an unprecedented rate, following the 14 February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed.

The gun policy reform group Everytown for Gun Safety said a 25% leap in members in the two weeks after the Parkland shooting meant the group had overtaken the National Rifle Association in size although the gun lobbys claim of 5 million members has not been independently verified and is widely seen as inflated.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has opened 16 chapters since the Parkland shootings, the group said. Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy group founded after the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 young children and six adults were killed, has seen a wave of new signatories to its namesake vow.

At least 20 corporations have changed their gun sales policies, by activists count, including most recently LL Bean, which announced on Friday that it would no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.

I think the Parkland shooting was the straw that broke the camels back for most Americans to get off the sidelines, said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety.

I think the regurgitation by politicians of thoughts and prayers, once again without any action, was just too much for most Americans to bear. And I think thats why were seeing this movement.

LLee (@lizjam12)

We can do hard things-@GlennonDoyle says. Mobilize 100+ in Lehigh Valley PA to a @MomsDemand mtg on a rainy night then jumpstart a dead car! pic.twitter.com/1naQveB5uT

March 2, 2018

Nicole Hockley, a co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise whose six-year-old son, Dylan, was killed at the school, said: Theres a lot of increased activity, because people are just fed up with school shootings continuing.

Hockley credited student activists in Parkland with energizing the movement.

I think theres a difference between parents like myself advocating for children who were killed, versus these kids advocating for themselves and asking adults to protect them, she said. That its the kids requesting and imploring for help has brought a new sense of urgency.

A greater share of the public also appears to believe change is possible. A HuffPost/YouGov survey two weeks after the shooting found that 60% of Americans now say that mass shootings are something that can be stopped, rather than a fact of life in the country up 18 points from as recently as last October.

sreimer (@sreimer)

PACKED house in St. Louis for @MomsDemand. 10 times the turnout of last meeting. #expectus #neverforget #thingswillchange pic.twitter.com/8b4nyoNbbL

March 2, 2018

Everytown and Moms Demand Action added 1.2 million supporters people on our mailing list that donate or take action since Parkland, bringing their total to 5.2 million, Watts said.

We also, the day after the Parkland shooting, started Students Demand Action, she said. We already have 10,000 new volunteers signed up.

The group has organized 600 events since the shooting and attendance at annual events is up tenfold, Watts said.

Last year we had a state advocacy day at the Georgia statehouse, she said. We had 150 people. And we just had it again last week we have it every year and 1,600 people showed up. So were just seeing incredible turnout everywhere.

Anne L. (@AReasonableMom)

Happening now at the MN Capitol: @MomsDemand lobbying at Public Safety Committee hearing on background checks and gun violence protective orders. #mnleg, #expectus2018 pic.twitter.com/qITqOPluVd

March 1, 2018

We built the machinery over the past five years that can accommodate all these new members. We have a chapter in every single state. Its a robust leadership system with volunteers, and each has a different role. That has enabled us to plug them in immediately.

Weve been creating this movement on the ground and now we can make sure were accommodating this moment that has happened.

KUAF 91.3 NPR (@KUAF)

As the #GunDebate continues, the Northwest Arkansas chapter of @MomsDemand recently had 300+ attendees at their monthly meeting. Organizer, Stephanie Baker says, “We want to have conversations with people… and we want to fix this problem together.” https://t.co/axHtY5Q0lL pic.twitter.com/EKVDZOL5ij

February 28, 2018

Hockley said there was still room for a lot more.

Theres a huge amount of potential, she said. Were in all 50 states at the moment. But theres always a need for more penetration within those states.

The individual state legislation, and then at the federal level considerable policy is still required for gun safety reform, mental health and wellness and funding. Theres still a lot of room for growth in this movement.

Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand)

HAPPENING NOW: Moms Demand Action volunteers and members of the @Everytown Survivor Network have gathered in Lansing, Michigan to meet with their lawmakers. Today, theyll urge them to pass red flag legislation and keep guns out of schools. #ExpectUs #MIleg pic.twitter.com/rO0xVrUD8e

February 28, 2018

Hockley had just returned from the White House, where she met Donald Trump for a second listening meeting about gun violence in as many weeks.

Its easy to be cynical, and people can keep saying Nothings going to happen but then I think you fulfill your own prophecy, she said.

Its important to say, Hey, these conversations are happening. Weve heard different options coming out from the White House, some of them are very good, some of them are not so good.

But the fact that there are multiple solutions being discussed, that is good in and of itself. The more that this turns from a fight into a conversation focused on solutions, the greater chance we have for progress.

Facts matter, Inc. (@moiskd)

@MomsDemand volunteers at the SC Statehouse today.
We demand laws that will keep our children safe #SCtweets #Scpol #ExpectUs pic.twitter.com/bIy5rbBeYi

February 27, 2018

Watts declared a tipping point.

Its time for all Americans to get off the sidelines and to get involved in this issue and to make it a voting priority, and to remember in November which lawmakers are beholden to the NRA and to vote them out, throw them out, she said.

These movements take time. The NRA has a 30-year head start. It isnt going to happen overnight. Its going to take several election cycles.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/04/tipping-point-americans-organizing-more-than-ever-after-florida-shooting