How to Help Honor the Lives Lost in the Florida School Shooting
Yesterday an expelled student took the lives of 14 children and 3 teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
It was among the deadliest mass shootings in American history, with the most ever killed on a high school campus.
The shooter used a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, which is the same gun model found in the arsenals of some of the nation's worst mass shootings (think: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the country music festival in Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the movie theater in Colorado, and the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas).
Under Florida law, the shooter's possession of the gun was perfectly legal.
More than 33,000 people are fatally shot each year in the United States. The National Rifle Association (NRA) spent more than $30 million in the 2016 presidential campaign. The Trump White House and the Republican-controlled Congress have rewarded the NRA mightily, loosening many gun restrictions over the past year.
Just one day before the Florida school shooting, CNN reported that a NRA lobbyist helped write a draft of the Trump Administration's plans to cut gun regulations.
Meanwhile, NRA's lobbyist in Florida has been pushing to allow gun possession on school campuses across the state, including elementary schools.
How to help families of the victims
If you live in Florida, you can donate blood today.
Donate to the Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund, sponsored by the Broward Education Foundation.
How to help end gun violence
Read Vox's excellent summary of where the gun control issue stands today.
Call your Senator and House representative (202.224.3121) to urge passage of the bipartisan Fix NICS Act (National Instant Criminal Background Check System - S. 2135 in the Senate, and H.R. 4434 in the House). The legislation was proposed in the wake of the Sutherland Springs, Texas mass shooting and would strengthen background checks for gun purchases.
While you have them on the phone: tell them to get rid of the Dickey Amendment, which since 1996 has prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from studying gun violence. The exact language that was inserted after lobbying by the NRA: "None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” [Thanks Jennie Kim for the tip.]
Connect with and support gun control groups fighting enormous odds against a well-funded NRA, like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Stop Handgun Violence, Violence Policy Center, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, and No NRA Money.
The Community Justice Reform Coalition is working to center communities of color in the work to end gun violence and promote criminal justice reform.
Two Stoneman Douglas students have also just launched Parents Promise to Kids, a project to get parents to pledge that they will vote for politicians who support gun control.
Update: Companies like Delta, United, Enterprise, and MetLife have recently cut ties with the NRA. See this Huffington Post list of companies that still have a financial relationship with the NRA.
How to help end domestic violence
Sign this petition to urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R. 3207), which would close the "boyfriend loophole" to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Connect with and support the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as well as national domestic violence prevention groups like the National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Battered Women's Justice Project, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and Futures Without Violence.