The topic of gun control has been at the forefront of just about every American’s mind. For some, the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have reinvigorated the need for the anti-gun movement, while others had never stopped fighting for the movement in the first place. As citizens continue to push government officials for stricter gun control legislation, we can look toward the many veteran activists who’ve continually fought for gun legislation reform for inspiration, as their work, in part, directly impacts how our youth has grown to view weapons in this country. In addition, we can look toward the rise of prominent young activists that have led the gun control conversation to discover how regardless of our ages, we, too, can contribute to the fight.
A quick disclaimer: at Make Muse, we typically strive to focus on uplifting the voices of women and non-binary individuals. We’ve decided to also include the voices of men in this particular piece, as the topic of gun control is so broad and all-encompassing that it affects all across the gender spectrum. Considering how gun violence affects women and non-binary people at unique intersections (in the U.S. alone, women “are 21 times more likely to die by firearm homicide than women in other high-income countries”), the advocacy for the reduction of guns via activists who are men greatly impacts how we, too, are able to safely navigate the world.
Congresswoman Lucy McBath proudly represents Georgia’s 6th congressional district while also leading the fight for gun control legislation reform. She became inspired to join the movement for gun control after her 17-year-old son died as a victim of gun violence in 2012. Her commitment to preventing America’s youth from being impacted by gun violence has prevailed ever since then: she has become a spokeswoman for the gun control movement in the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, campaigned with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and helped to defeat a proposed campus carry bill in the Florida legislature.
McBath’s website can be accessed here, where you can learn more about the causes she fights for, contact her office, and sign up for her newsletter.
As one of the 2018 Parkland shooting survivors, 19-year-old Emma Gonzalez is a co-founder of the student-led, gun control political action committee Never Again MSD. She has helped organize the March for Our Lives and has made a number of viral speeches and media appearances to help demonstrate the need for her cause. At the March for Our Lives, she famously led a six-minute moment of silence—the duration of the shooting spree she and her peers fled from.
You can help Gonzalez’s cause by donating to the March for Our Lives Action Fund here.
One of the young activists from Parkland, Florida, Chris Mirsky has made incredible strides in pushing for gun control legislation. As the political director of the March for Our Lives, the work he has done for the movement has been less high-profile, but is still jaw-dropping: he registered to be a lobbyist at the age of 19 and has been in the ear of prominent congress people ever since, trying to convince lawmakers to pursue action against gun violence. He’s even “set a goal for himself before he leaves for college at the end of the summer: persuade Congress to shell out $50 million for gun violence prevention research.”
Support Mirsky’s work by donating to the March for Our Lives Action Fund, accessible here.
The day after the Sandy Hook shooting, stay-at-home mother of five Shannon Watts found herself not being able to stay silent. She took to Facebook to create a group where she and others could discuss potential methods for gun violence prevention. The Facebook group eventually grew into its own movement and organization: Watts swiftly became the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization with chapters in every state that aims to push stricter gun control legislation. Out of love and concern for her own children and for the younger generation in America, Watts strives to prevent gun violence from having to affect us all. Currently, Moms Demand Action has teamed up with Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States, to reach even more people.
If you want to support Watts’s activism, consider donating to Moms Demand Action here.
Kris Brown is the president of the organization Brady United: America’s oldest gun control advocacy group, which is unique in its goal to unite all for gun control advocacy regardless of political affiliation. Brown has a long history of shaping policy and activism on Capitol Hill: she, for example, worked with Representative Jim Morgan to pass the Brady Act, which at one point mandated background checks on gun sales. Recently, she has created Brady’s “Team Enough” campaign after the Parkland, Florida tragedy—an intersectional, student-led initiative that encourages America’s youth to join hands in the battle for gun control.
Brady United currently accepts donations here on their website.
One of the most prominent young activists that survived the Parkland shooting, David Hogg is one of the founders of Never Again MSD. As a high-profile leader in the movement at the age of 19, Hogg has been instrumental in staging many boycotts, protests and marches for the gun control movement. He and his sister wrote the New York Times-bestselling book #Never Again: A New Generation Draws the Line, the profits from which are all being donated to charity.
If you want to support Hogg, check out the March for Our Lives Action Fund, which accepts donations here.
Of the young activists on this list, Wadler is by-far the youngest at 12 years of age. She is famous for making viral speeches against gun violence, and especially advocates for the black, female victims of gun violence that are often overlooked. In addition to speaking at the March for Our Lives, she also spoke at the Women in the World Annual Summit, the Teen Vogue summit, and the Tribeca Film Festival, where she received a standing ovation. In 2018, she was included in Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21” list.
In my research for the most notable gun activists of our current time, what stood out the most to me were the sheer number of young activists that have taken to fighting for gun control legislation in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings. If the list above wasn’t of any indication, these young activists are joining hands with veteran activists to combat America’s gun control question at an awe-inspiring rate. The generation-spanning effort it has been shown to take action against gun violence in America is an important one, demonstrating the foundations the older generation has laid out for the younger ones to make their voices heard.
The haunting, nationwide trauma fueled by the threat of school shootings has compelled our younger generation to take an unprecedented stand against gun violence; our youth’s activism is a sure-fire sign that our nation is crafting the next wave of leaders who will gladly take the reigns from those who came before them. Be sure to keep an eye out on the leaders listed above especially, and remember: change has always been a group effort, so if you are interested in joining the fight, check out your local gun control organizations.