How To Protest Gun Violence After The Annapolis Shooting & Make Your Voice Heard
On Thursday, a mass shooting in Annapolis brought Americans yet another chapter in a tragically familiar narrative, as police confirmed the death of five staffers at local paper The Capital Gazette. The story followed a recognized pattern — one armed man opening fire on a group of unsuspecting victims. And for those who are fed up with that recurring narrative, there are several ways to protest gun violence.
The past 12 months have seen the United States hit with a string of deadly shootings that have raised questions over the current state of gun laws. A mass shooting in Las Vegas left 58 dead in October. Another 26 people died in Sutherland Springs, Texas, after a lone gunman opened fire in November on a church congregation. Three months later, a shooter killed 17 people — 13 of them teenagers — at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Another ten people died in May from a school shooting in Texas.
But the slew of gun violence has raised more than just questions. At least one movement — the March for Our Lives — has risen up in response to the Parkland shooting. Nearly a million students across the nation walked out of class on March 14 in support of gun control reform.
But you don't have to wait for next year's march. Here are a few immediate ways you can make your voice heard on gun control.
1Donate To Gun Control Organizations.
There are several organizations that are working to counter well-funded gun lobbies like the NRA. One of those is the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). Per their website homepage, CSGV prioritizes "research, strategic engagement, and effective policy advocacy" in pursuing its goal to eradicate gun violence. The organization has a donate page, but they also encourage you to join their email list and tweet at your senators and representatives.
2Participate In Marches & Protests.
With March for Our Lives set to be an annual event, young people and students have a yearly date of protest to put on their calendar.
But other marches and protests are a regular occurrence in the United States, so no one need wait until next spring. For instance, gun control advocates protested outside the NRA convention in May. Right now, the Parkland students behind March for Our Lives are on a 75-stop bus tour throughout the summer.
3Call, Email, & Tweet At Your Elected Representatives.
One of the key perks of living in a democracy is that elected representatives are duty bound to respond to the needs — and ultimately, votes — of their constituents. So gun control supporters should definitely pick up their phones and open up their laptops to get in touch with their House representatives and senators.
The Daily Kos put together a handy cheat sheet of phone numbers for every office of every single senator, organized by state. You can also find out who your House representative is and get their contact information using the government's own database.
Multiple sources say phone calls are the most effective route to getting a politician's attention. But if that's not the communication mode for you, then consider emailing them and/or tweeting at them.
4Support Local & State Politicians Who Are Pro-Gun Control Reform.
It can be tempting for many supporters of gun control reform to focus almost exclusively on effecting change at the national level. But, as history has proven time and again, Congress is a remarkably difficult place to move gun control forward.
But local and state laws arguably have just as much impact on gun control on the real-life level as anything likely to come from Washington, D.C., any time soon. If you're wondering just who your local and state politicians are, Common Cause has a tool that allows you to find your federal, state, and local representatives, and includes useful links to their websites.
Local and state elections may not boast much media coverage, but the legislation and regulations that fall under their control can be just as important.
5Buy A Song By Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt.
Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame has put out a song called "Found Tonight," along with Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt. (Bonus: fans of the musical will recognize certain riffs incorporated from Hamilton.) A portion of the funds raised by song sales will go to the March for Our Lives initiative. You can download the single here.
There are plenty of ways for those in favor of gun control to ensure their voice is heard on this urgent issue.