The parents of the Parkland students aren't messing around when it comes to gun reform. As The Florida Sun-Sentinel detailed on Wednesday, a collection of these parents, who've been hugely impacted by mass gun violence, have decided to jump into the political arena ― specifically, some Parkland parents will fight the NRA with a PAC they've formed, aiming to exert their influence on the political process.
The city of Parkland, Florida was rocked by a massively deadly mass shooting back on Feb. 14, when a gunman opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and injuring many more. In the aftermath of the shooting, many of the surviving students got involved, passionately and with great determination, in activism supporting new gun control laws. This activism led to multiple national school walkouts, as well as the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. in March.
Now, Jeff Kasky ― the father of Cameron Kasky, one of the Parkland students who's been particularly visible in gun control activism since the shooting ― has filed to launch a political action committee, titled "Families vs. Assault Rifles." According to the Sun-Sentinel, the elder Kasky says he already has a "couple dozen" supporters, although the recruitment effort hasn't yet begun in earnest. The PAC has been active for more than a week now, and it's accepting donations.
The goal of the new PAC, according to The Hill, is to challenge elected officials backed by the National Rifle Association, and to put pressure on lawmakers to pass a new raft of gun control reforms, including a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, and bans on the sale of accessories like extended capacity magazines and bump stocks. The PAC's official website makes much the same case.
"FAMSVARPAC’s mission is two-fold and clear," the site's Our Mission page reads. "To remove the NRA from our political system, and then to amend the National Firearms Act of 1934 to include a BAN on assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines." The site also states that the PAC was founded by the parents of Parkland students, and that the protection of American children from gun violence is its foremost focus.
"FAMSVARPAC was founded by parents of students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, along with others with a vested interest in keeping our community and our entire country safe from the proliferation of military-style assault weapons — extraordinarily dangerous weapons designed for nothing more than killing the greatest amount of humans in the shortest possible time," the PAC's website explains.
The PAC will be going up against a political powerhouse in the NRA, which is widely considered one of the most potent and influential lobbying organizations in America, one that enforces more or less lockstep rigidity in the politicians it supports and donates to.
Although there are some conservative and centrist Democrats who've earned varying degrees of support from the NRA, there's no doubt that the Republican Party is where most of its money and influence is felt. At the organization's massive conference in Dallas, Texas earlier this month, in fact, no less than Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump showed up in support.
The NRA has been the target of many of the Parkland students, including Kasky, David Hogg, and Emma Gonzalez. Not all of the school's student body support the gun control efforts, to be clear ― there are some conservative, pro-gun students too, just like you'd expect ― but the supporters of new gun laws have been particularly visible and vocal in the months since the shooting. And now, it seems as if some of the community's parents are getting involved in the struggle, too.