The largest advocates now for gun control seem to be the teenagers who have seen first hand the destruction that assault weapons have caused in schools. According to The New York Times:
‘Driven by rage and grief over one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history, students from across the country were taking action in hopes of pushing their lawmakers to rethink their positions on gun control, even as the Florida State House rejected a move on Tuesday to consider a bill that would ban assault rifles.’
Now, Democratic billionaire activist Tom Steyer along with two prominent gun safety groups are making a push to get high school students registered to vote by ahead of the midterm elections. According to POLITICO:
‘Steyer’s NextGen America group is working with Giffords — the group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, after she was shot in 2011 — and Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The effort is kicking off with a $1 million donation from Steyer.’
‘In the wake of this shooting in Parkland, what we saw was [that] the difference between this shooting and other shootings is these were older kids, and they had a voice that was incredibly powerful on a topic where elected officials had been paid for years — or decades — to look the other way.’
Steyer’s group has been focused on college campuses and this new push will extend their efforts beyond that in hopes of igniting enthusiasm in more young people who will take their views about gun reform to the polls.
‘We’ve always said the millennials are the biggest and least politically represented group in the U.S. This is exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing.’
‘The effort, which will include a national voter registration drive, will focus on states and districts represented by incumbent Republican lawmakers who have taken money from the National Rifle Association and voted against gun control measures.’
Gabby Giffords said in a statement that the coalition was set to release on Thursday evening:
‘If this Congress won’t act to protect our kids, we must elect one that will. If the politicians who have benefited from millions of dollars in NRA cash won’t pass laws to make our schools and communities safer, we will vote them out. Today, students from Parkland and across the country are inspiring the country to be better. Come November, many of those young Americans will be making the difference themselves as they cast their votes for the first time.’
In states where it is allowed, they will work to pre-register students who are not yet 18 years of age. The effort will also include digital and mail registration pushes.
Steyer is the Democrats’ largest donor in recent election cycles, donating close to $200 million. Steyer has spent $20 million on his campaign to impeach Donald Trump.
The new voter registration drive will begin on March 25, which is the day after protests are planned for gun safety sparked by the Parkland shooting.
Featured image by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images