Guns are everywhere across the United States. After being massacred in schools and neighborhoods throughout the nation’s cities, suburbs and rural places, youth are upset about the absence of gun control. Luckily, today young people are taking action to make a difference. They are working with adults and on their own to change laws, change hearts and minds, and make a difference throughout the country. Here is some information the Freechild Institute has collected regarding youth and gun control.
Youth Engagement in Gun Control
Youth-Led Activism — Taking direct action to raise awareness, challenge assumptions and change the country’s opinions about gun control can allow young people to change the world. Youth activism allows children and youth to be democratically represented in the media, at home, in legislatures and throughout every discussion across the country, even in places that would deny them.
Running for Office — Whatever age they are, young people can run for office; making a stand and drawing attention to gun control is the point, always. Building momentum requires young people stay committed to gun control throughout their campaigns and if they are elected. Staunch adult champions for engaging youth in politics to build support for gun control is necessary too, whether they are young people or adults.
Youth as Voters — Demanding youth rights and fighting for youth suffrage can transform gun control. Whether using a protest vote by going to a voting place and casting a blank ballot to show youth dissatisfaction with the current gun laws, practices and attitudes across the country. Youth as voters can also vote for a youth candidate who is capable of sharing youth voice.
Things Needed for Youth Engagement in Gun Control
Learning — In order to become engaged in changing the world through gun control, young people can learn about political systems, political actions, political issues and other realities within and around the political system. They can also conduct learning activities to leverage social change beyond laws.
Training — Training young people to change the world through politics means teaching them the skills they need to become involved in gun control. These skills can include communication, problem-solving, change management and conflict resolution skills. It also means participating in knowledge-sharing activities designed to build their capacity to take powerful action for gun control.
Inspiration — After 12, 14, 17 or 21 years of being told their voices don’t matter in gun control, young people may need inspiration to become engaged. Never in history have children and youth been seen or treated as serious political actors; given the opportunity, they will be. Inspiration from stories, parables, biographies and other sources can help prepare and sustain youth in gun control and beyond.
You Might Like…
- Youth and Youth Rights
- Youth and Government
- Youth and Nonviolence and Peace
- “How to Start Youth Engagement” by Adam Fletcher
- Youth Political Action Institute
- “After Parkland, Students Launch Historic Youth-Led Movement to End Mass Shootings” by Democracy Now!
- “The Most Powerful Photos From Today’s Youth-Led Gun Protests” by Allison Sanchez for UPROXX
- “Teenagers Pour Into the Streets Calling for Gun Control After Parkland Shooting,” by Edwin Rios for Mother Jones
- “Florida shooting survivors rally for gun control” by the BBC
- “Parkland students are a part of America’s longstanding tradition of youth-led activism” by Elham Khatami for ThinkProgress
- “U.S. students turn to gun-control group after school shooting” by Barbara Goldberg for Reuters
- “Four reasons the NRA should fear the Parkland student survivors” by John Blake-Profile for CNN
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth involvement in politics in your community or organization, contact us.