It was 19 years ago today when the Columbine High School massacre shook the foundations of humanity, with 12 students and one teacher losing their lives to gun violence. It was a day that seemed like it would change everything, but since then, the prevalence of school shootings has only continued to rise, and so many more children have senselessly lost their lives to guns. In fact, according to a new study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, more people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the US in the past 18 years than in the entire 20th century. Clearly, something needs to change.
If you, like so many citizens (whether or not you are a parent) feel angry, helpless or devastated, it’s as vital as ever to dry your tears and get to work. There’s much you can do. Here are some ways to help enact change.
Sign a petition. Since the Brady law was passed more than 20 years ago, background checks have stopped upwards of three million gun purchases by felons, domestic abusers, fugitives and the like. But 40 percent of gun sales still go unchecked! Sign this petition from the Brady Campaign to demand lawmakers to change that.
Call your lawmakers. The group Everytown for Gun Safety also lets you fill out this form, then finds your senator and rep for you so you can let them know how you feel about gun control reform.
Show up and demonstrate. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense has chapters all over the country. Find an event and get involved in both national campaigns and issues local to your community.
Use social media. Tweet at your members of Congress. Even if you don’t know their names or handles, this form does it all for you, and you can even select from already-composed Tweets.
Put your money where your mouth is. More money assists in funding the movement—and helps counter the deep pockets of the opposition. Consider donating to Everytown for Gun Safety, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Americans For Responsible Solutions (started by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) and The Brady Campaign.
Join a movement. There are two nationwide efforts in which you can get involved locally: The Brady Campaign and Million Mom March. With 94 chapters, there’s probably not far from you.
Stay up to date. When you text ACT to 644-33, you’ll join the mobile list of Gun Sense Activists, run by Everytown for Gun Safety.