I'm not here to debate gun control, that's for another time. But regardless of whether or not you're on the side of pro-gun control or anti-gun control, we can all agree on one thing: things are changing.
Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the conversations revolving around access to ammunition, automatic weapons, and guns in general have been getting heated. Students from MSDHS are fighting for tighter laws, while others are fighting for their right to bare arms.
This isn't different from any other mass shooting, either. Since December of 2012 when the Sandy Hook shooting saw 20 elementary school students killed, countless mass shootings at schools, nightclubs, and concerts have taken place.
After each one, "thoughts and prayers" have been offered from politicians, but nothing more than that. When citizens try to encourage gun control, they're met told to "stop politicizing the death of children."
After no change, many people assumed that if the death of 20 elementary school children couldn't change the minds of pro-gun advocates, nothing would. As one father put it, "your right to bare arms is not more important than my child's right to not be shot in a classroom."
But regardless of which side of the gun fight you are on, it's hard to ignore the sheer facts: change is happening, and it's all at the hands of high school students. Emma Gonzalez, a senior at MSDHS, gave an empowering speech while calling for action from the government.
"We are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers," she said. "Then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."
It seems that their voices are being heard, too, because even the President of the United States is talking about it.
In a meeting with members of Congress at the White House on Wednesday, Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein proposed new legislation that would see the minimum age for purchasing assault rifles raise to 21 years old. President Trump, in a stunning move, boosted Senator Feinstein's bill. He said he would give “serious thought" to signing legislation to raise the minimum age.
“I think it’s something you have to think about,” Trump said. “It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait until I’m 21 to get a handgun but I can get [an assault rifle] weapon at 18."
President Trump also didn't rule out banning the weapons altogether. This change is huge in terms of gun control and the safety of others. The bill would also require more extensive background checks for potential gun owners which would hopefully rule out people with severe mental illnesses.
Trump's comments throughout the entire meeting were very clear: gun control needs to change. He seemed to defy the NRA at almost every turn, which is shocking considering how big of a supporter he is.
"Some of you people are petrified of the NRA, you can't be petrified," the president told members of Congress.
In case you didn't get the message...THIS. IS. MASSIVE.
This could be the change that would prevent senseless deaths from irrelevant weapons. There is no reason for anyone to own an AR-15 unless they're in active combat. To have the President of the United States, who has previously not shown support for gun control legistaltion, turn around and support not only a proposed bill, but a bill that was proposed by a member of the opposition, it's a sign of the times...things are changing for the first time in a long time.
Another significant change is that massive corporations have decided to change the way they sell guns to customers.
Walmart, Kroger, and Dick's Sporting Goods are all among retailers who have either chosen to restrict the sale of firearms to those over the age of 21, or in the case of Dick's, stop selling military-grade semi-automatic weapons.
While these companies still support the Second Amendment, they're also making it clear that they're willing to do their part in order to make the United States a safer place for everyone.
This change is not something we've seen from corporations in the past, and it's proving that youth and social media have voices that can provoke action.
Like I said at the beginning, the argument of whether or not gun control is necessary is not the point. The point is that change is happening for the first time in a long time. The point is that the President of the United States has taken a stand against beside a Democratic Senator. The point is that corporations are starting to realize their power in the the world.