Opinion: Is marching the right response to gun violence?

By the Editorial Board

With the March for Our Lives taking place this weekend, our editors took a moment to reflect on how effective this march may be in solving the gun violence problem


Cam: Sadly, marching will not change gun law policies. Though the effort is valid and courageous, the marches will not result in significant political change. The marches are symbolic for the innocent lives lost and signify that there is a major problem in our country that people are acknowledging. However, the marches will not change political policy. The people in the march will be the source of change in guw policy. The only way that a significant change can be made to end the senseless violence is by people electing officials who will fight for change. Removing the officials from office who get backing from the NRA and believe the solution is to give teachers firearms is the only way to stop these tragedies. Marches are unifying and give a voice to the voiceless, but votes are now the solution.

Short answer: Marching is only the uniting factor, voting is the actual source of change.


Branwyn: Honestly, I’ve never been sure of how much marching accomplishes. It’s definitely proven effective in the past, but I feel like every time a march has actually enacted change it has been attached to a larger movement, like the Civil Rights Movement of the ‘60s. We might be on the verge of a larger movement to end gun violence though. I don’t recall there ever being this much discussion after a school shooting before, even Sandy Hook. Conversation is a good start. It’s lead to change in the past, and it can lead to change again. I have hope that our country may finally enact some gun control measures not because people are marching, but because people are talking. They’re talking, and that conversation is sparking action, in the form of protests and marches. If we refuse to back down, if we refuse to shut up, the government will have to listen to us eventually. (155)

Short answer: Marching can work, because it is a attached to a larger conversation, which could grow into a larger movement.


Francesca: YES Marching for awareness of gun control and the harmful effects of loose gun policies is effective, because of the publicity and attention it receives from news stations and media. Remaining still and silent is the equivalent of agreeing with the current gun policies. Historically, Martin Luther King used marches, clearly proven to be effective as we have progressed in African American Civil Rights, as well as the Women’s Rights movement in the early 1900s. It was the march on Washington in August of 1963 that set the stage for King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, historically one of the most important speeches next to JFK’s Inauguration speech. Marching may seem ineffective, but it starts the spark of a revolution. To change laws, we must speak out against them and express our disapproval through acts of nonviolence like marching. Words, borne through marches, have stuck with us for decades after, including “I have a dream” and “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” A march is only ineffective if it is not remembered. Today we are talking about the effectiveness of marching, meaning that it has effect if we are talking about it.


Short answer: Marching is effective because it sparks debate.


Felicia: NO: Marching has certainly been an influential tool for movements throughout all of history. While they have helped to create change in the past, do they still have the same influence today? It seems that many people have participate in marches recently, but there are rarely any large outcomes. Gun control is a hugely controversial topic, and while staying silent about it is certainly not an option, when it comes to making change, I think that marching, alone, will not accomplish anything. People who attend the marches already know what the issue is, and they know of multiple ways that the issue can be resolved. The issue at hand is getting the attention of those who disagree, those who do not understand, and those who disregard the issue altogether. While participating in a march says a lot about the people who do it, it seems to do very little in the face of causing mass action. People need to take individual action and be a role model for others. When it comes to elections, people need to vote. When it comes to children, they need to be loved and supported and show love. When it comes to students, other students and faculty need to report anything they see as suspicious and it needs to be ACTED on. When it comes to parents, they need to keep tabs on their kids involvement online, show their kids love and support, be there to teach them right from wrong and how to handle those who mistreat them. Individual people need to be the change they wish to see. A large group of individuals acting on this issue can turn into a tidal wave of change. Individuals need to hold themselves accountable for what happens and make personal changes. If every person were to make a change that positively corresponds with reducing gun violence, then there would be a revolution and absolute change.


Short Answer: Marching does not work alone. It needs to be paired with people who are going to make changes on their own individual level and be a role model and influencer for others.



The March for our Lives taking place this weekend may very well be nothing more than another step in a seemingly endless trek to end gun violence. But that does not mean that people should stop walking. While it is easy to see this as just another political stunt, or an impotent gathering, it is brave to keep a dogged faith that things like this will have an eventual impact.


The proof is in the previous activist movements which have taken place throughout history and worked their way to success. These marches have spurred further action, conversation, and political change, and we must continue to have faith in this process.


This march sets a national tone, with sister marches taking place across the country. It follows in the wake of the successful women’s march, and no doubt hopes to share similar success. Hopefully, at the very least the march will keep gun violence at the top of the priority list for this country. Either way, it confirms the trend that marches are a process to change in the modern political landscape, though this may prove the largest challenge we have marched against yet.


Short answer: Yes, because it follows a tested path to change. Something’s gotta happen eventually.



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