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“America’s mass shooting generation is mobilizing”: Survey shows gun violence is key issue for teens
Students from Westglades Middle School arrive at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on national walk out day. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The deadly Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, has galvanized a generation of young Americans into political action on the issue of gun control. Now, according to a new survey released on Tuesday, they’re more eager than ever to take their animus to the polls.

According to a survey by Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords, gun violence prevention is the top issue in deciding who to vote for among young people who will be eligible to participate in the 2018 midterms elections.

Students rally in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 14.
Students rally in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, March 14. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Additionally, 72% of respondents said that they agreed somewhat or completely with the statement, “If politicians continue to do nothing in the wake of more and more people dying from gun violence, they should not be re-elected.” Nearly half said that they would actively work to “un-elect” politicians who oppose stronger gun laws.

On March 24, the “March For Our Lives” rally will see young people in Washington, D.C. and other cities across the country take to the streets to demand that elected officials prioritize gun safety as an issue.

High school senior D’Angelo McDade, right, leads a march in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood during a walkout to protest gun violence.
High school senior D’Angelo McDade, right, leads a march in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood during a walkout to protest gun violence. Martha Irvine/AP

In an interview, Giffords political director Isabelle James said that the energy shown by young people on guns could have political implications even beyond the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

“I think this is a strong indicator that lawmakers on the wrong side of this issue should be nervous that there could be a spike in turnout among this whole voting block of young people who are newly engaged, and who feel disrespected by the lawmakers who have prioritized special interests over their lives,” she said.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, and mass shooting survivors, from left, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Alex Wind participate in a panel discussion about guns.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, and mass shooting survivors, from left, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Alex Wind participate in a panel discussion about guns. Steven Senne/AP

Although the poll surveyed young people ages 15 to 30, reducing gun violence is a popular issue among teenaged respondents in particular. Of those surveyed, 60% of 15- to 18-year-olds said that they are “passionate” about reducing gun violence.

“For a lot of these teens, this is their first foray into the civic or political process, and they’re connecting to the issue of gun safety,” James said. “For this generation that’s had to grow up with active shooter drills and who have been told by the adults in their lives that they’re just going to have to prepare for that inevitability, they’re rejecting that reality.”

John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement that “America’s mass-shooting generation is mobilizing.”

“They’re demanding stronger gun laws, and politicians who ignore the people’s will on gun safety do so at their own risk,” Feinblatt said.