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Giving Compass' Take:
• Stanford Social Innovation Review examines the March For Our Lives Movement and how it's helped expose traditional gun lobbying talking points that focused on mental health, rather than easy access to firearms.
• Will this translate into more sensible gun policies in this country? As we've seen, change is slow, but youth advocacy has been remarkably effective in pushing for progress and getting results. One suggestion on how to build on this momentum is for the mental health sector to join the fray, deconstructing the shield that the NRA and other gun lobbying groups use to deflect greater scrutiny.
• For more on how March For Our Lives shifted the conversation, click here.
For years, the corporate gun lobby evoked America’s core value of freedom to fend off proposals to control guns. But with polls showing that 66 percent of Americans support more-stringent gun laws, the corporate gun lobby needed a diversion. And the lobby found it in the increasing incidence of mass shootings. It reframed gun violence in that context, placing blame for the problem on mental illness and pivoting away from gun policy.
In reality, mass shootings represent a fraction of gun violence. According to an online database, 471 people have been killed and 1,573 people have been injured in mass shootings in the nearly 10 months since May of last year. By comparison, an estimated 71,712 people were killed or injured by guns (not including self-inflicted injuries or deaths) during the same 10 months. In other words, three percent of gun violence injuries or deaths occurred during mass shootings, while 97 percent did not.
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, the false narrative played out in a very predictable manner: Expressions of shock and sadness accompanied pre-emptive labeling of mental illness in the shooter, followed by assertions that it was “too soon” to talk about changes in gun policy.
Then something remarkable happened: Along came a group of students from Parkland, Florida. And just as they were getting warmed up in drawing attention to gun policy in response to the mass shooting they had experienced, students from St. Sabina Academy and North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago opened their eyes to the wider reality of gun violence.
Read the full article about how the false narrative about gun violence has been exposed by Kevin T. Kirkpatrick at Stanford Social Innovation Review.