MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As funeral services started for victims of last week’s shooting at a Florida high school, many teenagers are trying to take the fight for gun control into their own hands. Monday, students in Washington D.C. staged a die-in protest outside the White House.
The president, however, is at his Florida golf club.
Meanwhile, survivors of the Florida shooting are organizing a nationwide demonstration scheduled for March 24 in Washington D.C., called “The March For Our Lives.”
And later this week, many will travel to the State Capitol to deliver petitions calling for a Florida ban on assault weapons.
Their advocacy and anger serve as a stark new facet to the now familiar routine following mass shootings. The call to action by Florida students mirrors what has happened after other mass shootings.
But in the past these calls for change have faded and ultimately failed. Student survivors insist this time will be different and they are taking aim at the NRA.
“From here on we are creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA,” student and shooting survivor Cameron Kasky said.
The issue of NRA donations has already proved slippery for one major Minnesota political figure. Last fall, in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58, Congressman Tim Walz, the leading DFL candidate for governor donated nearly $19,000 of NRA contributions to a veterans group.
Walz’s move came after the donations were flagged by two of his Democratic opponents who show no sign of letting up their attacks.
“The bottom line is he took the money,” Professor Larry Jacobs said.
Democratic Congressman Colin Peterson and Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen have each received $20,000 in NRA donations in recent years. Political analyst Larry Jacobs says for Peterson, who represents a conservative rural district, the donations will not be an issue. But for Paulsen, who represents a more moderate suburban district, the donations could hurt.
“The question though is will this energy, this mobilization and the pressure that’s being put on politicians who take money from the NRA, will that last or will it fade as we have seen again and again after these horrific incidents,” Jacobs said.
As for whether the youth-driven outrage will spread locally, we did find one GoFundMe page raising money to send Sibley High students to the Washington march.
Public records show that two other Minnesota members of Congress, Republicans Jason Lewis and Tom Emmer, have received donations from the NRA.
They each received less than $4,000.