Backs of people standing watching a speaker on a screen

On March 24, 2018, over 1.2 million people across the country rallied and marched to show the political establishment and the gun lobby that the American people are serious about gun control. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. As a father of two small children, I can’t always make it to every protest. Don’t get me wrong, protesting is in my blood, and my children have been to their fair share already, but on March 14, I was conscripted to help with a seasonal egg hunt. The key to being an activist parent is figuring out how to give your children a better future while allowing them to have meaningful childhoods. That day, in the name of meaningful childhood, I bundled up and hid some eggs.

However, just because I was stuck in the middle of a field “hiding” (indiscriminately throwing) plastic eggs didn’t mean I couldn’t participate in the events of the day. I am lucky enough to be an administrator on the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagramaccounts for the Columbus Free Press. As such, I knew that I had a venue to express my support for those lucky enough to make it to the event in person.

So, how did I get my social media ammunition? Easy. Friends! I sent a group message out to friends from across the country who I knew would be attending their local marches. Because of these awesome activists, I had several first person accounts of how protests around the country were going; I then shared them with our followers on our social media platforms. 

The main event in Columbus took place in the fields to the west of COSI.Thousands gathered to hear impassioned speeches.  

After the speeches, rally attendees marched to the statehouse. Many left their protest signs in an act of civil disobedience to drive the need for change home to our legislatures.

Next Steps

With all of this said, it is not enough to just watch on social media every time. Even the busiest of us need to take part when we can. Here are some ways you can follow up on this critical issue.

Student Walkouts

  • On March 14, students around the country walked out of class in protest of our nation’s lax gun laws. Local events occurred in Worthington, Clintonville, and elsewhere.
  • On April 20, the 19 year anniversary of the Columbine Shootings, students backed by the Womens’ March on Washingtonare planning another stage of walkouts. Stay tuned on their site, or your local teenager, for what exactly those actions will look like.

Hold Politicians Accountable

  • With this issue in particular, it is critical to hold your elected representatives accountable. Especially Sen. Rob Portman. Our own Senator from Ohio is the top recipient of NRA money in the state. We must make our displeasure of his cozy relationship with the Gun Lobby known until we have the chance to vote him out of office.
  • Gov. John Kasich has backed a Republican bill to create a “red flag” law that would attempt to keep violent people from getting guns. This would also create a statewide database of gun owners and ban armor piercing ammunition.
  • Become educated on your gubernatorial candidates positions regarding gun control. Here are the fast facts:
  • Bill O’Neill (D) favors a mandatory permitting process
  • Dennis Kucinich (D) favors a statewide ban on assault rifles in addition to mandatory permitting
  • Richard Cordray (D) proposes universal background checks, but had previously earned top ratings from the NRA
  • Joe Shiavoni (D) has recently introduced a bill that would help improve school safety measures
  • Mary Taylor (R) stubbornly refuses to budge in favor of any sort of gun control
  • Mike DeWine (R) proposes a mental health professional to be stationed in every school and more stringent background checks
  • Constance Gadell-Newton(Green) opposes Stand Your Ground laws and would require police officers with diagnosted PTSD to either give up their guns or be removed from the force.

Jeremy is a sociology professorand stay at home dad. He is also on the board of the Columbus Free Press. He regularly posts for the Columbus Free Presson Twitter (@freepressorg), Facebook (@columbusfreepress), and Instagram (@columbus_free_press).