Ananya Kumar-Banerjee

Yalies joined hundreds of thousands of activists and students advocating for gun control reform at March for Our Lives events across the country on Saturday.

The nationwide movement comes in the wake of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 that killed 17 students. The shooting — the latest in a string of mass school shootings this year — inspired survivors to begin the #NeverAgain movement, the leaders of which helped plan the nationwide marches.

“The energy was amazing,” said Katherine Hu ’21, a staff columnist for the News who marched in Boston. “The feeling was of anger but also of community at the same time. These people are all here in solidarity with you.”

For many Yale students interviewed by the News, the March for Our Lives events marked their first participation in a large scale protest.

Noah Shapiro ’21 said that, while he has long been a vocal advocate of gun control, the event on Saturday in New York City was the first time he was “marching for a change.” And Talia Morison-Allen ’21, who also supports stronger gun control and attended the February vigil on campus honoring victims of gun violence, described last weekend’s march in Washington, D.C. as a “historic moment.”

The marches and rallies featured speeches by survivors of gun violence, including Parkland students, and by activists like Naomi Wadler, who drew attention to the gun violence facing black women and girls during the D.C. rally.

Morison-Allen praised those leading the marches for acknowledging the privilege of some activists and also elevating the voices of people who have been advocating for gun control reform for years.

“It was overwhelming to see how prevalent gun violence is in the US,” she said.

The students expressed hope that the momentum of the marches will carry forward into legislative reform.

“I’ve been happy to see that there are so many people who care,” said Carrie Mannino ’20, a News editor, who attended the march in Pittsburgh and also organized the vigil on campus honoring gun violence victims. “The vibe going forward is focusing on education and educating students as voters and how they can make a difference on laws.”

Since the #NeverAgain movement has been pioneered by high school students, the majority of whom are unable to vote, Mannino said, it is crucial that college students continue to support their younger peers.

On Monday evening, Dwight Hall released a statement on gun violence, saying the organization stands “in solidarity with survivors of gun violence” and also “wholeheartedly support[s] the efforts of these survivors and activists.”

The email continued to explain that the community service organization “hope[s] to continue the momentum of these demonstrations, by spreading the mission of March for Our Lives, which seeks to increase awareness and strengthen voter registration efforts.” Dwight Hall is currently in conversation with representatives of the March for Our Lives movement to determine how it can best support their work on campus and in the New Haven community.

Many students are already envisioning how the movement can move forward on campus. Gabe Malek ’20, who attended the march in Washington, D.C., said he is confident that there are “outlets on campus” that will fuel the movement and that he hopes that students continue to voice support for the issue.

Grace Jin ’21, who also attended the march in Washington, D.C., said she hopes that advocates take a “grassroots approach” to the issue. “It’s a nonpartisan issue that’s going to need bipartisan support,” she said.

Hu emphasized that a bipartisan approach is critical for the movement. She pointed to a new student-led climate change plan supported by both the Yale College Republicans and the Yale College Democrats as an example of a “really powerful” bipartisan agreement.

Students also said that they hope to promote gun control reform during the midterm elections this fall, voting out politicians beholden to the NRA.

“I really hope this is the final straw,” Shapiro said. “I hope politicians realize that young people will vote them out if they do not act swiftly and properly with gun laws and restrictions.”

Chloe Glass |

  • Nancy Morris

    One has to wonder what these Yale students want done, or, rather, why they think anything they say they want done will have any effect on gun violence…especially school shootings. The Washington Post recently went back to the Newtown shooting in 2012 and chose 12 mass shootings to analyze. Fact-checkers concluded that none of the shootings would have been avoided by passing new laws currently under discussion.

    Researchers at Northeastern University say mass school shootings are extremely rare, that shootings involving students have been declining since the 1990s, and four times as many children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today.

    The factual correlation – if there is any – between gun ownership and killings is very weak or even negative. Various studies reveal the gun-control hypesters’ worst nightmare…more people are buying firearms, while firearm-related homicides and suicides are steadily diminishing. What crackpots came up with these conclusions? One set of statistics was compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice. The other was reported by the Pew Research Center.

    In a February 22 article, New York Magazine came to a similar conclusion, noting:

    Schools in the United States are safer today than at any time in recent memory. Criminal victimization in America’s education facilities has declined in tandem with the nation’s collapsing crime rate. Meanwhile, as of 2013, the year after the Newtown massacre, mass shootings accounted for only 1.5 percent of all gun deaths in the United States, or 502 total fatalities.

    New York was drawing on research from the US Justice Department showing that “school victimization” rates have plummeted since 1992.

    Do These Yale students read about such things? Do they care? A bit more attention to reality and an awareness of demonstrated cause-and-effect, and a bit less to the “vibes” and “energy” of the gatherings that are hi-lighted in this article, would be a start. And an indication of an awareness that the particular “survivor” students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who have moved into the limelight in the aftermath of this horrible event are sounding awfully creepy and extremist, especially David Hogg, who said (among other bizarre things) on “Good Morning America”: “Today we are going to start a revolution.” Well, no.

    • ethanjrt

      This is a hilarious amalgam of lines lifted directly from various talking heads’ ill-informed or (more likely) deliberately disingenuous op-eds. (Forbes, Washington Times, etc.) Think for your self a bit. Start with some research on state-by-state OR country-by-country homicide rates vs gun ownership. Follow up with homicide rates vs % of American households owning guns over time (doesn’t fit the “more guns, less crime” narrative so well, does it?). Go from there. A whole new world of information will open up before your eyes, I promise.

      A little critical thinking goes a long way.

      • Nancy Morris

        Actually, the soaring number of guns and plunging homicide rates fit very well. Your comment amounts to simply a complaint that you don’t like the facts.

        Are the Washington Post and FiveThirtyEight now to be considered as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy included in your sweeping “etc?” Here is a recent Washington Post article by Leah Libresco, a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight concerning the current state of gun research. It addresses some of your grosser misconceptions. Interestingly, this professional researcher doesn’t say anything about the “whole new world of data” to which you aver … but can’t cite at all:

        “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

        “Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

        “Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 [] lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

        “I researched [] the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

        “When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features [], such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

        “As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. [] Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless. []

        “As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths [] in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

        “However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

        “By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted [] by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

        “Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

        “Older men, who make up the largest share [] of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men [] need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts. []”

        “Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ [] plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.”