I chose not to write about the Parkland school shooting last week for a couple of reasons.

One, there is really nothing I can say or write that will do anything but offend or reinforce your pre-existing views on gun control. But more than anything, I figured school shootings have become so routine that we would go through the thoughts and prayers routine, followed by the “now is not the time to talk about it” shtick, while the NRA and its surrogates simply waited for it all to blow over-- but this feels different.

Following the Parkland shooting, the NRA found itself bushwhacked by a group it could not control as easily as politicians-- teenagers.

"If all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers then it’s time for victims to be the change we seek,” said Emma Gonzales, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student.

Turns out, when you are the literal targets of the NRA’s agenda, a shooting like Parkland’s gives you a platform. And the teens are using it more effectively than any adult ever has.

"They say that tougher gun laws do not reduce gun violence, we call BS," Gonzales said. "They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS."

The President, to his credit, sat and listened to survivors and the parents of victims. His idea of arming teachers fell flat with the group as it has with teachers unions.

The Parkland shooting demonstrated that even a trained and armed police officer can get cold feet taking on a shooter armed with an AR-15, yet somehow we expect a social studies teacher to run into a hail of bullets.

Still, the President is now a bigger threat to the NRA than the teens, for one reason-- he unapologetically values flexible.

He has been on both sides of nearly every major issue. And on the issue of gun control, he’s turning out to be a loose cannon. And he might be uniquely qualified to lead on the gun issue because a populist President values popularity more than the support of the gun lobby. 

The President has now ordered the Justice Department to draw up a rule banning bump stocks and says he is open to raising the age limit to 21 for purchasing AR-15’s and stiffening background checks.

These are small, common sense compromises that most Americans and gun owners support. Politicians have always ignored young people because they know they don’t go to the polls. Which is why maybe this only feels different. The rallies and NRA boycotts aside, Congress is showing no sign of movement on the President’s gun reform agenda.

But if this student movement continues through the mid-terms… our kids could make a difference once they turn 18, by voting as if their lives depend on it.

John's opinions are his own and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees. 

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