The #MarchForOurLives Movement is a student-run organization that supports gun laws and gun prevention measures. Their official mission statement is “Not One More,” representing the idea that not one more person will be killed during a school shooting or any meaningless gun violence. Together, students across the nation have come together under this movement, holding marches in protest of current gun laws. This movement is also not specific to school shootings; it also addresses gun laws related to suicide, abuse, street violence, and generally the usage of guns as a harmful weapon against others. [1] This movement is one of the largest student run-organization protests in the history of the United States since the Vietnam War; drawing over 1 million people from around the world to come together and protest. [2] Social media played a large role in the March for Our Lives Movement, due to a multitude of factors, including the youth of this movement and the increased usage of social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat as ways to communicate across greater geographic distance. 

The March for Our Lives Movement started after the tragic mass school shooting incident at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This was the first key event that led to students from this high school to find the organization Never Again MSD. This group advocated for gun laws related to reform and control. After four days from the incident, students in Parkland organized the march. This was contributed to first allowing families to be able to mourn their losses and then for them to talk about gun control and also be able to obtain the permit to march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Eventually, one month from the Parkland school shooting, a national walkout day was held, where students all would walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes to commemorate each life lost during the Parkland school shooting. Millions of students across the nation participated in this march and came out and held a vigil for the students whose lives were lost.

Geographic Mapping

The most impacted areas in terms of where the most marches and walkouts occurred were in Washington D.C., along with within states such as California, Florida, and Massachusetts.

This picture was taken from a Snapchat screenshot of all the walkouts that occurred in 2018. [3]
Above is the image of all the areas where students held walkouts and march for our lives. [4]

The March For Our Lives at first was hosted in Washington, D. C., then the tour swiftly spread out to the entire United States and other continents.[18]

Individuals and Demographics




14 students, 3 faculty and staff members were killed and 17 more injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida by a 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz on Feb. 14, 2018.



Two Parkland survivors committed suicide.[7]


The March For Our Lives organized by about 800,000 people first took place in Washington, D.C., which was a student-led protest demanded stronger gun control measures such as a ban on assault-style weapons as well as criticizing officials who take donations from the National Rifle Association(NRA).[8][9]

March leaders, also survivors of the shooting, Emma González, David Hogg, Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Cameron Kasky, and other students share their experience demand on gun control on media and urging politicians and NRA to compromise on legislation to save lives.


over 880 sibling demonstrations were planned throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, to show support to the student survivors and protest for stricter gun laws. [10]

Key Actors

Following the school shooting at Marjory Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14th, Cameron Kasky, who was a junior at the school, announced the march four days later. He was shortly joined by four other friends who created the “Never Again” campaign in organizing the march.

Cameron Kasky at a March For Our Lives Rally in D.C. [43]

Cameron Kasky and his friends’ prompt response made them central figures in organizing the movement. They took their concerns to the national stage primarily through social media. As they posted new content, they frequently used the hashtags #NeverAgain and #MarchForOurLives, which made both hashtags go viral soon after.

In an interview with BBC, Kasky said: “I found myself frantically Facebook posting. It was what I knew how to do… The next morning, I was getting all these calls from reporters”.  – BBC

Leading up to the March 24th March, which was estimated to have had 800,000 participants, Kasky gained up to 400,000 new followers on Twitter, gaining increasing popularity with his posts. Kasky made several appearances on national television through interviews. During a CNN Florida Town Hall, Kasky famously confronted Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio by demanding that he does not receive any more potential donations from the NRA, which drew a lot of cheers from the audience and made the senator appear stunned. [44]


One of the twenty students who co-founded the Never Again MSD group with Cameron Kasky was Emma Gonzalez, and she also played a major role in delivery speeches in widely publicized events on television and with show hosts.

Emma Gonzalez Illustration with Quote [46]

Emma Gonzalez explained in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that her popular chant “We call B.S.,” was made because the four-syllable phrase was easy to remember and resonate through repetition.

Alongside Kasky and Gonzalez, David Hogg co-founded the Never Again MSD group, and helped organize the March 24th Washington D.C. rally. He appeared on talk shows such as The Dr. Phil Show with his sister in February, which helped with the initial coverage of the shootings with the mass public.

David Hogg giving a speech in Westminster Town Hall Forum [48]

Other activists who played major roles in the movement include David Hogg, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin, who were all co-founders of the Never Again MSD group.

Five Parkland students from Marjory Douglas High School, Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, and Alex Wind, made the cover of the April 2nd, 2018 issue of TIME Magazine. The story, titled “The School Shooting Generation Has Had Enough,” captures snapshots of the students’ everyday lives since the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 classmates and faculty members. [49]

Cover of April 2nd TIME Magazine Issue [50]

The 44th President of the U.S. Barack Obama wrote a column on the same TIME magazine praising the students for their advocacy for gun control. 

The incumbent President Donald J. Trump offered his prayers and condolences to the victims’ families, writing on Twitter, “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school”. He followed up with a televised address mentioning school safety and mental health issues. A few days after the school shooting, Trump ordered flags at state building to be flown at half-staff across the entire country.

President Obama wrote in the TIME magazine “This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty,” praising the students for raising more awareness of the apparent need for greater gun control in the country.

Other Republican politicians, such as Marco Rubio, was criticized for defending the NRA and emphasizing mental health issues over gun control advocacy as the main cause of the school shooting only a few days after the incident. [51]

A high number of celebrities, TV show hosts, film directors and singers donated to the movement, and publicly expressed support. Notably, Taylor Swift, posted a picture in support of the movement March For Our Lives on Instagram, with a caption that included: “No one should have to go to school in fear of gun violence. Or to a nightclub”. This quickly gained hundreds of thousands of likes. Selena Gomez, another famous pop artist, also posted the same Instagram photo stating: “Protect kids, not guns!”. The post quickly gained more than 1 million likes. Such public support from these celebrities made promoting the event and rallies highly unique as it is rare to see these kinds of musicians address political issues. [53]

Social Media Presence

Originally, protests occurred in response to multiple shootings across the nation, such as for the Charleston Shooting, but never reached past hundreds of people. With social media, information was relayed to a larger audience more quickly, giving more people aware of what was happening across the nation. [22] By National Walkout Day on April 20, 2018, the social media had followings over 1.3 million people and in Washington D.C. alone, 200,000 people attended the March For Our Lives protest, whom many younger adults attributed to the big social media presence. [23] The hashtag #MarchForOurLives was used 3.6 million times, and over 7.5 thousand tweets were directed at the NRA social media account.

This graph from Google Trends compares the searches of the “Parkland Shooting”, which referred to Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, to the March For Our Lives” protest “-related topics and the topic of  “Gun Control” throughout the year 2018 on Youtube in the United States. The red line represents the search of “Parkland Shooting”; the blue line represents the search of  “March For Our Lives”; the purple line represents the search of “gun control”; and the yellow and green lines respectively represent the search of the name of key advocates of the march, “Emma Gonzalez” and “David Hogg”. It appears that the term “Gun Control” become a popular inflection point on days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting happened on February  14, 2018. Also, the name of “David Hogg” and “Emma Gonzalez” are strongly associated with the topic of “Gun Control”. The second spike occurs during a time another major event March For Our Lives happen starting from March 24, 2018. The student advocates became the key figure pushing public opinions for gun control legislation.

The March For Our Lives Twitter started in February of 2018, with the Twitter handle, @AMarch4OurLives. Up to date, the Twitter account has 450,000 followers and are a student-run organization with a large social media presence. [24] The March For Our Lives Twitter has real time, up to date tweets about the movement. It includes tweets about the red flag bill being signed in from other March For Our Lives accounts based in different locations, such as NYC. [25] In addition, the March For Our Lives Twitter account also alerts their followers about the events that are happening, such as meetings at Town Halls or when certain protests are happening. [26] All of their posts follow certain guidelines and relevance, and they also continue to retweet their own tweets too.

Celebrities and politicians have traditionally dominated policy discussion on social media. Selena Gomez, in March 2018 shared the march’s hashtag #MarchForOurLives with the message: “Protect kids, not guns! and this post had received 2 million likes. [27] Lady Gaga also documented the march releasing a series of Instagram videos calling for action from politicians to enforce stricter gun laws. [28] The march has drawn support from Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, and their pledging to join and perform at the march.[29]

But following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the students who survived and millions of students worldwide participated in March for Our Lives, emerging as more and more influential on Instagram and Twitter than celebrities on the gun control.[30] One of the tools they used was hashtags. Top hashtag such as #MarchForOurLives #NeverAgain, #GunControlNow, and #EnoughIsEnough are used to spread out the word and call on the public’s attention.[31] Besides, students collaborate with BBH L.A to create first Instagram coloring book. BBH L.A. executive creative director Zach Hilder said “We wanted to give them tools to elevate their voices, create a way to unify their message and allow everyone to participate in the march. That’s the inspiration for Color For Our Lives.”

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, James Lannigan, and Dr. Kevin Quigley in their study analyzed the cross-platform communication performed in civic organization, “‘informal’ narrative platform that promoted a clicktivist type of responses from the audience, whereas Twitter was a more ‘formal’ news platform that supported greater two-way communication between the organization and the audience”.[32] #MarchforOurLives hashtag ignited much-needed America’s gun conversation, where people protesting against the epidemic of gun violence and the country needs to change.[33]

The March For Our Lives movement employs Facebook as another social media platform to spread awareness of its campaigns and messages to people around the world. As of March 5th, 2019, the MFOL Facebook page has garnered more than 300,000 followers. The page is mainly used to provide updates on national policies regarding gun laws, as well as coverage of various politicians who advocate for more gun safety. Similar to other media platforms, the Facebook page frequently employs popular hashtags such as #MarchForOurLives and #NeverAgain in its posts. Although other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram often make posts to increase awareness, Facebook is more often used to organize people in nearby marches or demonstrations in major cities, and this has seen great success.[35] For example, Facebook played a role in the March 24th, 2018 March For Our Lives and Never Again collaboration gathering in Washington D.C., where more than 47,000 people marked themselves as “going,” and were more than 89,000 people marked themselves as “interested” on the Facebook events posting. [36] This shows the magnitude of Facebook as a platform for organizing unrelated people to gather together for the same cause.

The March For Our Lives movement leveraged Snapchat to gain momentum, spread the word and draw attention to what students and supporters were doing around the United States in response to recent school shootings on campuses. Unique from other social media platforms, Snapchat contains a map feature that allowed the world to see when and where activities by its users are taking place. This allowed the student walkouts to be easily tracked around the US.[37] Video shows thousands of students and supporters walking the streets, protesting gun violence and current gun laws. [38] Snapchat created a “March For Our Lives” Sticker that could be used by the platform’s users to document the walkouts around the US. [39]

Influential Posts

An example of his success in social media can be exemplified by his post on March 9th that featured the quote “I am part of the Mass Shooting Generation, and it’s an ugly club to be in,” which received more 45,000 likes before the March occurred. [45]


The night before the March 24th rally in D.C., Gonzalez posted a March for Our Lives promotional video on her Twitter account, which garnered more than 5.5 million views as of today. It was shared more than 90 thousand times. Gonzalez has more than 1.6 million followers on her Twitter account as of April 2019. [47]

Analog Antecedents

In 2018 the United States was a hotbed of gun violence. Journalist Malcolm Gladwell believes “School shootings are a modern phenomenon and the phenomenon is overwhelmingly American.”[5]

Beginning in 1999 with the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado (15 deaths) to the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas (1o deaths), a Washington Post analysis has found that more than 223,000 students at 229 schools in the United States have experienced gun violence on campus during school hours, and at least 141 children, educators, and other people were killed and another 284 were injured.[6][7] according to an Axios analysis, the ten deadliest school shootings in the United States were the:

The Washington Post’s database of school shootings

In 2018 alone, there have already been 25 shootings.[9] Following the school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018, a student from the school planned a nationwide demonstration, the March For Our Lives. The march took place on March 24th in Washington D.C. to protest gun violence and other cities announced to join them on Saturday. More than 2 million people, 90 percent of the voting district in the United States participation made it one of the largest protests in the history of the United States, acting as a tipping point for gun control legislation.[10]

Participants take part in the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2018.[11]

An average of 10 school shootings occurs per year since Columbine, with a low of five in 2002 and a high of 15 in 2014. 11 shootings in three months. [6]

Impact of the Movement

This march is the first time students start to use the saying ‘save our lives,’ instead of government officials saying ‘we need to save our children’s lives’, as a result, the movement gains a completely different mobilizing effect both on the public and on politics. Many Democrats encouraged the student survivors and march participants by participating in the march by themselves. The White House also responded to the demonstration by stating: “applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their first amendment rights”.[16] However, Trump and many Republicans do not support a gun ban and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio responded by stating“view banning guns as an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens that ultimately will not prevent these tragedies”.[17]

On March 24th, 2018, participants from across the country mobilized in various cities around the U.S. to support stronger gun violence prevention measures. The main march occurred in Washington, D.C. with more than 800,000 participants, but there were also more than 880 sibling events throughout the U.S. Notably, turnout was estimated to be between 1.2 and 2 million people, making it one of the largest protests in American history. [52] Students, parents, and the community members rallied in hopes of shedding more light on the pressing issue and paving the way for tougher regulations in other states.

The March For Our Lives movement encouraged a variety of gun laws and regulations to be passed in 2018 and 2019 by many state legislatures. With gun violence as an ongoing issue, people are coming together to speak out against gun violence and pushing for more gun regulations.[54]

Just one month after the March For Our Lives walks, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 was passed. [55] This was focused on providing more funding for safety training for students, schools, and local law enforcement. This helped to create an anonymous reporting system for threats and crisis intervention.

Nearly 130 bills surrounding gun reform were considered by state legislatures. All were aimed at limiting the use, ownership, and the stricter background checks for firearm possession. Different states addressed the controversial issue in various ways — some limited the usage and ownership of a firearm, while others allowed law enforcement officers to seize weapons if the owner of the weapon deemed unstable or dangerous.[56] Regulations were also enforced to increase criminal penalties for gun-related crimes, ban specific firearm devices, and not allowing firearms in more public locations. Some proposed bills also honed in on more in-depth background checks. A large portion of the bills emphasized not allowing people to own guns altogether. Below are a few examples of gun laws that were passed by various state legislatures:

  • 7 states passed laws stressing the need for stricter background checks and having a set minimum age to when owning and accessing a firearm
  • 10 states reinforced their policies around bump stocks (devices used to make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic) to prevent people from easily accessing and using semi-automatic weapons
  • 9 states allow family, police, or other community members to prevent at-risk people from getting access to firearms.
  • 9 states passed laws to fund gun reduction programs in urban locations

Other legislative actions also surfaced in 2019. Many revolved around training for safety measures and active shooter drills. Bills around changing the regulations and rules around gun possession at schools were also erected. Safety was a large factor in many of the bills as legislatures wanted to prevent any situation like the one in Florida from taking place again.

The impact of the March For Our Lives Movements was not entirely political. Social media allowed for this movement to grow, gaining popularity nationally. This movement was impactful in three major ways:

  • Increased awareness of gun violence and gun regulation, drawing attention to gun laws  

The March for Our Lives movement incentivized the much-needed change to take place around this topic. It encouraged policymakers to make major changes to the current regulations and gun laws, further creating a sense of urgency. The movement made nation-wide news and greatly popularized the topic of gun control. Florida was not the only state that wanted to aggressively prevent the issue at hand. Information was also readily passed amongst groups and people all over the country. Supporters flocked from all over the web expressing their views and opinions on gun violence and control. This movement also allowed for multiple perspectives to be heard.

  • Mobilization of people from different locations

This movement also brought different groups of people together from all around the United States. People were more open to talking about the subject and expressing their concerns, thoughts, and beliefs (contradicting or agreeing on opinions). Protests and rallies were formed to urge local and federal governments to change current regulations.[57] Additionally, raising money and starting funds became more effective with the nation-wide coverage. This movement impacted the way people spoke about gun violence and gun control.

  • Creating communities

Since the March for Our Lives movement, thousands of people have rallied together to create change regarding gun violence. Social media has allowed for like-minded individuals to easily communicate and advocate for the same cause. Students are letting their voice be heard and changing politics. Political leaders are actively engaging with groups of young, voting individuals about gun issues.[58]

Diagram of gun laws enacted in response to March For Our Lives movement [59]

Critiques of the Movement

The main critique of this movement is the age of the movement’s leaders. Due to their young age, many politicians dismiss their concerns; unfortunately undermining the mission of the movement.

Yet despite criticism of their age, the March for Our Lives Movement continues to gain traction and is currently making waves in legislation.


The advantages of social media allowed these young students to ignite a worldwide awareness campaign, encouraging tremendous offline and online activities. The movement really gained traction in 2018 the use of the hashtags #neveragain and #marchforourlives spread across social networks and went viral. Social media played a large role in the March for Our Lives Movement, due to a multitude of factors, including the youth of this movement and the increased usage of social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat as ways to communicate across greater geographic distance.

As a result of the tremendous online and offline support, hundreds of marches were organized across the country and since February 2018 there have been 123 gun laws passed nationwide at the state-level to address concerns of gun control. [60] [61]


Author Biographies

Yihui Chen | LinkedIn

I am a junior Data Science student graduating in Fall 2020. I have strong interests in the field of business and industry analytics and believe data that is loved tends to survive. I hope to use my data science skills and knowledge in the future for social good and am currently pursuing projects that emphasize this. If I’m not studying, you’ll find me reading science fiction and fantasy literature!

Jeremy Hammer | LinkedIn

I am a Navy veteran and graduating senior at the Haas School of Business. I have a strong interest in using entrepreneurship to create impact and will be pursuing a startup post-graduation. My current vision is to empower both university and veteran communities to more efficiently leverage their people, resources and opportunities to achieve their current and future goals.

Sean Lee | LinkedIn

I am a junior at the Haas School of Business graduating in May 2020. I have strong interests in entrepreneurship and finance and am exploring these fields through internships and classes. In my spare time, I enjoy fishing, investing in stocks, and following popular trends in the Bay Area!

Erika Yang | LinkedIn

I am a first year and have a strong interest in business and entrepreneurship and consulting. I currently am exploring them through internships. My current vision is to grow my non-profit organization and be able to help the youth learn more in leadership and entrepreneurship.

Bibliography and References

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[3] Kraus, Rachel, and Rachel Kraus. “Snap Maps Shows Chilling View of Gun Control Walkouts Spreading across the Country.” Mashable, Mashable, 21 Feb. 2018, mashable.com/2018/02/21/snap-maps-gun-control-high-school-walk-outs/#KDM2NIRwtOqg.

[4] Campo-Flores, Arian. “Gun-Violence Protests Drew an Estimated 1 Million Students.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 15 Mar. 2018, www.wsj.com/articles/students-plan-national-school-walkout-to-protest-shootings-1521019801.

[5] Gladwell, Malcolm, and Malcolm Gladwell. “How School Shootings Spread.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2018, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/thresholds-of-violence.

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[7]“Analysis | More than 210,000 Students Have Experienced Gun Violence at School since Columbine.” The Washington Post, WP Company, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/school-shootings-database/?utm_term=.deb7d2840814.

[8] Axios. “By the Numbers: The 10 Deadliest School Shootings since Columbine.” Axios, 18 May 2018, www.axios.com/by-the-numbers-the-10-deadliest-school-shootings-since-columbine-91efddc3-adcd-4991-bd5c-59938db7bc2f.html.

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[13] Sit, Ryan. “More than 2 Million Joined March for Our Lives Protests in 90 Percent of U.S. Voting Districts.” Newsweek, 26 Mar. 2018, www.newsweek.com/march-our-lives-how-many-2-million-90-voting-district-860841.

[14] Taylor, Alan. “Photos from the March for Our Lives.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 24 Mar. 2018, www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/03/photos-from-the-march-for-our-lives/556454/#img19.

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[16] Carlsen, Audrey, and Jugal K. Patel. “March for Our Lives: Maps of the More Than 800 Protests Around the World.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/22/us/politics/march-for-lives-demonstrations.html.

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[18] james eugene frank. Flickr, Yahoo!, www.flickr.com/photos/leicabokeh/40124741655/sizes/l.

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[20] Cummings, William. “Marco Rubio Tells March for Our Lives Crowd Many Oppose Gun Bans.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 25 Mar. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/24/marco-rubio-statement-march-our-lives/455912002/.

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[42] Paolini, Allison. “School Shootings and Student Mental Health: Role of the School Counselor in Mitigating Violence” (PDF). American Counseling Association.

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[45] Link: https://twitter.com/cameron_kasky/status/972318834492411904?lang=en

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[49] Alter, Charlotte. “TIME.” TIME, 2018, time.com/longform/never-again-movement/.

[50]“Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma González and Alex Wind.” Time, Time, time.com/collection/most-influential-people-2018/5217568/parkland-students/.

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[52] “At March for Our Lives, Survivors Lead Hundreds of Thousands in Call for Change.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/march-our-lives-draws-hundreds-thousands-washington-around-nation-n859716/.

[53] Kaplan, Ilana. “Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez Speak out in Support of Gun Control.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 23 Mar. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/taylor-swift-selena-gomez-march-for-our-lives-gun-control-instagram-support-a8271326.html.

[54] Phenicie, Carolyn. “How School Policy Changed in 2018: The Year’s 7 Biggest Federal Storylines, From Unforgettable Student Advocacy to an Already Forgotten White House Proposal.” How School Policy Changed in 2018: The Year’s 7 Biggest Federal Storylines, From Unforgettable Student Advocacy to an Already Forgotten White House Proposal, The 74 Million, 16 Dec. 2018, www.the74million.org/article/how-school-policy-changed-in-2018-the-years-7-biggest-federal-storylines-from-unforgettable-student-advocacy-to-an-already-forgotten-white-house-proposal/.

[55] “House Passes STOP School Violence Act.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 14 Mar. 2018, abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-passes-stop-school-violence-act/story?id=53749704.

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[57] Klein, Rick, and MaryAlice Parks. “ANALYSIS: March for Our Lives Could Define Politics for New Generation.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 24 Mar. 2018, abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/analysis-march-lives-define-politics-generation/story?id=53944187.

[58] Campisi, Jessica. “One Year Later: How Has School Safety, Gun Control Policy Changed since the Parkland Shooting?” Education Dive, Education Dive, 14 Feb. 2019, www.educationdive.com/news/one-year-later-how-has-school-safety-gun-control-policy-changed-since-the/548377/.

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