Avatar of admin


The Depressing Reason the Florida House Wouldn't Even Debate an Assault Rifle Ban

February 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Teenagers who hope to change the world can start by voting in the midterms.

Surely, you’ve seen the pictures. A handful of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students watched in dismay as the Florida House blocked debate on a bill to ban assault rifles, less than a week after 17 people were gunned down at their school.

“I’m calling on every student/teacher/parent 2 exercise 1st Amendment Right & engage in sit-ins, protest, walkouts & legal demonstrations. NOW IS THE TIME,” state Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee tweeted Wednesday, when his procedural move that would have allowed the Florida House to debate the bill was shut down.

While pollsters and political observers across the country are saying the political response to the nation’s latest mass shooting will be different because young people are speaking up, organizing and calling for gun controls in unprecedented manners—including mass demonstrations in Tallahassee Wednesday—there is a hard truth behind the Florida House’s cold-hearted, high-profile snub. 

“To the young people getting woke to the politics of gun control, here’s the reality: The old farts who are elected to office don’t give a damn because you don’t vote,” tweeted Michael McDonald, a University of Florida demographer and nationally known voter turnout expert. “Average midterm turnout rates for ages 18-29 is a pathetic 20 percent. If you want to change the world start by voting.”

And this generational apathy has only gotten worse, not better, over time.

“Further context: the Census Bureau reports ages 18-29 turnout rate was 30 percent in 1974, the first midterm election 18-20 yr olds could vote (except in 4 states) and followed the close of the Vietnam War,” McDonald tweeted. “Was the highest midterm turnout rate for ages 18-29 from 1974 to 2014.”

McDonald isn’t trying to be the grim reaper at a moment of great trauma for students who experienced a mass shooting. There’s a rising tide of support nationwide elevating the teenagers' call for reasonable gun controls, which is seen in celebrity donations for their marches and other protests.

But he raises a salient point. Florida may be a purple state demographically—evenly split …read more


Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.