Is social movement enough to ignite change in gun laws?

Since the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, state lawmakers have struggled to get new major gun laws passed. Students have been leading the way toward changing that in a social movement that now spans across the world.

It’s been a week since the “March for Our Lives,” rally and most Americans are starting to ask what’s next in the movement. University of Texas Associate Professor of Public Affairs and author Josh Busby has had his eye on social movements and their impacts for years.  

He’s taken a look recently at the current movement we are in now.               

He said in order for change to stick, movements need to have compelling arguments that fit with the cultural traditions, places and people they're appealing to. That's what he said he's seeing take place across the nation in wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting where 17 people were killed. 

A heated debate has been reignited and many people are demanding change specifically to gun reform. “Safety is very important and that is something most Americans agree with.  The next real challenge is who are the gatekeepers who have the decision making authority to say 'yes' or 'no' to these kinds' of demands,” said Busby.

He said most Americans agree that there should be a crackdown on tougher background checks on gun buyers and “bump stocks.”

The Department of Justice took some action after the Parkland shooting by formally submitting a regulation to ban "bump stocks."  

A modification to high capacity rifles that lets them fire like an automatic weapon.

But some student’s advocates said the move wasn’t enough.  

When it comes to other demands, Busby said it may not be easily attainable.

"On other things such as banning assault rifles that gets into more contentious territory,” said Busby.

Over the years Busby has seen few movements succeed and said the push for stricter gun polices could go either way. Adding, a lot has to do with getting younger folks to the polls.

“Young people vote in low proportions than other demographics and so unless a higher proportion of younger people turn out and make this their over issue in the November 2018 elections. It’s hard to tell what the difference will make,” said Busby.