Guest Editorial: Young Voters Taking The Lead When Others Won’t

By Scottsdale Pinetop

Among the estimated 15,000 protesters at the Phoenix March of Our Lives rally on Saturday were thousands of active teenagers taking a stand and making their voices heard. In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida shooting that claimed the lives of three adults and 14 students, post pubescents from across the nation are taking the lead on gun laws and gun reform. The message is clear – gun laws need to change or voters will change those in charge.

Only 12 weeks into 2018 and the nation has already experienced 17 school shootings where someone was either hurt or killed. That averages out to almost 1 shooting per week.  This statistic has many worried that federal and local lawmakers are failing on promises to keep our kids safe in schools.

Taking the issue into their own hands, young voters have rallied together in an organized manner, trying to turn talking points into reality.

But will Arizona lawmakers really listen?

Considered one of the nation’s top “gun friendly” states, Arizona lawmakers have been hesitant to address changing any gun laws. There’s little doubt that gun supporters and the NRA are setting the agenda at the Arizona Capitol, often pushing for pro-gun legislation. In 2016, Governor Ducey signed two gun bills, one of them actually allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons on right-of-ways near K-12 schools and universities.

In many cases younger generations have been overlooked and dismissed in regards to politics. In the recent presidential election, young adults had the lowest voter turnout rate with only 46% of the population casting a ballot. But this could all change in the 2018 midterm elections.

For the first time in recent history, young adults are beginning to understand the power of voting and the importance of civic engagement, something many older generations seem to be missing. They continue to promote one the of the essentials aspects of American democracy: register to vote and go to the polls. If Arizona lawmakers continue to ignore student activists and community leaders, they will be doing so at their own peril. One thing is for certain, they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. And those who still doubt such opinions may want to consider Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book “Tipping Point.”