BALTIMORE February 15, 2018 – The NAACP issued the following statement today regarding the school shooting mass murder tragedy in Florida.

“The mass murdering of students and teachers at high school in Florida represents a horrific tragedy and a betrayal of the American public by the gun lobby and the politicians who continue to support them. Any public policy that makes its way through Congress should be one in the best interests of the American public and the safety of our communities, sadly and instead, the National Rifle Association promotes policies to sell guns regardless of the negative impact that has on our national safety.

In his response to the murders, President Trump failed to mention anything relevant regarding policies to limit the use, sale, or improve background checks for the purchase of military-type guns that have nothing to do with anything except the ability to kill people quickly. He deferred as is common by gun advocates to the issue of mental illness. As one advocate noted, there are mentally ill people all over the world, but in other places, there are no continual incidents of mass murder shootings. Shame on you Mr. President.

Instead, what we will hear in lieu of policies to make our communities safer, are ways to increase the “protection” of schools. Instead of addressing the root of the problem, gun advocates will argue as they always do that more guns can solve the problems of more guns.

There have been 30 mass shootings in 2018 and it’s only February. Yet despite the despair of those still reeling from the most recent mass murder, change is possible. Australia had a mass shooting in 1996 and radically changed their gun laws. They have not had another similar incident since.

The only way the public can force the NRA and those politicians who support them to create safer gun policies is by action. According to findings by the Pew Research Center, those who do not own guns are 9 percent less likely to contact public officials about gun policy compared to those who own guns. Additionally those who want even lesser restrictions on purchasing guns – are more likely to contact politicians than those who want safer policy.

We must identify and protest those who continue to promote an insane policy on guns. After each mass murder and school shooting, the people most responsible for unsafe gun policies remained untouched. They continue to push for even worse laws, because it increases their bottom line and have been able to escape the public scrutiny that should be attached to those who have no concern for the safety of the public. Now is the time to rally against and shine the light on the gun lobby and its politicians. Now is the time to make our voices heard in all aspects of society and through all means available. It is not only the safest thing to do but also the right thing to do.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.