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Commentary: ‘Channeling Outrage into Activism’

Ebbin spoke to students at Lewinsville Park in McLean during the walkout on March 14. The students, who attend schools across Northern Virginia, were participating in a rally for gun violence prevention organized by Students Demand Action DMV following a 17-minute National Student Walkout held that morning at 10 a.m. in memory of the 17 who were killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.

I’m Senator Adam Ebbin, and I have an “F” rating from the NRA.

Across the country, the gun violence prevention movement is being led by students like you. You are doing more than just wearing an orange ribbon, you are taking action and leading a conversation. You are channeling your outrage into activism.

I’ve been moved and inspired by the bravery and resilience of the young people in Parkland. Today, we are amplifying their message. With your activism, we can make real progress.

Every day, 96 Americans are killed with a gun.

Every 10 hours a Virginian is killed with a gun.

153,000 students have been exposed to campus shootings since Columbine.

For decades, the corporate gun lobby has dictated our gun laws.

Elected leaders at the local, state, and national level can make a difference; implore us all to take action. Hold legislators accountable for their voting records.

While Washington is mired in empty expressions of thoughts and prayers, it’s time for state legislators to step up.

I have worked for common sense gun laws for years. This year, over 60 bills addressing gun violence were introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, but every one was defeated.

Del. Kathleen Murphy [D-34] and I have formed a General Assembly Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, but we need more voices — loud voices, informed and passionate voices, particularly voices like yours.

I’m here to amplify your voice, to tell you that you don’t have to be a voter yet to shape the debate.

Speak up by calling your elected officials.

Engage the community by writing letters to the editor.

Get involved at election time.

Register to vote as soon as you are eligible.

Stay informed and stay active.#Vote.

Repeat until no school in America has to wonder “Who’s next?”

Refuse to accept the status quo. Demand an end to gun violence.

The NRA tells us the AR-15 shouldn’t be banned.

When a soft nosed bullet leaves the barrel of an AR15, it is travelling at three times the speed of a bullet fired from a handgun. It will break the sound barrier leaving the gun, travelling at 3,000 feet per second, when it makes contact with it's target it will begin to tumble end over end.

When its target is a human body, the bullet enters and exits in less than the time it takes to blink, shredding tissue in a process known as cavitation, killing soft tissue for up to three inches around the entry path, and leaves an exit wound the size of an orange.

A high capacity magazine on an AR-15 can unleash 50 of these rounds in less than a minute.

Outfitted with an NRA-supported bump stock this weapon can empty this magazine in a matter of seconds.

Don’t let the NRA tell you it shouldn’t be banned.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school first responders saw the power of this weapon, the twitch of a finger painting the hallways of their school with blood.

Don’t let the NRA tell you it shouldn’t be banned.

Don’t tell us that kids have a right to carry these into our schools and movie theatres and malls an concerts and unleash the fury of this weapon on Americans.

Don’t tell us that anyone has the right to carry a gun that holds 50 rounds and can be modified to fire them in under ten seconds.

Don’t tell us we shouldn’t be able to stop dangerous individuals from buying AR-15s at a sporting goods store.

Don’t let the NRA tell you that thoughts and prayers are enough.

Enough is enough.

We’re telling the NRA times up, we’re telling them no more.

No more fearing the next headline.

We’re telling the corporate gun lobby we’re done with being afraid that when your friends go to school they might not come back.

We cannot wait any longer.

The NRA can get out of the way, or they can get run over.