The mass shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde in Texas has rekindled interest in stopping such senseless violence. In Texas, this impulse is translating into a rush for new supporters and volunteers for Texas' Moms Demand Action chapter.
"Since Uvalde we've had well more than 20,000 people become supporters and at least twelve people want to start their own local chapters in areas that do not already have one," Liz Hanks, who heads the Texas chapter, said in an email to NPR.
The interest in reducing gun violence has reached its peak and is not limited to Texas. March for Our Lives is gaining popularity as a movement that was founded by survivors from the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland in Florida in 2018.
On Sunday, senators from both parties announced that they had reached an agreement on a package to address the Uvalde shooting.
Advocates have witnessed similar spikes in the past, driven by public fear at how easy it can be for shooters to get powerful guns and then use them to murder children and other innocents. In the past, however, even minor gun control calls have not been realized in federal law.
NPR's Daud Mumin, cochair of March For Our Lives’ board of directors, stated that there is a rise in donations, interest and volunteers for the group.
Mumin stated that while we are grateful for people mobilizing, we also believe that we can quickly move beyond this cycle of outrage to pass common-sense gun safety regulations that the vast majority want.
Hanks in Texas says that Moms Demand Action is being joined by people from all political spectrums, including conservatives and gun owners.
She said, "This massacre of children was the straw that broke their backs to reach out for change." After events in Houston and Austin, several women have come up to me and started to cry and said they wanted to help.
The most visible effects of mass shootings have been positive. Consumers rush to purchase rifles, large-capacity magazines, and ammunition partly because they fear that such products will become illegal. Gun stores report that their business is booming since Uvalde.
For advocates such as Hanks, who fight gun violence and other issues, it feels different.
Hanks stated that her mother, a historically Republican woman, told her she called her senators for the first time ever in her life after looking up their names. My conservative father believes we should have more background checks. He also thinks it is necessary to raise the legal age to purchase a gun and pass a red flag bill. It makes me hopeful that the extremist voices in this conversation can be drowned out if they reach out and touch their leaders.