We Asked Young Conservatives, “How Would You Stop Gun Violence?” Their Answers Were…Something Else.

“We support self-defense.”

Cade Plotts, center, of Ohio University, listens to President Trump address the Conservative Political Action Conference via video at the Gaylord National Resort.Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

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On Wednesday, the message from students around America rang loud and clear: Lawmakers must address gun control. Students from Parkland rallied at Florida’s capitol to protest state legislators’ failure to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles. High schoolers across the country stood with them, staging walkouts and marches to demand action on gun violence. And at the end of the day, in a town hall event produced by CNN, parents and peers of slain students from Stoneman Douglas High School challenged Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) to reject financial support from the National Rifle Association and panned the GOP’s response to the violence that had devastated their community.

I spent Wednesday afternoon with DC-area students who walked out of local high schools in solidarity with the Stoneman Douglas students; they marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to implore lawmakers to address mass shootings in schools. They reminded politicians that while they may be young, many of them will soon be eligible to vote—and this issue will drive their choices at the polls.

The next day, I heard a very different message from young conservatives who had gathered in National Harbor, Maryland, for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, an event sponsored by the National Rifle Association. In light of the Florida shooting and the words I’d heard from high schoolers the previous day, I asked some of the college students in attendance what they thought should be done to address gun violence in America. In short: They still aren’t fans of gun control.

Watch what they said below:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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