Read the winning essays in the 2018 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest


"Why Do I Have To March For My Life?"

A Message From the President of Americans Against Gun Violence

In March of this year, we announced our first annual Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest, open to all high school students in the United States and its territories. The prompt for the contest was a statement made by the late Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 11, 1968:

The time has now come that we must adopt stringent gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world.

We received many outstanding essays, but one of the most poignant ones, in my opinion, was written by a student from Mesa, Arizona with the title that is the subject heading of this message, Why Should I Have To March For My Life?” In the body of her essay, the student wrote:

We have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours planning, organizing, phone-banking, emailing, et cetera to mobilize action to keep our voices heard. ...It is sad that a bunch of high schoolers have to do this - having to demand to feel safe in our own communities....Our legislators should have protected us long ago with actual gun control measures - protected us before we had to learn how to act dead so we aren't the next victim in a mass shooting.

I couldn't agree more.....

Read the full message

Preventing Firearm Related Deaths and Injuries in the United States of America
Mission Statement of Americans Against Gun Violence

Firearm related deaths and injuries are a serious public health problem in the United States of America, and the rate of gun violence in the USA is much higher than in all other economically advanced democratic countries. It is the position of Americans Against Gun Violence that we have not only the ability, but also the moral responsibility, to reduce rates of firearm related deaths and injuries in our country to levels that are at or below those in the other economically advanced democratic countries of the world.

We support incremental steps toward reducing gun violence in the United States such as expanding background checks. At the same time, we believe that it is critically important to make the American people aware that in order to reduce rates of firearm related deaths and injuries in the United States to levels comparable to those in other economically advanced democratic countries, we must adopt comparable gun control laws. Such laws include stringent regulations, if not complete bans, on civilian ownership of handguns and all automatic and semi-automatic rifles. Such laws need not prevent responsible hunters and target shooters from practicing their sports with traditional sporting rifles and shotguns. In order to stringently regulate or ban handguns, the Supreme Court's radical reinterpretation of the Second Amendment in the 2008 Heller decision must be overturned. We further believe that stringent regulation of civilian firearm ownership should be accompanied by stringent regulation of the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.

In addition to educating the American people regarding the need for the adoption of definitive gun control laws, it is our mission to debunk the myths promoted by the gun industry and its associated lobby, including the myth that honest, law-abiding people should own or carry guns “for protection;” the myth that the Second Amendment was intended to confer an individual right to own guns; and, the most insidious myth of all, that the gun lobby is more powerful than the rest of the American people.

We are confident that one day the United States will adopt stringent gun control laws comparable to the laws already in place in every other economically advanced democratic country of the world. The only question is how many more innocent Americans will be killed and injured by preventable gunshot wounds before that day arrives. It is our mission to work to make that day come sooner rather than later.

Click on this link for downloadable version of this mission statement in PDF format.