Since the tragic 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six

adults, there have been more than 1,600 mass shootings in the U.S. These shooting combined  have killed more than 1,800 people and injured over 6,400. Many of these occurrences led to outcries, speeches, and events imploring for stricter gun control, but Congress refused to budge each time. As a result, there have been virtually no changes in gun laws.

In the wake of the recent shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 were killed, however, students across the country have said that this time is different. Young people across the country have worked tirelessly and have inspired a movement, but we need to keep the momentum going. This means creating a higher voter turnout to ensure that the right people are in power to advance the gun law changes that this country desperately needs.

Under the banner of #NeverAgain, students organized a National School Walkout, held on March 14, in which students, faculty, parents and staff walked out of school for 17 minutes—one minute for each person killed in the Florida shooting. Following this, students led the March for Our Lives, which took place in Washington, D.C. on March 24. While the March was supported by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, as well as many politicians, students have been at the center of this movement.

One of the most powerful voices of this campaign has been Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, whose speech at a gun control rally went viral. In front of a large audience, Emma spoke with deep conviction, saying, “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS.”

Given the unprecedented momentum of the movement, conservatives have expectedly tried to silence the students involved. For instance, shortly after the shootings, some channels claimed that the student protesters were “crisis actors” planted by the liberal media. Furthermore, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum claimed that the students were wasting their time and that they should instead be “learning CPR.”

But students have been unfazed by this pushback and have had significant successes. The student-led initiative to #BoycottNRA has led many companies to cut ties with the

powerful lobbying group, change their policies, and make it more difficult to obtain a gun. In

addition, students have heightened the public’s attention and demands for improved gun laws,

particularly the banning of high-powered assault rifles.

The efforts have put enormous pressure on legislators to act, and this could play a significant role in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. Experts project that the key demographics that could swing the midterms are women and young voters, but this will depend on voter turnout. In addition to the #MeToo campaign, which will likely charge the female base, the #NeverAgain and #BoycottNRA movements could rally the country’s youth toward the voting polls and give progressives an edge in the coming elections.