'March For Our Lives' Leaders Will Head To Dallas In July To Register Young Texans To Vote | KERA News

'March For Our Lives' Leaders Will Head To Dallas In July To Register Young Texans To Vote

Jun 27, 2018

Leaders from the “March For Our Lives” group, formed after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, will visit Texas next month to register young voters ahead of the November general election.

The "Road To Change" bus tour will stop in Dallas on July 7. That day marks the second anniversary of the Dallas police ambush, where five officers were fatally shot after a peaceful protest downtown. 

Voter registration will be available from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the Paul Quinn College gymnasium, located at 3837 Simpson Stuart Road.

The bus tour will then head to Houston and San Antonio. The Texas leg of the tour will end on July 10 in El Paso.

The tour kicked off in Chicago on June 15. It will make 75 stops in more than 20 states through August.

Organizers posted a message on their website: “We’re going to places where the NRA has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives — and we’ll be visiting a number of communities that have been affected by gun violence to meet fellow survivors and use our voices to amplify theirs.”

The Dallas Morning News reports that groups, including Rock the Vote and the NAACP, are partnering with the students to aid in registering young voters, especially because more than 4 million Americans turned 18 this year and are newly eligible to vote.

“March For Our Lives” was created by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In February, a gunman killed 17 students and teachers at the school. The group has since led nationwide protests, demanding gun control and action to make schools safer.

The group's bus tour began about a month after the May 18 school shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston. Ten students and teachers were killed. The shooting in the small Texas town was the deadliest since Parkland.

In response to the Santa Fe High shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott held three roundtable discussions on school safety with officials from school districts, gun rights advocates, gun control groups and survivors of shootings. Less than two weeks after the shooting, he released a 40-plus-page school safety plan.

Suggested strategies in the plan include increasing law enforcement presence and the number of school marshals on campuses; providing active shooter and emergency response training; offering mental health evaluations to identify students at risk of harming others and removing them from classrooms; and hardening campus facilities — or making them more secure.  

When he released the plan, Abbott said $120 million in funding was immediately available for schools to start implementing strategies. 

Abbott's also asking state legislators to prioritize a bigger investment in mental health and encouraging them to consider creating a "red flag" law to identify people who are a danger to themselves or others and have access to or own firearms. Abbott also wants to update the Texas gun storage law to include 17-year-olds.

Abbott says many of his proposals are not mandates or laws, but that schools want to enact them. 

“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place," he said.

Read the school safety plan here.