Recent mobilization around gun control — epitomized through the recent March for Our Lives protests across the country — is largely associated with youth and liberal political ideologies. But sociologist Dana R. Fisher, who has been studying large-scale protests since Trump’s inauguration, challenges this assumption. In a recent article in the Washington Post, she discusses research she and her team conducted during the March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C. Fisher explains,
“Only about 10 percent of the participants were under 18. The average age of the adults in the crowd was just under 49 years old, which is older than participants at the other marches I’ve surveyed but similar to the age of the average participant at the Million Moms March in 2000, which was also about gun control.”
Further, Fisher found that fewer protesters were driven by politically liberal values than we might think:
“Only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue…Instead, new protesters reported being motivated by the issues of peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent), who has been a galvanizing force for many protests. Protesters were also more likely to identify as ideologically moderate. About 16 percent did so, higher than at any other protest event since the inauguration.”
While the media might have us believe differently, March for Our Lives successfully mobilized a wide crowd — both in age and political ideology.