Washington (CNN)The last 24 hours have featured a more intense — and, generally speaking, more honest — national conversation about guns and culture than in, at least, the last five years.
From CNN’s terrific — yes, I am biased but it was really good — town hall in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday night to a series of tweets and comments from President Donald Trump Thursday morning, the past day has been a crash course in what’s possible (and impossible) in the current gun debate.
Here’s what I have learned about what’s changed — and what hasn’t — about the politics of guns in the wake of the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School eight days ago.
1. This one is a little different
In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting, I wrote a piece arguing that this mass murder would follow the same blueprint of the dozens like it since Columbine in the 1990s. Outrage → calls for action → legislative quagmire → moving on to some other pressing issue.
A week out from the Parkland shootings, there is very little sign that the attention on guns and school violence is fading in the same way most of these events do. (538’s Nate Silver smartly has documented how search interest in this shooting has remained far higher than in other comparable moments.)
The reason for that is simple: Dozens of Stoneman Douglas students have become articulate and vocal spokespeople in support of future gun control legislation. These students are becoming household names as they rally in Tallahassee, and next month in Washington, to keep the national spotlight on the gun issue.
A cadre of young adults speaking out in the wake of watching their classmates be gunned down is a very powerful force that had not been mobilized in anything close to this manner before.
2. Donald Trump wants to do something — but has no idea what
Trump has been absolutely all over the map when it comes to a way forward. He’s seemingly in favor of arming at least some teachers, banning bump fire stocks, raising the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21 and strengthening the background check system.
How he does any of…