On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In the aftermath, led first by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, teenagers around the country initiated an unprecedented wave of youth activism for gun control. Teenage voices from all sides of the issue weighed in, and in the months that followed, they helped reinvigorate one of the nation’s longest-raging debates.
Beginning in March 2018, NPR sought out more than 15 teenagers from nine states and Washington, D.C., to document their relationship with guns. Everyone featured in the resulting film was 17 years old in 2018.
Most of these teens were seniors in high school. As they approached their graduations, they spoke from a variety of diverse backgrounds and perspectives — from sport shooters in the Midwest to a student planning to join the military in the Southwest; from a teenager in Washington, D.C., who lost his twin brother to gun violence to a young woman in Montana who followed the example of the teens from Parkland.
What emerged was a portrait of the budding political consciousness of the next generation of American voters, and a fresh look at America’s complex relationship with guns from the teenagers who have grown up with them.