The Parkland kids revealed exactly how to fight the gun culture wars — here's why: author
David Hogg (AFP)

On CNN Monday, David Cullen, the author of "Parkland: Birth of a Movement" and "Columbine," laid out the key reason he believes that the children who survived the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida were successful in a way that other efforts to push for gun reform after shootings were not.

The Parkland shooting did not trigger any new federal policy reforms — but at the state level, over 50 new gun safety laws were passed, including a measure in Florida that expanded background checks and enacted a "red flag" law, passed with the blessing of state Republican leaders. And the reason, Cullen argued, is the way Parkland survivors relentlessly focused the debate.

This, he continued, has direct implications for the conversation around the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers.

"You and I have had too many of these conversations after school shootings, but I am happy to talk to you today because I do think that much of the conversation is focused on the wrong thing," said anchor Alisyn Camerota. "Yes, the police screwed up. They admitted it. They screwed up horribly in this case. But so did the gun store seller who sold the two AR-15s to this clearly troubled 18-year-old. Why don't we focus in more on that and figure out how to stop it before the guy shows up at a school with an AR-15?"

"I totally agree," said Cullen. "One of the things that the Parkland kids did that was so revolutionary, what really changed things, is because after these things we have all these conversations about mental health, about media coverage, about guns and all these different things, and those kids focused the conversation by saying, you guys can talk about whatever you want. We picked one, we think the most important thing is guns, all we're going to talk about is guns. You want to bring up mental health? Great, we should solve that, go ahead and do that, but I'm not talking about that. We're talking about guns. And they kept us on guns, because that is the right thing."

"Yes, if the cops had gotten in there sooner, then maybe 15 people would not have died," said Cullen. "You know, the only way — I've said for years, once the shooting starts, it's way too late. We have failed. We have to solve this before that, with real gun safety legislation."

Watch below:

David Cullen explains how Parkland kids fought the gun safety war