Politics /

Everytown for Gun Safety Trains Activists to Seek Political Office Through 'Demand a Seat' Program

‘If lawmakers won’t keep us safe, we’ll run to replace them’ said Everytown’s Students Demand Action

An advocacy organization announced a weekend training program for young adults seeking to run for office on a pro-gun control platform.

Everytown for Gun Safety helps political activists seek public office through its Demand a Seat program in order to increase the number of “Gun Sense Candidates” at every level of government. The group is redoubling its effort with its new initiative – Demand a Seat: Student Edition – with a specific focus on people ages 16 to 24.

Demand a Seat provides opportunities for mentorship, networking and high quality educational training to encourage even more Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors to run campaigns for office up and down the ballot,” the organization says. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action are two branches of Everytown’s policy advocacy network.

Since its creation in 2021, the Demand a Seat program has been used to train “nearly 600 volunteers on how to build and run winning campaigns.”

“A record-breaking 158 Moms Demand Action volunteers won elections during the 2021-22 election cycle,” per the Everytown website.

Demand a Seat: Student Edition is led by Student Demand action. The program offers young gun control advocates “training, tools, and support to take [their] advocacy one step further.”

Young gun safety advocates have been fighting for change in our schools, state houses, on Capitol Hill, and at the ballot box. The results are undeniable: when we show up, we are a powerful political force in this country,” the program’s website states. “Young people should have a say in the decisions that impact their generation and future ones.”

The in-person training includes advice from professional campaign workers on how to devise a successful campaign strategy, how to budget and fundraise, and how to devise successful messaging. The program has a specific focus on connecting with Gen Z voters. 

While this program features a curriculum designed specifically with young people in mind, every participant of the program will be connected to a built-in network of program participants, alumni, and a community of millions of gun safety advocates and survivors across the country—something no other program can claim,” says Everytown.

Individuals who are planning to run during the upcoming election cycle, as well as volunteers who may run for office in the future, are permitted to apply for the training program.

Teen Vogue, which celebrated the launch of the new Demand a Seat effort, published an opinion piece in 2022 that called on young Americans to seek state and local office because “the leaders who make up our government are really old.”

The outlet told its readers:

The gerontocracy — a government run by old people — has perpetuated a system that works for itself… 

There are many reasons why young people are not rising to the top in the American political system: structural barriers, for example, as many of these offices require putting in a lot of time but do not pay accordingly; and political realities, such as when races are on the ballot and whether or not there’s an incumbent running. Some of these problems can be solved only from within the government, including changing the pay of our local elected officials to ensure they can focus on ethically governing without needing to hustle elsewhere to make ends meet, and reforming campaign finance law to create more space for working-class candidates.

It’s time for you to consider running for office and joining them. You don’t need to be like AOC and start by running for Congress. Look around your community, wherever you are. What problems need solving? What makes you mad, or hopeful? What could be fixed with a little bit of effort?

Everytown for Gun Safety stems from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which was co-founded by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and 14 other mayors in 2006. The group spent $60 million in 2020 to defeat President Donald Trump’s bid for reelection.

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