In the wake of a shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a group of student survivors advocating for gun control have taken center stage. This week, they landed on the cover of Time, beneath the word “Enough,” and this weekend they’ll be leading a highly anticipated demonstration in Washington, D.C., “March for Our Lives.”
But as they fight for legislation that limits access to guns, particularly AR-15s (the type of gun used in the school shooting), another survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas is fighting against gun control. Here’s what you need to know about Kyle Kashuv.
He’s a junior at Stoneman Douglas who survived the shooting.
In an interview with Fox, the 16-year-old said that he was in a classroom when the shooting began and ended up hiding in a closet for two hours until a SWAT team could clear the area. Kashuv said he had never met Nikolas Cruz but did know one of the students who was killed. According to Inside Edition, he was fourth in his class.
He was first interviewed by a CNN reporter on a #NeverAgain bus to Tallahassee.
One of the earliest mentions of him in the media is a CNN piece from Feb. 20, in which students on a bus to the state’s capital were interviewed. Kashuv is described in the piece as a “Republican and Trump supporter” whose “pro-gun stance has changed a bit.” In a video of him tweeted by CNN’s Dianne Gallagher, he discusses wanting to add restrictions to gun sales, specifically regarding mental health. “I have always been very pro-gun … we should be able to defend ourselves,” he says. “But I think there should be a limit to who should acquire such weaponry.”
Since then, he has distanced himself from the #NeverAgain group, specifically David Hogg.
In the weeks since the tragedy, Kashuv seems to have distanced himself from classmates like Hogg and called out what he considered to be the hypocrisy of their comments. He’s specifically expressed outrage at Hogg for reportedly hanging up on President Trump during a phone conversation about gun control. He’s also sternly against the group’s main goal: limiting access to AR-15s.
Is this a joke? You want to ban AR-15s which are protected under #2A as ruled by SCOTUS in Heller v. DC.
Dude, please stop. You don't know what you're talking about https://t.co/PlRzORd3z5
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 23, 2018
He made headlines this week for calling out a Spirit Airlines flight attendant.
When a flight attendant on his plane arriving in Baltimore mentioned the March for Our Lives demonstration (of which Hogg is one of the founders), Kashuv took to Twitter to berate the airline. (Spirit later apologized, which Kashuv said was “great to hear.”)
Just landed in Baltimore on @SpiritAirlines and the stewardess felt compelled to give us all a speech about the March for Our Lives, which openly says on the petition are trying to categorically ban AR-15’s, and made everyone clap.
Can anything just be non-political anymore?
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 22, 2018
He defends the National Rifle Association.
While his classmates were calling out the National Rifle Association (NRA) — and companies that profit from it — on Twitter, Kashuv went on Fox News to say that he disagreed with their approach. “People have been pegging the NRA as a scary boogeyman that truly doesn’t care about the kids … and I don’t think that’s true at all,” Kashuv said. “The NRA represents 5 million-plus American citizens — gun-law-abiding citizens — and simply painting the NRA as the issue here, it kind of detracts from the actual changes that could be made … targeting the proper aspects like mental health reform and making sure that we deliver all the information to the proper agencies referring to background checks.”
He’s met with many lawmakers since the shooting occurred.
According to Mediaite, Kashuv has met with “dozens of lawmakers” about gun reform in Washington, D.C. — most of them on the right, but Democrats as well. This list includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Vice President Mike Pence (who is in Kashuv’s current Twitter profile photo). He’s shared a lot from the meetings on his Twitter page, which has more than 100,000 followers.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 23, 2018
Policy and legislation aside, @senorrinhatch gave me a huge hug after we met and told me that I need to keep in touch with him. We need more people like him.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 9, 2018
He’s also had a private meeting with President Donald Trump, twice.
Kashuv initially planned on meeting only with first lady Melania Trump, but while he was at the White House, she reportedly took him to meet the president. Kashuv called the meeting “astonishing and amazing.” He reportedly met with Trump again this week.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 8, 2018
He feels maligned by the mainstream media.
Although featured prominently on Fox News, Kashuv (and others) have called out other news organizations for reportedly not featuring his viewpoints. The Daily Caller has even alleged that an interview he had planned with CNN was canceled when the network learned of a retweet he did calling one of their anchors a “fake news hypocrite.” (CNN has not commented on the allegation.) Kashuv has been questioned multiple times by Fox News about why he wasn’t included on the Time cover featuring several Parkland students. He’s retweeted parody versions that have been created with him on the cover instead.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) March 23, 2018
He’s working on an app called ReachOut.
Kashuv was reportedly brought to the White House to meet Melania Trump in order to discuss his app, ReachOut. According to the app’s Twitter account, “#ReachOut is a chat app that lets students reach out to one another. When a student is struggling emotionally or just needs someone to talk to, this app gives them a platform to seek help from other student volunteers.” According to the last update on Twitter, it’s still in the process of being built.
The #ReachOut App is currently being designed and developed by volunteers wanting to see our schools a safer more loving environment.
– 100% volunteer-ran.
– We have no financial backers.
– We aren’t making money.
We’re committed to helping students help students!
— ReachOut App (@TheReachOutApp) March 8, 2018
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