We don’t need to see another mass shooting dominate the news cycle to know that America needs gun reform now. But despite a series of mass shootings in the United States in recent years — and two in the past couple of weeks — elected officials and the administration still aren’t in any rush to reform our gun laws and policies in America.
Instead, students who have survived mass shootings in their lifetime are the ones taking charge and fighting for gun control in our country.
On Wednesday, August 21, the students who survived a mass shooting last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have unveiled an ambitious gun-control proposal called “A Peace Plan for a Safer America.”
Yesterday after announcing their gun-control proposal, March For Our Lives — a platform and organization focused on voter registration and outreach across the U.S. — tweeted that “gun violence is intersectional. It feeds off of poverty, injustice, and despair. So that means that our plans — to be truly comprehensive — need to be intersectional too.”
Their gun-control proposal was exclusively obtained by The Washington Post and the publication reports that the plan goes beyond the current discussion surrounding background checks for those who want to buy or own a gun and “red flag” laws, which applies to people who could be a danger to themselves and others if in ownership of a gun.
According to the Washington Post, Parkland’s gun-proposal plan aims to create a “national licensing and gun registry, long a nonstarter with gun rights advocates; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement a mandatory gun buyback program; and install a ‘national director of gun violence protection’ who would report directly to the president and coordinate the federal response to what advocates call a national public health emergency.”
The Parkland students and survivors also unveiled this gun control plan ahead of the 2020 presidential race accordingly.
They’re looking to shape the presidential race and influence the candidates (including Donald Trump) to consider their proposed gun laws and enforcement.
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate running for president in 2020 from El Paso, Texas has been open about gun-control and reform in American even more so after the El Paso and Dayton Ohio mass shootings that occurred earlier this month. Further, he made gun control a focus of his campaign now that he’s back on the campaign trail.
He has also already spoken out in support of the Peace Plan. In a tweet, he encouraged people to follow the lead of the Parkland students marching for their lives and for the lives of everybody else in order to “end this epidemic.” He concluded his tweet of support by calling on everyone in the presidential race — and the country — to do the same and support their plan.
Further, the “Peace Plan for a Safer America” will work to dramatically increase restrictions around owning guns — for example, the plan proposes that we raise the age from 21 to 18 for those who want to buy and own guns. It also wants to implement a “multi-step” gun licensing system to be overseen by a federal agency. This gun licensing system would include in-person interviews and a 10-day wait before an individual of age 21 or older are allowed to make a gun purchase. According to The Washington Post, the license would be renewed annually.
The plan is being referred to as the “Green New Deal” of guns, taking a “holistic approach” to gun violence in America. The plan is also proposing community-based solutions to gun violence including mental health services.
Here’s a breakdown of what “A Peace Plan for a Safer America” entails:
1. Change the standards of gun ownership:
By changing the standards of gun ownership, the Peace Plan aims to advocate and pass legislation to raise the national standard for gun ownership. This is where the national licensing and registry will come into play. It also includes their proposed national gun buy-back program to reduce the millions of firearms that are in circulation by at least 30%.
2. Halve the rate of gun deaths in 10 years:
The Peace Plan has set an ambitious goal to reduce gun injuries and deaths by 50% in 10 years. This would amount to saving the lives of up to 200,000 Americans.
3. Accountability for the gun lobby and industry:
In its third step, the Peace Plan will hold the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of “illegal behavior” and dangerous policies that have not worked to protect the American people.
4. Name a director of gun violence prevention:
The Peace Plan proposes the appointment of a National Director of Gun Violence who will report directly to the President. The National Director of Gun Violence would oversee a down payment of $250 million in annual funding for research by the CDC and other federal agencies on gun violence prevention.
5. Generate community-based solutions:
The plan would also fully fund targeted community-based solutions addressing the intersectional dimensions of gun violence. These interventions would include urban violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, and other mental health services.
6. Empower the next generation.
Lastly, the Peace Plan aims to mobilize young registered voters. The plan would automatically register eligible voters and mail voter registration to all Americans when they turn 18.
In a statement to CBS News, co-founder of March For Our Lives and Parkland shooting survivor, David Hogg told the publication that “for too long we have looked to elected officials to solve America’s gun violence crisis and time and time again, they have fallen to the pressure of NRA donations and the status quo.”
Enough is enough, he continued, elected officials have failed to do their job and protect the lives of Americans across the country and it has led to deadly consequences.
“It is clear that the time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone,” Hogg added. “It is now time for real change and real action.”