March For Our Lives Calls for Gun Reform

By Jingyi Li ’19

There have been more than 700 March For Our Lives protests across the U.S, with more events planned in 37 countries. How effective are these protests aspiring for a change?

The use of bump stocks in the Las Vegas shooting allowed the shooter to transform his semi-automatic firearms to the same firing speed of a fully automatic firearm, which injured hundreds of people and killed 58 people. The Department of Justice will issue a rule banning bump stocks.

“This proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress,” said Jeff Sessions.

However, gun rights group could sue the Department of Justice for the banning of bump stocks. Bump stock makers designed bump stocks so they would not qualify as machine guns under the law, but the Department of Justice’s ruling claims that the bump stocks are classified as “machine guns.”

The National Rifle Association is against this ban, but the NRA says that bump stocks should be subject to additional regulations. In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives decided that the government could not regulate bump stocks since they did not match the definition of a machine gun and because they did not permanently alter a gun’s trigger mechanism. However, the step the Department of Justice took to ban bump stocks is the first step the government has taken since the Parkland shooting and gun protest to restrict the power of guns.

How has the National Rifle Association (NRA) responded to these gun protests? The NRA has taken an initiative to ban guns at the NRA convention, which has produced criticism against the NRA. The gun ban was put into effect when Donald Trump and Mike Pence spoke at the convention.

David Hogg, author of the New York Times article “No Guns Allowed at NRA Convention When Trump, Pence Speak,” said, “It’s ironic that they feel they need to ban guns to protect themselves, especially after their main philosophy has been more guns equals more protection, yet they don’t think they need to protect our kids in the same way.”

That the NRA has banned guns at the convention but has not proposed any such initiatives for schools speaks volumes about their motives and their sincerity about stricter gun reforms. The NRA should do more in order to restrict ownership of guns from incapable people. So, how many more shootings needs to happen before the NRA takes an initiative to prevent any more preventable deaths from guns?

The November 2016 ballot in California, which contained Proposition 63, was passed with 63 percent of voters supporting it and with 37% of voters opposing it. Proposition 63 is a package of reforms that require a background check and authorization from the Department of Justice to purchase ammunition and prohibit possession of large capacity ammunition magazines. This shows a step towards stricter gun reforms. However, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) with the support of the NRA, filed a lawsuit challenging Proposition 63. The people of California voted and voiced their views for stricter gun reforms, but the NRA is suing to change those views.

“It is wrong to treat California’s law-abiding gun owners like criminals. The NRA is proud to assist in this fight,” stated the NRA-ILA, NRA Backs CRPA Lawsuit Challenging California Ammunition Sales Restrictions.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students returned to school with new safety precautions, such as fewer entrances, identification badges for teachers and students, and only allowing plastic backpacks allowed at school. The mandatory safety procedure of the use of plastic backpacks created controversy within the school. Students have attached a $1.05 orange tag on the backpack intended to protest the numerous politicians who accept money from NRA.

In “NPR, Parkland Students Return To School Skeptical Of Clear Backpacks,” Julie Shinn stated,”If we’re not going to do anything about our lax gun laws, then my son needs a bulletproof backpack, not a clear one.”

There have been numerous attempts for stricter gun reforms in order to prevent any more tragic events resulting from gun deaths, but those attempts have not been successful. The right for people to bear arms is clearly stated in the Second Amendment, which seems to be the root of most gun issues in the United States. The repeal of the Second Amendment would solve most of our gun problems, but it would face strong opposition from the NRA and the citizens of the United States, and would be another unsuccessful attempt at gun reforms.

After hundreds of gun protests throughout the nation and the world, the push for stricter gun reforms has yet to be effective. The precautions the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took after the tragic shooting is a step forward to prevent any more shootings from happening. At the federal level, are our representatives and leaders of the United States doing anything for gun reforms or are they doing just the bare minimum?

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