It can be difficult to talk about gun control in the United States. There are strong opinions regarding who should own guns and whether gun control is necessary. We will keep adding to this story as it develops!
What is gun control, anyway?
It is a set of laws that govern the manufacturing, sale, and use of firearms. According to the US Constitution, citizens are allowed the right to bear arms (or guns), but how each state enforces that right varies. A recent incident at a high school in Florida brought this topic to the forefront yet again.
What happened in Florida?
A former student of a high school attacked teachers and students with a gun, leaving seventeen dead and many others wounded. President Trump talked about his support for the victims and their families, and he promised to put an end to the violence as well as tackle the issue of mental health. Others don’t think this is enough. Many senators, school authorities, and other leaders are calling for stricter gun laws that ensure people do not have such easy access to powerful weapons.
This is the tenth deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
The US suffers from more gun-related incidents than any other country
What is the government doing to help protect its citizens?
While it is true that the right to bear arms is part of the Constitution, each state has its own way to enforce gun regulation. For example, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. California bans the sale and possession of any assault (or powerful) weapon to regular citizens and requires all gun buyers to have permits and register their devices. Oh, and carrying a loaded firearm in California is illegal in public places. Florida’s laws, however, are much less strict, thus allowing people like the high school shooter to purchase assault weapons.
High school students in Florida are understandably very upset and are campaigning for stricter gun laws. Calling it the #NeverAgain movement, the teenagers are spreading their views on social media, and they’re organizing marches to push for policies that will make schools safe from gun violence. Most importantly, they want lawmakers and senators to bring change and help make America safer from guns, and not to simply focus on mental health issues.
Big movements, like NeverAgain, typically stem from other efforts. Using recent and historical marches as examples, the Florida high schoolers have planned a protest march on March 24th in Washington, DC, to ban ownership of powerful guns by ordinary citizens. In addition, a walkout is planned across the nation for March 14th, calling for students and faculty to walk out of schools at 10:00 a.m. for seventeen minutes—one minute for each person who died in the Florida attack.
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A lot has happened since the shooting in Parkland, Florida. As students and other people supporting gun control continue their protests, we look at what’s happened so far:
— Nearly 200 colleges and universities have issued statements in support of students participating in peaceful protests, stating that students will not be punished for skipping class.
— Students conducted town hall meetings (or listening sessions) with Florida Senator Marco Rubio and President Donald Trump in order to share their concerns about guns.
— With pressure mounting from activists, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Enterprise Car Rental, among other big companies, have withdrawn their discount programs for members of the National Rifle Association.
— Walmart and other companies raised the minimum age to buy guns to twenty-one, and Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling assault weapons altogether.
— A protest has been planned for March 24th. People for stricter gun control laws will be gathering for the “March of Our Lives” protest in various cities across the nation.