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March for Our Lives, No Longer Street Protests, Reveals Weapons Control Plan: NPR



David Hogg, currently a graduate of Margery Stoneman Douglas High School, has become one of the most famous figures in the gun violence prevention movement, Our Life.

Laura Roman / NPR


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Laura Roman / NPR

David Hogg, now a graduate of Margery Stoneman Douglas High School, has become one of the most famous figures in the gun violence movement Our Life

Laura Roman / NPR

Hoping to fade that Washington lawmakers will adopt new gun safety measures, young activists from March For Our Lives have plans of their own to stop gun violence.

The proposal, called the Peace Plan for a Safer America, comes just over two weeks after a pair of mass shootings claimed the lives of 31 people and injured dozens more in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. In the days following these shootings, President Trump has signaled that there is a "very strong appetite for background checks" on people who want to buy a firearm.

But there are reports that the president has either lost interest in the matter or changed his mind.

March For Our Lives organizers say there must be more urgency than elected officials to protect American life. They see the weapons problem as a crisis and as a reason the federal government declares a state of emergency in the country.

"The fact that we continue to get involved in the debate and then nothing happens is what kills Americans every day," March For Our Live co-founder David Hogg tells NPR.

Hog survived a shooting at Margie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year. Seventeen students and faculty members were shot to death by a former student.

Following this tragedy, Hog and other young activists became an influential force in the movement to prevent gun violence.

Hog says that the multi-point plan his group offers has three desirable incomes. Reduce gun mortality by 50% over the next decade, push for a "higher standard" on gun ownership in the US, and push federal officials to enact more laws to protect Americans from gun violence.

If the plan is fully adopted, 200,000 American lives can be saved under the proposal.

The plan also calls for the introduction of extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), commonly referred to as "red flag" laws. Accepted in several states of Parkland, it gives law enforcement, and in some cases family members, a way to petition a court to have a firearm temporarily removed from someone who poses a risk to themselves or others .

According to a recent poll, 77% of Americans support ERPOs initiated by family members, while just under 70% support similar protection orders initiated by law enforcement.

"This point in this plan is to pressure presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, to sign it," Hog.

Hog says he and other organizers would be open to meeting the president on their plan. But he cites the days after the Parkland shooting when Trump took to Twitter to say that he was in favor of a number of gun safety reforms, just so they don't follow over time. He tweeted on February 22 last year:

"I will urge comprehensive mental health checks. Raising the age to 21 and ending stock market sales! Congress is finally in the mood to do something about it. "I hope so!"

While the stock market ban came into force earlier this year, Trump backed down other proposals.

Other elements in the March For Our Lives plan are similar to the proposals, proposed by some Democratic presidential nominees in 2020, including calls for increased gun purchases, bans on high-capacity assault weapons and magazines, and the creation of a federal weapons licensing program

According to the group's proposal for license program, in to In addition to the prospective buyer undergoing a background check, law enforcement agencies conduct personal interviews, verify the buyer's personal references, and ensure that the buyer of the weapon undergoes a safety training course.

Licenses will be renewed annually upon completion of these requirements. And on top of that, there is an annual fee that "every responsible gun owner would pay in the national license system for the ability to own and use a firearm," according to the proposal.

"Being able to go back and do these periodic checks is really important," says Yves Levenson, federal affairs manager for March For Our Lives, comparing renewals to those for driver's licenses.

Lawrence Keane of the National Sports Shooting Foundation, an arms trade organization, disagrees. He sees the creation of a federal weapons licensing program as unnecessary, as the Second Amendment gives Americans "the right to bear arms."

"No government license is required to exercise your constitutional right," says Keane, who he adds that he finds the proposals "deeply troubling".

Keane also added that having a licensing program would not deter criminals who would find other ways to obtain weapons.

After the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, there were signs that Washington would consider new legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that when Congress returns next month, he expects expectations for scrutiny and "red flag laws" will be part of the discussion.

Hog, a Parkland survivor, says those don't go far enough.

The group also insists on the creation of a royal gun to report directly to the president. The proposal also calls for a national arms buyback program that imposes higher fees for the purchase of mass firearms and ammunition and a ban on the sale and transfer of handguns and ammunition carried out online.


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