March For Our Lives’ Peace Plan for a Safer America aims to reduce gun violence

The plan, called a Peace Plan for a Safer America, takes an intersectional approach to reduce gun violence and its organizers hope it will come to the attention of 2020 candidates.

Survivors of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have released their latest gun violence prevention idea: Peace Plan for a Safer America. The plan released Aug. 21, advocates for a comprehensive approach to gun violence prevention.

It includes automatically registering those eligible to vote as soon as they turn 18, as well as a national gun registry, a gun buy-back program and naming a national gun violence prevention director who would report directly to the president.

MU senior Matt Carroll, group leader of Mizzou Students Demand Action, said that while this initiative may not be realistic under the reign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he believes it could be possible in the future.

“I see myself as an optimist but also a realist,” Carroll said. “Anything’s possible, so I think it could definitely happen but obviously before then a lot would have to change. As long as Mitch McConnell is in the Senate nothing will be even considered on this topic even if it’s as little as universal background checks.”

Mizzou Students Demand Action is a non-partisan group that focuses on common sense gun reform. Carroll said the group testifies against “bad bills” at the Missouri House of Representatives and also spreads awareness of the issue on social media. On Aug. 17 the group attended a gun violence prevention rally at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis along with members of Moms Demand Action.

According to the March for Our Lives’ website, the plan centers on three key points: a higher standard for national gun ownership, an urgent federal response and holding the gun lobby and industry accountable. The group has broken the plan down further using the acronym CHANGE: Change the standards of gun ownership, halve the rate of gun deaths in 10 years, accountability for the gun lobby and industry, name a director of Gun Violence Prevention, generate community-based solutions, and empower the next generation.

“[The plan] covers every aspect of the conversation,” Carroll said. “Someone might look at it and say it’s too big or it’s too fast, but when human lives are at stake you can’t shy away from being broad.”

Critics have looked at McConnell’s unwillingness to call an emergency session of Congress as a sign of unwillingness to discuss gun violence prevention measures on the Senate floor. Congress is currently on recess and is set to return in September. According to CNN, some believe that by the time Congress returns, the issue will have left public conscience, thus lessening pressure on McConnell and Senate Republicans to take action on gun control.

“I do think it’s [gun control] possible,” Carroll said. “We just have to endorse the right people, volunteer for the right people, elect the right people. [We have to] stop looking at this as a political argument but more of a public safety issue, which it is. Anything can happen but I, unfortunately, don’t see it happening in the immediate future.”

Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg told NPR that the goal of the plan is “to pressure presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, to sign on to it.” Currently, 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke is the only candidate who has endorsed the plan, according to Newsweek.

In the wake of back-to-back mass shootings that left over 30 people dead on Aug. 3 and Aug.4 in Texas and Ohio respectively, McConnell has gone back and forth on hearing gun violence prevention bills in the Senate. President Donald Trump has also waffled on the issue.

“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Trump tweeted on Aug. 5.

However, Trump now appears to support red flag laws over universal background checks, according to Newsweek.

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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