At roughly 10 a.m. this Wednesday, thousands of students across the U.S. walked out of class in protest of gun violence.
One month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, students walked out for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 killed last month.
Although Florida senators were quick to pass a new gun bill in response to the shooting, students and gun control advocates have been disappointed in the federal government’s response.
A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump hosted a listening session following the shooting to hear from past survivors of school shootings.
At this meeting, Trump discussed a possible resolution that has been proven effective in the airline sector.
“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” said Trump. “This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.’”
This solution was implemented into the new Florida gun law, but President Trump also said he supported raising the minimum wage for buying assault rifles and also to introducing strict background checks.
“Just two weeks ago, Republican President Donald Trump made major progress on reducing such deadly mass shootings seem tantalizingly close. Trump told lawmakers visiting the White House that he endorsed “very, very strong” background checks for gun buyers and supported Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s push to renew the federal ban on assault-style military rifles that lapsed in 2004. He also expressed interest in raising the minimum age for buying assault rifles to 21,” writes San Diego Union-Tribune. “Now, alas, progress seems illusory. Trump has cooled on raising the age limit for some gun purchases and has shelved talk of a new “assault-weapon” ban. He says he still supports more comprehensive background checks and bans on “bump stocks,” but his interest in a bold Nixon-goes-to-China approach to gun regulation seems to have vanished. Maybe Wednesday’s student rallies create new momentum. But without Trump’s leadership, the long congressional stalemate on guns won’t soon end.”
Different sources are giving different estimates on how many students participated in one of the 3,000 registered demonstrations across the country. The Wall Street Journal reported that 100,000 students just in New York participated. In Atlanta, an estimated 16,000 students walked out. Then in Washington, D.C. several thousand students gathered in front of the White House.
“This is not a matter of left versus right. This is a matter of public safety,” said Cate Whitman, a student at LaGuardia High School in New York. “We’re all working together, which is something we haven’t seen from the adults in a very long time.”
It appears as though, Trump and the White House heard the protesters loud and clear.
“Today the House took major steps toward securing our schools by passing the STOP School Violence Act. We must put the safety of America’s children FIRST by improving training and by giving schools and law enforcement better tools. A tragedy like Parkland can’t happen ever again!” tweeted Trump a few hours after the protests.
The House passed the Stop School Violence Act on Wednesday afternoon, which authorizes $50 million in federal funding to school security upgrades.
However, gun control advocates are demanding much more.
They want to ban assault weapons, require universal background checks before gun sales, and to introduce a gun violence restraining order that would disarm people who have shown violent behavior.
The NRA also made a statement on Wednesday.
The association argues that there is a way to stop violence, while also protecting the second amendment or the right to bear arms.
The NRA also showed its support for the Stop School Violence Act.
“#NRA Applauds STOP School Violence Act of 2018! This bi-partisan legislation provides funding for training students, teachers, school administrators and local law enforcement to identify early warning signs that a person is a threat to themselves or others,” tweeted the NRA.
Author’s note: These protests prove that the gun control debate is continuing to gain momentum. But will a compromise be ever met by both the Democrat and Republican parties? Pro-gun supporters argue it’s their right to carry arms, which it most definitely is. Gun control advocates argue that the easier it is to get guns, the easier it is to use them in an attack. Are they right? This remains a complicated issue.
Editor’s note: Trump’s solution of arming teachers has been implemented in some places, but the media coverage has been wanting.