Students in Washington, D.C., and across the US staged walkouts, Wednesday, to push for tougher gun control following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. The student-led demonstrations were ‘unprecedented in recent American history.’ Amid the walkouts and calls for gun control, the House approved legislation to strengthen school security but did not touch upon US gun laws.
Following President Trump’s promise to work for improved gun control measures after the Florida High School shooting, he retreated, Monday, instead embracing the agenda of the National Rifle Association. Trump now supports the NRA’s plan for small improvements to the background check system and arming ‘highly trained expert teachers’ with concealed weapons.
A grand jury charged Nikolas Cruz, Florida high school shooter, with a total of 34 counts of premeditated and attempted murder on Wednesday. Cruz could face the death penalty. Florida lawmakers passed a gun control and school safety bill defying NRA, to create new firearms regulations and arm school employees. The bill now goes to the state governor.
Following Delta Air Lines’ decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association, Georgia lawmakers voted to eliminate a tax benefit of at least $38 million for the Atlanta based airline company. Delta ended their promotional discount for NRA members to stay ‘neutral’ in the national gun debate. Georgia Republicans say they have the right to ‘govern guided by our principles.’
President Trump surprised Republicans, Wednesday, urging White House lawmakers to resurrect gun safety legislation, opposed for years by the National Rifle Association. Retail chains Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are also taking steps toward gun control, as they raised the buying age to 21, and Dick’s ended all sales of assault rifles.
Amid rising tensions over gun control following the Florida school shooting, the National Rifle Association rejected President Trump’s call for a federal ban on bump stocks and the sale of rifles to people younger than 21-years old, Sunday. Boycotts inspired by the Florida shooting have lead companies such as United Airlines, Best Western, MetLife and at least a dozen other companies to do away with discounts and perks for National Rifle Association members.
The aftermath of the Florida school shooting continues, as it was announced, Thursday, Scot Peterson, the armed school resource deputy was suspended after it was discovered he never entered the building as the shooting took place last week. Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, commented on the gun reform fight, calling it ‘politicization of tragedy.’
The Florida school shooting may be a stronger catalyst for change than previous tragedies, as students continue pushing for gun reform in the shooting’s aftermath. As President Trump suggested teachers be armed with firearms to prevent shootings, students demanded restrictions of rifle sales, while defending their collective expression against right-wing media who called them actors.
President Trump announced, Tuesday, he has signed an order directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to propose regulations to ban bump stocks and other devices that turn semi-automatic guns into ‘machine guns.’ The proposal comes in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting and last year’s Las Vegas concert attack, where a bump-stock device was used.
Following last week’s Florida school shooting, President Trump is ‘supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,’ according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Surviving students called for a march on Washington to demand gun control reform. Named ‘March for Our Lives,’ the event will happen across the US on March 24th.