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Parkland school shooting survivors propose comprehensive plan for gun control

Parkland survivors unveil gun control plan

Student activists and survivors of the 2018 deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, are proposing bold action to reduce gun violence by half over the next decade. The initiative led by March for Our Lives — the group of former Parkland students who have turned to promoting gun reform in the wake of the mass shooting — is called the Peace Plan for a Safer America. It aims to get at the root causes of gun violence and open a dialogue about gun use in America, where nearly 40,000 people die annually from guns.

The plan not only makes recommendations to end mass shootings, but also outlines the steps needed to combat everyday gun violence that grips communities nationwide. It comes shortly after two deadly mass shootings over the span of one weekend earlier this month in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

"For too long we have looked to elected officials to solve America's gun violence crisis and time and time again, they have fallen to the pressure of NRA donations and the status quo. Their failure to do their jobs has had deadly consequences," said David Hogg, a co-founder of March For Our Lives, in a statement Tuesday.

"It is clear that the time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone. It is now time for real change and real action," he added.

Among the proposals, the students call for legislative action in Washington to create a national licensing and registry system; a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; policies like a "red flag" law to disarm gun owners who pose a risk to themselves or others; and a national gun buy-back program.

They also target the largest gun lobby in the nation head-on by urging the Federal Election Commission and the IRS to pursue investigations of the NRA and repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. In recent days, several NRA board members have resigned amid turmoil over leaked documents showing the group's longtime leader Wayne LaPierre may have misused member dues. Now the group's tax-exempt status is being investigated by the attorneys general of New York and Washington, D.C.

March for Our Lives is also advocating for automatic voter registration at age 18 to jump-start the next generation of politically engaged citizens.

"The younger generations are disproportionately affected by gun violence. They should have a say in how their country solves this epidemic," the group said. 

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The proposal comes amid renewed calls for action on gun control after years of gridlock on Capitol Hill. The students' plan has already drawn support from the likes of Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a leading advocate for gun reform.

"My hope is that this proposal will stimulate an important debate on how Congress can take big steps to keep our communities safe from gun violence and save lives," said Murphy, a Democrat.

The plan also has the backing from a 2020 presidential contender in former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke

"Following the lead of the students marching for their lives, and for all of ours, we will end this epidemic. I support their Peace Plan For A Safer America — and I call on everyone else in this race to do the same," O'Rourke tweeted

However, the NRA said in a statement that the proposals raised by Parkland school shooting survivors were "out of the mainstream."

"The gun control community is finally being marginally honest about their true wish list. The simple fact remains their proposals and ideas are out of the mainstream and most people will understand their real intent goes beyond what they publicly state," said NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter.

For now, the House Judiciary Committee plans to return early from their August recess to consider three bills that directly address gun violence, but they don't go as far as some of March for our Lives' proposals.

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