The activist group March for Our Lives, which is comprised of student activists and survivors from the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, unveiled a sweeping plan to tackle gun violence. Known as “Peace Plan for a Safer America,” the plan includes ambitious proposals to curb gun violence which they say will halve the number of gun-related deaths in America in the next decade. It does parallel a lot of platforms being put forth by Democratic Candidates in the 2020 election.
The “Peace Plan for a Safer America” includes a licensing system for guns (which is similar to what Cory Booker or Andrew Yang have laid out), a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines (every single 2020 candidate supports this), a gun buyback program for assault weapons that’s mandatory (Biden supports this), and a voluntary buyback program for other styles of weapons.
Firearm purchase limits, specifically offering that gun owners can not buy more than one gun per month, is also indicated in the plan. It also asks for the minimum age of gun ownership to be raised to 21 rather than 18. The plan would also ban any online gun sales and transfers, require safe storage, and require gun owners to report when their guns are lost or stolen. In true March For Our Lives style, it also mentions a program that would pay young people to engage with communities on gun violence like the Peace Corps.
The “Peace Plan for a Safer America,” which is outlined in full on the March for our Lives website, states that they are aiming to cut the rates of gun deaths in the country by half within a decade, create accountability in the gun lobby and industry, install a “National Director of Gun Violence Prevention,” and make it as hard to buy and use a gun as it is to buy and drive a vehicle.
The plan also supports “Red flag laws,” laws that make it harder for abusers or suicidal people to get guns, and give states the power to create gun laws that go far beyond federal restrictions. Senator Cory Booker has called to fund the ATF more appropriately to investigate gun violence and this platform calls for the same.
The plan also supports holistic gun violence approaches like addressing guns and police violence, investing in mental health programs, and engaging in community-based violence prevention programs. It also suggests repealing laws that make it more difficult for victims of gun violence to sue manufacturers or sellers of firearms and calls for a consumer safety standards for guns, something that has long been lacking and also exists on a handful of 2020 platforms. In other words, the plan is comprehensive. But that doesn’t mean it would be on the legislative floor tomorrow.
Much like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, a massive climate plan that was released earlier this year, the Peace Plan for a Safer America is not a legislative bill that can be put forth to Congress tomorrow. It’s a series of guidelines for what policy that would limit gun violence could be. Many 2020 candidates have already supported several of the policies in the Peace Plan, and as such, MFOL activists are asking candidates to co-sign the policy stating that they support it. Beto O’Rourke, whose platform was strong on guns and even stronger after the El Paso, Texas shooting in August, was the first candidate to endorse the plan.
The plan comes at a time when President Trump echoes NRA talking points, blaming mental health for mass shootings, proposing bringing back mental health institutions, and refusing to talk background checks, the latter of which is a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support among citizens but one that the Republican party refuses to consider as legislation. In fact, a mandatory background checks bill that would close legal loopholes that allow people to get away without a background check has been sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk since February. It is unlikely that he will hold a vote on it — or lift a finger for the 100 people who die from gun violence a day, at least six of which are children.