Firearms in the United States: tens of thousands of protesters expected across the country

In New York, Los Angeles, Tucson, Chicago, Washington or San Diego, many will shout “never again”. Hoping that their cry of alarm will finally be heard, less than three weeks after an 18-year-old boy shot dead 19 children and two adults in a Texas school in Uvalde. Ten days earlier, an equally young supremacist had killed ten black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

March for Our Lives (MFOL), the movement founded by student survivors of the 2018 high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, said it has planned more than 450 rallies for this Saturday. The 2018 march, weeks after the deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, brought together hundreds of thousands of people in the nation’s capital to pressure Congress to take legislative action. But the Republican opposition, pushed by the gun lobby and part of the population, has always prevented any new limit on firearms from passing in the United States Senate.

“We will no longer allow you to sit idly by”

Since that historic first march, the Washington Post estimates that more than 115,000 young Americans have been exposed to gun violence from kindergarten to college campus, and counting only the hours when classes are taught.

This time, the organizers want to deliver a simple message to political leaders: inaction kills. “We will no longer allow you to sit idly by while people continue to die,” MFOL board member Trevon Bosley said in an emailed statement. Among other things, the MFOL calls for an assault weapons ban, arguing that New Zealand has managed to do so in a very short time, universal background checks for those trying to buy weapons and a national licensing system. , which would register gun owners.

VIDEO. Joe Biden delivers an impassioned plea to limit the sale of assault rifles

The latest mass killings have added urgency to the country’s ongoing debate on gun violence. In recent weeks, a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators has promised to strike a deal, so far to no avail. Their efforts focus on relatively small changes. Thursday, on CNN, Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut), the main Democrat in the bipartisan negotiations, explained that he thought that, this time, 10 Republicans could vote with the Democrats in the Senate. These 10 votes are absolutely necessary to obtain 60 and pass the law which would make it possible to extend to ten days, instead of three today, the time it takes to check the criminal and psychiatric background of a weapon buyer.

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed, for the second time in months, a package of security measures to put in place for purchases. In addition to the time limit for criminal background checks, the text provides for setting the minimum age for the purchase of most semi-automatic rifles at 21 and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. Provided the Senate votes for it.

However, the upper house of Parliament has so far always opposed a restriction on the trade in firearms, considering, along with the very powerful NRA, the source of the financing of many electoral campaigns, that circumscribing the right to carry weapons would violate the second amendment to the US Constitution, a sacrosanct text in the United States. This amendment provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. It was adopted in 1791.

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