March for Our Lives, the student-led activist group founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school mass shooting, on Wednesday proposed sweeping new gun control measures and called on 2020 presidential candidates to endorse its “Peace Plan for a Safer America.”
“Gun violence is destroying our generation. This is simply unacceptable,” the group said.
The group's first public plan since the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton earlier this month includes some familiar proposals to curb gun violence as well as more ambitious ones to address what the student call a “a national public health emergency.”
The plan calls for raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, creating a national licensing and gun registry, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as implementing a mandatory gun buyback program.
The group also proposed implementing a new role with the next presidential administration called the National Director of Gun Violence Prevention who would report directly to the president on issues on gun violence prevention.
Former Texas congressman and 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke quickly responded to the release of the plan tweeting, “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.”
After the Parkland shooting in which 17 students and staff were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, the March for Our Lives group took to the streets and organized hundreds of thousands of Americans, including children, student activists, concerned parents and angry teachers, to march in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country, demanding an end to gun violence and for federal lawmakers to act.
Their calls for action seemed to go unheeded by lawmakers as Congress has failed to pass any comprehensive control laws since then.
“We know this seems ambitious given Washington’s apathy to decades of bloodshed in our schools, neighborhoods, and even our houses of worship,” David Hogg, one of the faces of the March for Our Lives movement, tweeted Wednesday morning. “Policymakers have failed, so survivors are stepping up. The #PeacePlan is written by the generation that’s only ever known lockdown drills. But we WILL be the last. We’re not just fighting against the status quo, we’re fighting for real change, for justice, for peace.”
In the days following the Parkland shooting, during a listening session with teachers and students, Trump signaled that he was going to act on universal background checks.
"We’re going to be very strong on background checks. We’re going to be doing very strong background checks,” Trump said in 2018.
In the wake of the the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, mass shootings, Trump again seemed to note that he was open to legislation on background checks and said that his administration and Congress were talking about gun control reform.
However, a few weeks after saying “we have to have very meaningful background checks,” Trump on Tuesday appeared to back off on any new push background checks, and repeated his assertion that mental illness is the actual problem.
“We have strong background checks right now,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “But we have sort of missing areas and areas that don't complete the whole circle. And we're looking at different things and I have to tell you it's a mental problem, I said it 100 times, it's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person that pulls the trigger.”
Trump had a lengthy conversation Tuesday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive for the National Rifle Association, multiple senior level sources confirm to ABC News.
The president told LaPierre he does not support universal background checks, the sources said, but that does not mean background check legislation is off the table.