"Created by survivors, so you don't have to be one." That's the tag line for the gun violence plan March For Our Lives released Wednesday morning. Called "A Peace Plan For A Safer America," the plan lists six steps that the organization wants Congress and the next presidential administration to take.
The peace plan comes not long after a string of mass shootings where dozens of people were killed in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. "The federal government has failed in its responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of the public with regard to the nation’s gun violence epidemic," the plan, which was sent to Bustle, states. "The time for comprehensive and sweeping reform is now."
March For Our Lives started as a demonstration led by students who survived a shooting in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since then, the movement has grown into a national organization, with chapters across the country, that not only protests but calls for strategic change, too.
That's a central part of the March For Our Lives peace plan that outlines six steps that spell out "CHANGE." They are:
- Change the standards of gun ownership.
- Halve the rate of gun deaths in 10 years.
- Accountability for the gun lobby and industry.
- Name a national director of gun violence prevention.
- Generate community-based solutions.
- Empower the next generation.
Those steps then delve into specifics like requiring a license to own a gun as you're required to do to drive a car, raising the minimum age to own a gun to 21, implementing a federal ban on assault weapons, declaring a national emergency around the epidemic of gun violence, instituting structural reforms for policing, nominating federal judges who champion gun violence prevention, and investigating the National Rifle Association.
And the plan also makes clear that strategies that work in one community may not work in another. March For Our Lives addresses homicides in urban cities, police violence, intimate partner violence, and suicide prevention in the plan.
Gun violence, it states, is "a deeply intersectional issue, inextricably bound with our long journey for racial justice, economic justice, immigrant rights, and the rights of our LGBTQ allies." Many mass shootings have singled out specific communities — the majority of people who were killed in El Paso were Latinx; the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Florida targeted LGBTQ people, who were also mostly Latinx; and a shooter targeted a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
Between 2012, when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school, and 2018, when a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, there were more than 400 people killed in over 200 school shootings, according to The New York Times. On average, there were about five school shootings each month.
"Gun violence is destroying our generation," the March For Our Lives plan says.
In an essay for Bustle last year, Lauren Hogg, who was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and lost several of her friends in the Parkland shooting, said that she and her peers were often criticized for talking about gun reform because they're "too young."
"When they tell me this," she wrote, "I simply respond with the fact that if I’m old enough to be shot in my school, if my friends are old enough to not be here because of gun violence, I’m old enough to talk about guns."