Demonstrators are rallying for laws against gun violence across the United States on Saturday (June 11), including New York City calling on lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at curbing gun violence following last month’s massacre at a Texas elementary school.
In New York ninth grader Anya Biggs says the United States is at a “tipping point.” She said, “If this trend continues and if we don’t choose to take this opportunity to fight back, it’s going to continue again, the cycle is going to continue and eventually people aren’t going to be phased by it anymore.”
March for Our Lives (MFOL), the gun safety group founded by student survivors of the 2018 massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school, said it has planned more than 450 rallies for Saturday, including in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The organization’s 2018 march on Washington, weeks after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, brought hundreds of thousands of people to the nation’s capital to pressure Congress to take legislative action, though Republican opposition has prevented any new limits on guns from passing the U.S. Senate.
U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who earlier this month urged Congress to ban assault weapons, expand background checks and implement other gun control measures, said he supported Saturday’s protests.
A gunman in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24, 10 days after another gunman murdered 10 Black people in a Buffalo, New York, grocery store in a racist attack.
The latest mass shootings have added new urgency to the country’s ongoing debate over gun violence, though the prospects for federal legislation remain uncertain.
Among other policies, MFOL has called for an assault weapons ban, universal background checks for those trying to purchase guns and a national licensing system, which would register gun owners.
In recent weeks, a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators have vowed to hammer out a deal, though they have yet to reach an agreement. Their effort is focused on relatively modest changes, such as incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws that allow authorities to keep guns from individuals deemed a danger to others.
The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a sweeping set of gun safety measures, but the legislation has no chance of advancing in the Senate, where Republicans have opposed gun limits as infringing upon the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.
(Video: Eric Cox; Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)