WASHINGTON – March for Our Lives, the gun control movement started by student survivors of last year’s school shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead in February 2018 in Parkland, Florida, announced a package of gun control measures, USA TODAY reports.
The proposal is called “A Peace Plan for a Safer America,” and one of MFOL’s founders, Jaclyn Corin, described it as the “Green New Deal, but for guns.”
March for Our Lives had already called for universal background checks but the new proposal is more comprehensive than their previous list of demands.
In addition to background checks, the group is now calling for a multi-step approval process for gun ownership that includes “in-person interviews, personal references, rigorous gun safety training, and a waiting period of 10 days for each gun purchase.”
It also looks to impose much stricter limits on purchases by raising the minimum age for gun possession to 21 and limiting Americans to one firearm purchase per month. It’s unclear how the plan will be implemented as that purchase limit would seem to preclude its other goal of imposing higher fees on bulk firearm purchases.
These fees, along with annual fees for firearm licenses, would be directed toward addressing gun violence. The plan also called for a national licensing and registry system. Although an exact figure is impossible to pin down, researchers believe that there are more guns that people in the United States.
The key elements of a national gun and ammunition licensing system would include (Straight from MFOL Website):
- A multi-step approval process, overseen by a law enforcement agency, that requires background checks, in-person interviews, personal references, rigorous gun safety training, and a waiting period of 10 days for each gun purchase. Licenses would be renewed every year upon successful completion of annually refreshed requirements in the above areas. In the process, a national registry of firearms sales would be created to make gun owners responsible for their weapons and hold them accountable when those weapons are used in a crime. Our licensing system would also include the ability to disarm individuals who become a danger to themselves or others.
- Annual licensing fees for anyone who wants to obtain a national gun and ammunition license. Gun violence has indirect and direct costs of hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and any responsible gun owner would pay into the national licensing system for the ability to possess and use firearms. In addition, we would impose higher fees on the bulk purchase of firearms and ammunition, which have been predicates to the misuse of firearms.
- A higher standard for gun ownership, which would start with raising the minimum age for gun possession to 21. In addition, we would expand prohibited categories for obtaining a gun license, with a focus on those with a propensity for violence. This would include: individuals with felony convictions, any level of domestic violence offenders (protective orders and misdemeanors), individuals with a documented history of violence, individuals convicted of hate crimes, individuals convicted of stalking, and individuals that make a credible and public threat against a specific person or institutions such as schools, churches, or workplaces.
- A limit of one firearm purchase per month.
- A prohibition on any and all online firearm and ammunition sales or transfers, including gun parts.
- A requirement to safely store firearms, including implementing national standards for locking devices on guns.
- A requirement to report guns that are lost or stolen to local law enforcement within 72 hours.
- A federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It’s simple: weapons of war that enable more casualties during mass shootings should not be allowed on our streets and in our communities. We’ve debated this for decades and it’s time to get it done.
- A federal policy to effectively disarm gun owners who have become a risk to themselves or others. For example, Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws give families and law enforcement a civil remedy to disarm individuals who are a danger to themselves or others; a 2018 study found that a Connecticut law similar to ERPO was associated with a 14% reduction in suicides. We need a federal version of these policies – and we need to support states in training and implementation.
- A national gun buy-back and disposal program. There are an estimated 256-393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, which means there are more guns than people in the U.S. In order to operationalize new laws like an assault weapons ban and a higher standard of gun ownership, we need to implement a federal gun buy-back program that facilitates compliance with new laws and provides economic incentives for gun owners to responsibly reduce their gun inventory. All government-purchased gun inventory would be destroyed. The intended goal: a reduction of our domestic firearm stock by at least 30%. To be clear: the implementation of an assault weapons ban should be a full mandatory buy-back of assault weapons, but we would also create programs to encourage voluntary civilian reduction of handguns and other firearms. Evidence indicates that a national gun buy-back program can itself help reduce gun violence; in fact, Australia’s national gun buy-back program was associated with as much as a 57% reduction in firearms deaths.
- State authority beyond federal law. States and municipalities have long been our laboratories of democracy. Where federal policy is lacking or sits stalled in Congress, the next Administration needs to make it clear that states and municipalities are empowered to pass localized policies that go beyond federal law. States can also continue to lead with the above list of gun safety policies, much in the same way that states have led on other critical issues (like environmental law and policy) when the federal government has failed to act.
The source of MFOL’s funding is a topic others have wondered about and investigated, and some questions surrounding who exactly is funneling the money remain.
NPR reported in March the group had said its funding came from “crowdfunding and other donations — including from household name celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney,” and that the MFOL board of directors was “comprised of adults,” due to legal restrictions.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune