A Year After Parkland Massacre, Gun Legislation Has Hardly Changed

On Feb. 14, 2018, the death of 17 people in a Florida high school devastated the country. One year later, little has changed.

For many in the United States, there was a before and after Parkland. On Feb. 14, 2018, a man entered the high school in this Florida town north of Miami and killed 17 people. They were mainly teenagers. The next day, the survivors in tears who had seen their classmates die appeared on television. And the speech by one of the students, Emma Gonzalez, shook the country. In the wake of the shooting, Parkland’s young people organized peaceful marches. In Washington, a month after the tragedy, several hundred thousand people gathered together. The movement “March for Our Lives” was born. Since then, the movement has traveled up and down the country to make the cause for gun control heard.

Gun Deaths at Their Highest Level

The young Gonzalez continues to demand tougher legislation from politicians. Named by Variety as one of five honorees at its 2018 Power of Women event, and endorsed on Twitter by 1.6 million followers, she campaigns on the left, and has just launched a movement to ban automatic weapons in Florida. Her classmate, David Hogg, has written a book about this “new generation” and expects to attend Harvard. And another survivor, Jaclyn Corin, has also become a figure on social media, where she is particularly critical of Donald Trump. One year after the emotion, however, America has not done any self-examination.The shootings have continued every week. And, although the figures from 2018 have not yet been made public, they are likely to be as bad as those of 2017, which saw the number of gun deaths jump to almost 40,000. Seen as a percentage of the population, it was therefore the highest level of violence since the mid-1990s.

Bump Stocks Banned

The debate has been eclipsed, in recent months, by that of drug addiction. Drugs kill more people than guns (70,000 deaths in 2017), although some do see a link between this curse and murder.

In terms of legislation, the results of the March for Our Lives movement are meager for now. It has just managed to ban bump stocks, devices which can turn a gun into an automatic weapon. It is the device which was used during the Las Vegas killings a few months before Parkland. The powerful gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association, and the Republicans have had to give up the use of bump stocks. Many gun sellers have also reduced their supply. The next goal for the activists is to reintroduce the issue in the 2020 presidential campaign and to limit the NRA’s influence in funding policy. It is a huge task. In 2016, the NRA spent more than $30 million. The industry is worth more than $50 billion in the United States.

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