Tuesday, September 21, 2021

US lawmakers back students demanding stricter gun control

Washington, Mar 14 (EFE).- Numerous lawmakers, including Democratic leaders in Congress, expressed their backing for hundreds of students who took to the streets in Washington and around the country on Wednesday to call for stricter control over access to guns in the US a month after a school massacre in Florida.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the crowd gathered in front of the Capitol that 7,000 students had lost their lives to gun violence, saying that the victims were “7,000 kids whose lives could have been before them. Enough is enough.”

The massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland occurred on Feb. 14 and rekindled the national debate over access to weapons, sparking a student movement whose members are fighting to prohibit certain types of guns and strengthen the background check system.

Schumer said that he and fellow Democratic lawmakers had been fighting for stricter gun control for the past 10 years but the “big difference” now is that “we have you,” the students, adding that he considered himself to be the National Rifle Association’s “Public Enemy No. 1, and I’m proud of it!”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic senators, including Bernie Sanders and Bill Nelson, also took advantage of the student demonstration on National Walkout Day to express their rejection of violence committed with firearms.

Pelosi said that 97 percent of all US students agree that the national background check system that gun buyers must go through before being allowed to purchase a firearm must be strengthened.

“I say to my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle: No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children,” Pelosi said. “Let’s get the job done.”

One of the demonstrators, Edwin Lemus, 17, called upon Congress and President Donald Trump to “put an end” to the “senseless” massacres that are occurring at schools around the country, a situation that – he says – makes him afraid that such an event could happen at his school.

Among other proposals, Trump has said that certain teachers should receive training in how to handle firearms and then carry weapons to class with the aim of deterring future shooters.

“I think it’s a bad idea because going to school would scare us even more than it does now … We don’t need the teachers to bring weapons to class,” Lemus, who attended the demonstration with classmates and teachers from his Maryland school, told EFE.

Another student from Washington, 17-year-old Michael Kanti, also said that arming teachers was a bad idea: “Teachers are human beings and they can go crazy suddenly, too. There could be even more (shootings),” Kanti told EFE.

The 500 students who marched to the Capitol on Wednesday in the capital joined students from more than 3,000 schools around the country who took to the streets in their cities to demonstrate their sadness over the Florida massacre and to demand stricter control over weapons sales.