It’s perhaps one of the biggest issues dividing our nation right now. The issue over gun control has drawn out people on both sides of the debate.
High school students have been walking out of classrooms, going to their state capitol’s, and even to Washington, D.C. to make a plea to lawmakers.
“Every successful fight for social and political change in this country has been lead by young people and now the anti-gun violence movement is being lead by young people,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut during a rally.
Generation Progress and the Center for American Progress released a report last week, which revealed that gun violence has surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 29.
The February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School seemed to be a tipping point when it comes to gun control in the United States. Gunman Nikolas Cruz, a former student, killed 17 students and injured 17 more.
Survivor Aalayah Eastmond was one of the students who spoke out to lawmakers. “No student should need to hide under their classmates body to survive, but I was that student.No student should have to be told not to look left, right up or down because of bodies, but I was that student,” she said.
7News legal analyst Diana Crutchfield said it’s not a matter of whether someone supports the second amendment, rather how someone interprets it.
“Every Constitutional right has got some limits. Freedom of Speech has some limits we all know, even Freedom of Religion has some limits,” she said.
There is a prefatory clause written prior to the formation of the United States military that reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” Crutchfield said the fight is not over whether people should be allowed to own firearms for their own personal protection, but whether they have the right to own military-grade weapons.
“A lot of people just think they have a right to own a weapon for self-defense and clearly they do under Heller. But we know that there are greater concerns then just protecting yourself. And that’s where the semi-automatic weapon issue comes in,” Crutchfield said.
From 1994 to 2004, a federal assault weapons ban was in place, and it was then allowed to sunset in 2004. Similar bills were proposed to Congress in 2013 and 2015, but they did not succeed in moving forward.
“And I think now with the school shootings, that’s the specific avenue to go. And pretty soon they’re going to have to start deciding whether the restriction of ownership of semi-automatic weapons is a reasonable restriction under the second amendment,” Crutchfield said.
President Donald Trump spoke at the NRA Convention last Friday where he issued a warning to members: “win the election or lose your right to bear arms.”
“The one thing that stands between Americans and the elimination of our Second Amendment rights has been conservatives in Congress,” the President told the assembly.
President Trump touted his school safety plan, which would provide $2 billion for increased security, mental health treatment, and arming school personnel, something he believes would deter would-be shooters.
“There is no stronger deterrent than knowledge that their attack will end their lives and end in total failure,” President Trump said.
It could be quite some time before lawmakers take any action, but Crutchfield says they’re noticing action among young people.
“And that’s why the movement of the high schoolers, in Florida for example. It heightens awareness, people move a little quicker, they think a little more about it and that’s what civil advocacy does, that’s what it always has done,” she said.