The White House had some words of approval Saturday for those participating in the March for Our Lives protests, which were scheduled to take place all across the U.S.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the protests are an attempt to demand gun control reform throughout America in order to prevent mass shooting like the one in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The statement by White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters reiterated the current administration’s support for certain gun reforms, and praised the protesters for taking advantage of their First Amendment freedoms.
“We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today,” Walters said.
“Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s,” she added. “Which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law.”
Walters also pointed to a Friday proposal from the Justice Department which called for a ban on bump stocks — controversial devices that essentially modify semi-automatic firearms and allow for a rapid rate of fire.
Under the proposed rule, bump stocks would be classified under the same definition as machine guns, which are banned under federal law.
A similar device was used in Las Vegas mass shooting last year, but no serious action was taken at the time in response.
The ban on bump stocks has the support of President Donald Trump, who said as much in a Friday tweet.
Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018
“Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA,” Trump tweeted. “As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”
Under the Obama administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives insisted that bump stocks could not be regulated by the U.S. government, though the recent outcry for gun control has been pushing for such devices — and many others — to be restricted.
Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to converge on the nation’s capital for the March for Lives main protest, though the president himself is currently in Florida.
Moreover, according to The New York Times, more than 800 protests are scheduled to take place in every American state as well as other countries throughout the world, though pro-gun counter-protests were also expected in cities like Salt Lake City, Utah; Greenville, South Carolina; and Helena, Montana.
When speaking about why he marches, Ilan Alhadeff said that he, his wife and other family members traveled all the way to Washington to speak on behalf of his 14-year-old daughter, who was killed in the Parkland shooting.
Alhadeff admitted that though gun policy can be “polarizing” in some respects, measures such as installing bullet-proof glass in classrooms doors shouldn’t be so controversial.
“She would have wanted this,” Alhadeff said. “My beautiful princess: We are giving them all a voice.”
Several Stoneman Douglas students have also met with politicians as they strive to change current gun laws.
“What we’re doing is because we’re not scared of these adults,” said high school junior Jaclyn Corin, who recently spoke with Georgia Rep. John Lewis.
“Because we have nothing to lose, we don’t have an election to lose, we don’t have a job to lose,” she added. “We just have our lives to lose.”
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