Washington —President Biden marked Monday the fourth anniversary of the 2018 shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland (Florida), and claimed 17 lives. He called on the nation to “uphold our solemn obligation to end gun violence.”
“We cannot bring back the people we have lost. In a statement, Mr. Biden stated that we can all come together to fulfill our first responsibility as a government and democracy: to keep one another safe.” It is time to fulfill that solemn obligation for Parkland, all the victims, and all those who remain.
On February 14, 2018, Parkland high school students and faculty were shot to death. This was the deadliest high school shooting in history. Nikolas Cruz, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student, pleaded guilty to the murder of 17 victims. His sentencing trial, in which jurors will decide if he should be sentenced to the death penalty or to life imprisonment, is scheduled to begin in April.
Students began to demand more stringent gun laws after the massacre, but Congress has failed to make major changes.
Biden acknowledged the efforts of young Americans to push elected officials to tighten gun regulations and stated that their “extraordinary move is making sure the voices victims, survivors and responsible gun owners are heard louder than those of gun manufacturers and National Rifle Association.”
In an effort to reduce gun violence, the president made a series of unilateral moves last year. These included crafting model legislation for “red flag” laws that would temporarily ban people with mental disorders or other crises accessing firearms. Also, reviewing federal policy regarding the use of pistols with stabilizing braces.
However, Mr. Biden’s nominee for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, David Chipman, , was retracted in September due to bipartisan concerns over his gun control advocacy. Since 2015, the agency hasn’t had a Senate confirmed director. The president has not yet proposed a replacement.
However, Biden reiterated that Congress must pass legislation to combat gun violence. This includes universal background checks, banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and eliminating immunity for firearms producers.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, noted that the House passed two bills last January expanding background checks for firearm sales. She called upon the Senate to send the legislation Mr. Biden to his approval.
She stated that every child has the right to pursue their dreams without fear for their lives in a statement released on the anniversary of Parkland’s shooting. “As we commemorate this day of solemn rememberance and every day thereafter, let’s renew our commitment towards ending gun violence, restoring safety in our schools, workplaces, houses of worship, as well as building a world that is peaceful for future generations.”
Despite efforts to improve the nation’s gun laws being made, it is unlikely that such efforts will succeed in the current Congress. Democrats and Republicans control 50 Senate seats, and 60 votes are required for legislation to move to the upper chamber.