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Tens of thousands of Americans across the country took to the streets on June 11, 2022, to once again push for more stringent gun control laws. The rallies come in the wake of the tragic deaths of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022, and ten shoppers at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store on June 2, 2022.
March for Our Lives, the student-led movement created by the survivors of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, organized the demonstrations. Since the group's last nationwide protests in 2018, mass shootings — where four or more people (not including the shooter) are injured or killed — have been steadily increasing in the US. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the number of incidents rose from 417 in 2019 to 610 in 2020 to 692 in 2021. 2022 is keeping pace with last year, with 267 such tragedies recorded in just the first six months. The nonprofit, which has been tracking the numbers since 2014, reports that before 2019, there were below 400 incidents annually.
The mass rallies and rising number of shootings have not gone unnoticed. On June 12, 2022, Senate negotiators from the Democratic and Republican parties announced that they had agreed on an outline to approve new gun safety measures. The details are still being finalized. But the legislation is expected to include, among other things, broader background checks for prospective gun buyers under the age of 21. It will also prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence from owning weapons.
"Today, we are announcing a common-sense, bipartisan proposal to protect America's children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country," the 20 senators said in a joint statement. "Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities."
The proposal will now be written into legislative text and presented to Congress for approval. The senators hope to expedite the process and get the new law passed before lawmakers leave for a two-week summer recess on June 24, 2022.
Resources: Washingtonpost.com, NPR.com, CBS.com, CNN.com, Marchforourlives.com