This weekend protestors have taken to the streets all around the world in attempts to push the White House to tighten gun controls in America. The move came after the tragic high school shooting in Florida last month. Seventeen innocent civilians – including students and teachers – were killed, whilst several others were injured in the six-minute, twenty-second rampage.
The shooting sparked international outrage, with celebrities and ordinary Americans alike calling on the government to change gun laws in a way that made it more difficult for people to buy arms. The protests have rallied the most attendees to any American demonstration like this since the Vietnam war.
Gun control debates have been a controversial topic in America for decades, with the most notable recent campaign (besides March For Our Lives) being the Black Lives Matter causes. The Obama administration was vocal about their desires to tighten gun control, although this issue was put to the back of the agenda once Trump came to power. A key concern in the debate is that the Republican Party receive huge amounts of funding from the National Rifle Association (NRA) so are not keen to increase gun regulations for fear that they will lose this financial backing.
However, this has caused huge controversy amongst Americans and the international community, as some have deemed this as putting a value on human life. The importance of this detail was emphasized through signs used on the march with the slogan ‘there should be a background check before the NRA are allowed to buy a senator’.
The Washington March alone attracted over 800,000 attendees, whilst 175,000 turned up in New York, and 30,000 in Atlanta and Pittsburgh alone. 800 other events were held across the world – including London, Sydney, Mumbai, Tokyo, and Paris.
Celebrities active in the protests included George and Amal Clooney, who also donated $500,000 to the cause, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney and Ariana Grande.
President Trump has spent the weekend away from the rallies, although previous President Barak Obama has tweeted his support of the marches, stating that he was ‘inspired’ by the action young people were taking to tackle the problems gun violence has caused.
Gun laws in America are considered to be both lax and backward by many. Legally, you can buy arms at eighteen years of age – three years earlier than when you are legally allowed to drink alcohol.
Young people present at the Sandy Hook massacre of 2012 and the Florida shooting earlier this year have been what has made this protest stand out from others. Students have called for the safety of their schools to be guaranteed, as learning and not fear should be the priority of any educational institution.
The government is yet to officially respond, but the international scale of these protests have made it an extremely difficult issue for the Trump administration to ignore.