Aidan Tysinski, Staff
Lost in the chaos due to former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, last Sunday marked the three-year anniversary of the deadly Parkland shooting. The attack was carried out by a former Stoneman Douglas high school student, who killed 14 students and three teachers. The attack led to many protests around the country for more restrictive gun laws, or to ban the owning of semi-automatic rifles altogether.
On Sunday, to remember the victims, President Joe Biden put out a statement on the @POTUS Instagram account to show his sympathy for the victims as well as his plans for gun reform. In the statement, Biden says “The Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones.” He then shows his support for what their families have done, saying they “have showed us how to turn our grief into purpose — to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement of change.” Biden ends the statement by calling on Congress to pass bills that require background checks, ban assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines and eliminate immunity to gun manufacturers, who Biden says have “knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Politicians and groups were quick to come out with responses following the statement. The NRA Instagram page issued a post highlighting the Biden administration’s plan for gun reform, then ended the post by saying “NRA will NEVER stop fighting for the 2nd Amendment.” Freshman congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green posted a picture of a line from the Second Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, which states “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” However, not every statement was politically motivated. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said that the parents’ “grace in the face of the most traumatic loss has been humbling.”
On Jan. 8, former house representative Gabrielle Gifford, who was shot during the Tucson shooting in 2011 that killed her staffer Gabe Zimmerman and nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, sent out a tweet for the ten-year memorial of the shooting. Biden responded to the tweet by saying “I pledge to continue to work with you — and with survivors, families, and advocates across the country — to defeat the NRA and end our epidemic of gun violence.” This tweet also got swift pushback from Republicans.
Like many issues Congress is dealing with, gun reform is a very partisan issue that seems to have no end in sight. During the 2020 primary, many Democrats had different plans for gun reform, such as using the federal government to buy guns back from citizens, to acquiring gun licenses and background checks through the federal government. Republicans, on the other hand, have called for red flag laws and some universal background checks, but have failed to pass several gun laws that have reached the senate and house floors. There is also the issue of the Second Amendment, which states that citizens have the right to own weapons. The NRA’s goal is to protect the Second Amendment, which puts Republican lawmakers in a tight spot, since the NRA donated close to $30 million to Republican campaigns in 2020. It seems that President Biden and the Democrats will once again be facing an uphill battle to pass gun reforms that are opposed by a huge Republican donor and several Congress members currently serving.