Minggu, 14 Februari 2021

Joe Biden calls for tougher US guns laws on anniversary of Parkland school shooting - ABC News

US President Joe Biden has used the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting massacre to call on Congress to strengthen gun laws, including by requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons.

Mr Biden joined the Parkland, Florida, community in remembering the 17 people killed three years ago in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In a statement released by the White House, Mr Biden also called for Congress to outlaw high-capacity magazines and make gun manufacturers liable for the role their products played in violence.

Mr Biden said his administration would not wait for the next mass shooting to take action against "our epidemic of gun violence".

Mr Biden said Americans mourned with the families of Parkland victims, as well as "all those who have lost loved ones to gun violence".

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered flags across the state be lowered to half-mast from sunrise to sunset to honour those who died when a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas opened fire on campus with an AR-15 rifle on Valentine's Day in 2018.

When the gunfire ended, 14 students and three staff members were dead. Seventeen others were injured.

The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, is still awaiting trial.

Declaring a day of remembrance, Mr DeSantis also asked fellow Floridians to pause for a moment of silence.

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Students are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He also noted some ways safety had been improved since the tragedy, including through alert systems at schools and programs designed to prevent violence before it occurred.

The panic alert measure was dubbed Alyssa's Law, in honour of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the students killed three years ago.

Push for more to be done on gun violence

Critics of Mr DeSantis and Florida's Republican-controlled legislature say guns are too easily accessible and more needs to be done to keep assault-style guns away from those who could use them to against others.

"The passage of time has done little to heal the heartbreak we felt upon hearing the shocking news three years ago today, nor dulled our sense of outrage at the lack of consequential legislative action from lawmakers since that horrible morning — laws that would prevent another Parkland from ever happening again," Manny Diaz, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, said.

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Play Video. Duration: 5 minutes 2 seconds
Planet America's John Barron looks back at the history of the second amendment.

Over the years, deadly violence targeting schools has shaken the US — including the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 that claimed 32 lives and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

Two years before the Parkland shooting, another gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people.

None of the deadly events produced comprehensive gun laws.

Mass shootings have galvanised gun control advocates, who have been met with resistance from Republican politicians and supporters of the US constitution's second amendment.

Parents divided over political response

Parkland parents have been divided over how politicians should respond to the shooting.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was 14 when she was killed in the massacre, said Mr Biden's proposed changes would not prevent further tragedies.

"It's wrong to focus on the weapon," Mr Petty, who is now a member of the state school board, said.

"For those who understand what happened that day, there were mistakes.


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2021-02-15 00:39:00Z

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