March for Our Lives presented sweeping gun control proposals that would ban assault rifles and raise the age to purchase guns to 21. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The March for Our Lives group proposed new gun control laws Wednesday that would raise the age to purchase guns from 18 to 21 while requiring longer wait periods and a federal registry for gun purchases.
The proposal also would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The group's Peace Plan attempts to push the national conversation on gun violence further than what's being considered by President Donald Trump and Congress. March for Our Lives was started by survivors of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018.
"We know this seems ambitious given Washington's apathy to decades of bloodshed in our schools, neighborhoods and even our houses of worship," March for Our Lives activist David Hogg tweeted. "Policymakers have failed, so survivors are stepping up. The #PeacePlan is written by the generation that's only ever known lockdown drills. But we WILL be the last."
This comes just weeks after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left dozens dead and dozens more injured. The shootings reignited the debate over gun control.
The plan provides six steps that the president's administration could take after the 2020 election. They include changing the standards of gun ownership, holding the gun lobby and industry accountable, naming a federal director of gun violence prevention, generating community-based solutions, empowering the next generation, and reducing the number of gun deaths by half in 10 years.
"We don't have to live like this: in fear for our lives and our families," March for Our Lives posted on its website. "The federal government has failed in its responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of the public with regard to the nation's gun violence epidemic. The time for comprehensive and sweeping reform is now."
It remains to be seen what Congress will do in the aftermath of the shootings -- the House judiciary committee will reconvene early to have a hearing on gun control Sept. 4. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not reconvene the Senate to take up gun control laws despite protests at his office.
The national director of gun violence prevention would bypass traditional White House reporting structures and would have a line straight to the president. The director would be responsible for working with other federal agencies to establish a licensing program.
The national licensing fee requires gun owners to pay for the ability to possess firearms. There would also be a higher fee on the bulk purchase of firearms and ammunition.
"Studies have found that gun violence is the most seriously under-researched cause of death, even while other causes with similar or lower rates of mortality, including hypertension, anemia and malnutrition have $1 billion in funding," March for Our Lives said.
March for Our Lives also wants the federal government to mail out voter registration cards automatically when Americans turn 18 to make it easy for young people to register to vote.