‘March for Our Lives’ Proposes Ambitious Plan to Reduce Gun Violence: Confiscate 100 Million Guns
March for Our Lives, the student-led movement focused on gun prevention that emerged from the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, has a new platform that it wants lawmakers to endorse: It would potentially confiscate more than 100 million guns and implement other restrictions on the ownership of firearms.
The plan, titled A Peace Plan for a Safer America, calls on the federal government to institute buybacks to reduce the number of civilian-owned guns in the United States. As the plan notes, last year the Small Arms Survey estimated there were more than 393 million civilian-owned guns in the country.
The plan does not specify how many guns would be purchased through voluntary buybacks and how many taken through mandatory buybacks, but it says “assault weapons” would be subject to a mandatory buyback. Depending on how many buybacks are mandatory, the gun control group’s plan could require the confiscation of up to 117 million firearms.
“In order to operationalize new laws like an assault weapons ban and a higher standard of gun ownership, we need to implement a federal gun buy-back program that facilitates compliance with new laws and provides economic incentives for gun owners to responsibly reduce their gun inventory,” the plan says. “All government-purchased gun inventory would be destroyed. The intended goal: a reduction of our domestic firearm stock by at least 30%. To be clear: the implementation of an assault weapons ban should be a full mandatory buy-back of assault weapons, but we would also create programs to encourage voluntary civilian reduction of handguns and other firearms.”
March for Our Lives did not respond to an inquiry about the buyback breakdown or the definitions of “assault weapon” and “high-capacity magazine,” which the group wants to ban but does not define in its proposal.
The gun control group pointed to a 2011 Harvard University review, which found gun deaths decreased in the years after Australia’s 1996 gun confiscation effort. The group failed to mention the United States experienced a similar decrease in its firearm murder rate between 1993 and 2013—with gun murders cut in half even as gun manufacturing more than doubled.
Additionally, the Harvard review admitted, “it does not appear that the Australian experience with gun buybacks is fully replicable in the United States.”
March for Our Lives supporters said the proposed buybacks are part of an intentionally provocative plan designed to upend American gun culture. Many of the ideas in the plan are decades-old favorites of gun control organizations.
“It’s bold. It’s nothing like anyone else is proposing. We are really setting audacious goals,” Tyah-Amoy Roberts, a survivor of the Parkland shooting and a March for Our Lives board member, told the Washington Post. “And more than anything, what we are seeking to do is be intersectional. We know and acknowledge every day that gun violence prevention is not just about preventing mass shootings.”
While the confiscation of more than 100 million firearms from Americans may be the most audacious goal, it is not the only idea in the plan. The group also called for a ban on ownership of firearms without a special license from the federal government and payment of licensing fees. The system briefly sketched out in the group’s plan would require Americans, of whom about 120 million already report having a gun in their home, to have an in-person interview with law enforcement and provide references before the official would grant a license to purchase a firearm. The license would need to be renewed every year if granted.
The gun control group also called for a national registry of firearms sales, a ban on anyone under 21 possessing any firearms, expanding the categories of people prohibited from possessing firearms, limiting how many firearms Americans can buy each month, and legislating requirements on how Americans store their guns. The plan demands greater federal funding for various gun violence, domestic violence, and suicide prevention programs. It also calls on the president to declare a national emergency on gun violence and appoint a “National Director of Gun Violence Prevention.”
The March for Our Lives plan also calls for the firearms industry to be held legally responsible for criminal acts committed by third parties using their products. It asks the Supreme Court to “reexamine” its landmark gun rights ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller that the city could not outright ban the ownership of handguns because the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. March for Our Lives said the next administration should institute a gun control litmus test for judicial nominees.
“The next generation of federal judges appointed by the President need to be champions of gun violence prevention and a different interpretation of the Second Amendment,” the plan said.
The plan also calls on the IRS and FEC to investigate the National Rifle Association.
While the policy proposals in the March for Our Lives plan are not new, they had been largely relegated to the fringes of the gun control movement since the late 1990s. Political observers viewed aggressive gun control positions as detrimental to electoral hopes outside of deep blue areas. Recently, however, gun control proponents have been pushing for stricter proposals from Democratic candidates.
Despite Hillary Clinton losing her race to Donald Trump after declaring the Supreme Court “wrong” on the Second Amendment, Democrats appear to be encouraged by the election of some gun-control-supporting candidates in the 2018 midterms. Democratic presidential candidates have all embraced new gun bans and other strict gun control policies at the urging of groups like March for Our Lives.
However, gun rights groups like the NRA argue the gun control group’s plan is “out of the mainstream.”
“The gun control community is finally being marginally honest about their true wishlist,” Amy Hunter, an NRA spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. “The simple fact remains their proposals and ideas are out of the mainstream and most people will understand their real intent goes beyond what they publicly state.”
March for Our Lives, on the other hand, argues “sweeping reform” is needed immediately.
“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 group’s plan said. “The time for comprehensive and sweeping reform is now.”