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United States: One year after Parkland, Congress looks at arms

The tragedy in a high school in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 sparked a public outburst. Now the majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats relaunch the debate.

On February 14, 2018, a new firearm tragedy struck the United States: in Parkland, Florida, a teenager killed 17 people in a high school in the city. Despite the repetition of these dramas, the event marked the country. In particular, it has led to a strong mobilization of high school students to ask Congress to adopt measures to curb this scourge. A year later, the Democrats, who have become the majority in the House of Representatives, want to act.

Strong mobilization, for mixed results

A year after the tragedy, guns continue to kill across the Atlantic. No place is safe. Neither the churches nor the schools are spared by this blind violence. Despite the excitement of each new tragedy, America is committed to the Second Amendment of its Constitution, which many see as guaranteeing the right to carry weapons.

Despite calls to resist the NRA, the powerful gun lobby, the Washington Congress has been inactive for the past 12 months. Yet, February 14, 2018, the day of mourning, also marks a birth: that of the "Parkland generation". For shortly after the tragedy, high school students began to organize to demand that political authorities, national and local, act.

There have been marches all over the country to influence the political debate, but also to encourage young people, who are less politically active, to register on the electoral lists and to put forward their points of view. A fight that is only beginning.

The "Parkland generation" on the way to Washington

Encouraging signs, despite everything

Despite Washington's apathy, two phenomena make the "Parkland generation" reasonably optimistic.

On the one hand, measures taken at the state level: according to the Giffords Law Center (an organization founded by former Arizona representative Gabby Giffords, who survived a shooting in 2011), 27 states have adopted nearly 70 laws limiting access to weapons last year.

While these measures are limited in scope, from raising the minimum age of 18 to 21 years to buy a weapon, or to strengthening the control of criminal and medical histories, they reflect an unprecedented to previous tragedies, according to the Giffords Law Center.

On the other hand, the support of public opinion. According to the Pew Research Center, a Washington think-tank, 57% of Americans are now in favor of more stringent measures, compared to just over 50% by the end of 2017. This is not a revolution, but a revolution. enough start to reinforce the determination of the elected Democrats. Especially since the proportion reaches 80% among their supporters.

Bibiana Cervantes, art in the fist

Determined democrats

During the election campaign in November 2018, many Democratic candidates have made gun control a top priority. Now a majority in the House of Representatives, the opposition to Donald Trump wants to keep his promises.

In early February, the House conducted its first hearings on gun violence after eight years of Republican control. "Despite the obvious need to tackle the scourge of gun violence, Congress for too long has done virtually nothing. But we are now entering a new chapter »said the opening of the Democratic Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler.

In the United States, Democrats expected on gun control

"The epidemic of gun violence is a national crisis and shame facing abroad", he continued, citing the figure of nearly 40,000 deaths in 2017 (including 10,000 suicides). In the room were survivors and relatives of Parkland victims.

Gilles Biassette



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