Students in more than a dozen local high schools have announced plans to participate in a nationwide walkout organized by the Women’s March to protest gun violence on March 14th. The 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m. in each time zone is meant to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida.
The San Diego Unified School Board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for federal background checks for gun and ammo purchases, a ban on semi-automatic firearms, high capacity magazines and bump stocks. It also called for the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban.
The resolution, introduced by Trustee Richard Barrera and Board President Kevin Beiser was done in partnership with Moms Demand Action. Beiser told the Times of San Diego he’s working with Superintendent Cindy Marten to plan San Diego schools’ approach to the call for the March 14 walkout.
“We want to support our children who are standing up for our right to life and we have to make sure that we are doing it in a constructive, positive way,” Beiser said.
A safety concern exists about students being led outside onto the streets, he said.
“Some schools are planning to do ‘walk-ins’ at their school to support the students and their passion, stopping these mass school shootings and use it as a teachable moment,” Beiser said.
On Tuesday evening, several local high profile groups announced the creation of a new coalition, called San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention. Participating are members of the San Diego Brady Campaign Chapter, Sandy Hook Promise and Survivors Empowered. Wendy Wheatcroft, director of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense San Diego will head the new effort.
Wheatcroft and dozens of other gun control advocates rallied in Balboa Park the day after 17 people were shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now, she said they will focus on rallying the public and lawmakers to demand stricter gun laws, universal background checks and an end to gun violence.
A big emphasis will be on educating the public ahead of upcoming elections, she said.
“We really want to drive home the issue that voting matters,” Wheatcroft said. “When we vote for gun sense candidates we can save lives.”
This is an amazing crowd tonight at the inaugural meeting of San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention. Thank you for your courage! pic.twitter.com/e6HMbKiaQF
— SD City Attorney (@CityAttorneySD) February 28, 2018
San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot has earned nationwide praise for actions her office has taken in getting court-imposed gun violence restraining orders against individuals known to be dangerous.
From the Sacramento Bee:
California’s law, which took effect in 2016, allows police or family members to go before a judge seeking orders directing individuals to give up their firearms for a year. Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and then-Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, carried Assembly Bill 1014 after 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people with a knife and gun near UC Santa Barbara before shooting himself to death in 2014. California’s police chiefs were among the bill’s supporters, as were gun safety advocates.
A new campaign by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, SpeakforSafety.org, is underway to promote public knowledge of gun violence restraining orders. They obviously aren’t a grand solution to gun violence. But they can save lives.
Elliott, San Diego’s city attorney, has used the law to take guns from 10 dangerous individuals since December. They include an ex-Marine who walked into an auto parts store with a loaded handgun, but called police before shooting anyone; a demented 81-year-old man who threatened to shoot his 75-year-old wife and a neighbor because he believed they were having an affair; and the 40-year-old La Jolla man with the AR-15.
The Bee notes that Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting has reintroduced 2016 legislation to expand the law by adding employers, co-workers, high school and college staff, and mental health workers to the list of individuals who could seek gun violence restraining orders.
It also says “So far, Republican legislators have not supported bills for gun violence restraining order.”
On March 24, under the banner of March for Our Lives, students will rally in Washington D.C and in local communities (including San Diego) across the country to demand action
From Mother Jones:
The organizing for this rally began with survivors of the Parkland shooting but now involves students nationwide. Their goal is to demand that a “comprehensive and effective bill be immediately” introduced in Congress to address gun violence.
“March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar,” the organizers write on their website. “In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”
This march gained additional notoriety last week when celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and George Clooney each promised to donate $500,000 to the march.
The San Diego March for Our Lives rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 24 in front of the County Administration Building. While local organizers are still in the process of gaining recognition from the national organization, their Facebook event page already indicates participation or interest from more than ten thousand people.
On April 20th, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, students around the country in over 1100 locations have organized walk-outs and protests as part of the National School Walkout.
In San Diego, students at Patrick Henry, Coronado, Point Loma, Clairemont, Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch, Olympian, and Eastlake High Schools have signed up to participate.
The student movement arising in the wake of the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school is gaining international recognition.
The Guardian reports Chilean student leaders who led the 2011 protests leading up to the fall of that country’s political establishment have sent a message of support for the young Florida activists pushing for gun reform in the US.
In an open letter to the teenagers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, four former student leaders – now elected politicians – encouraged US students to fight back against the idea that “young people must let the adults make the decisions”.
“We know it is not enough to ask for rights, as if it were a favor,” the letter said. “Instead we must demand them – especially in cases like this where the failure to do so can mean the difference between life and death.”
Millions of students took to the streets of Chile in 2011 protests which electrified the country and eventually led to a string of sweeping reforms: hundreds of thousands of university students now study free of charge and interest rates on student loans have been slashed.
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