The bold plan acknowledges that gun safety and gun control alone won’t disrupt the cycle of death; It Ends With Us addresses the political and cultural issues that exacerbate the deadly gun violence epidemic
Parkland, FL — Today, March For Our Lives released its updated policy priorities, building on the original peace plan released in 2019, to address the evolving and intensifying epidemic of gun violence in America. The plan can be viewed in full here. The new plan reflects nationwide anti-violence organizing over the last year and delivers a set of priorities that are accountable to our unique political moment.
Every day, all across the country, gun violence is decimating families and communities. From mass shootings, to interpersonal violence in communities haunted by disinvestment and racism, gun violence occurs with frightening regularity and has escalated since early 2020. Gun sales are skyrocketing, mass shootings are up, and hospitalizations for gun injuries have jumped—by a staggering 40% for young people. Guns continue to be the leading cause of death for young people, and over 100 lives are taken every day.
Rather than calling for politically expedient solutions, the plan translates the demands from protest movements and tackles what March For Our Lives organizers call the five forces that fuel gun violence: gun glorification, political apathy, poverty, armed supremacy, and our country’s mental health crisis. It calls for robust investment in the evidence-based solutions that communities across the country need to live in safety, and calls for the multifaceted, all-of-government approach this epidemic needs for it to end urgently.
“There is simply no excuse for not ending gun violence in America right now,” said March For Our Lives’ Board Co-Chair and senior at Westminster College Daud Mumin. “Politicians and pundits, for far too long, have wrung their hands by calling for inconsequential and expedient solutions that treat this epidemic as a talking point, not the deadly public health crisis that it is. This plan doesn’t nibble at the edges. It asks for a transformative approach that will actually end gun violence in all of its forms. This plan boldly states that we can end gun violence, and young people are helping lead the charge to ensure that it ends with us.”
“The passionate calls for justice and radically transformative change that people demanded on the streets last year offered a clarion call for those in power to act. Some pundits mocked protestors as not being ‘reasonable,’ or not offering policy solutions, but the protests were much more than that: they were a clear vision for the future,” said March for Our Lives Executive Director Alexis Confer. “The powerful not only can act, they must act, and our plan shows them how. It’s proof positive that the energy of direct actions can turn into concrete policy proposals, and there are no excuses for politicians to backtrack on their promises. The movement helped deliver the keys to power in the last election, it’s time for the powerful to deliver bold change.”
“It’s pretty simple: young people have borne the brunt of gun violence in America. For decades, adults have abdicated their responsibility to protect us and keep us safe, while we’ve been shot in our homes and hidden behind desks,” said Isabella D’Alacio, March For Our Lives Policy Associate and a senior at George Mason University. “We call BS. We know how to end gun violence, and we won’t take no for an answer—not when our lives are at stake. We deserve to live without the threat of gun violence. This plan shows us how we get there.”
“We’ve often been told, BIPOC folks especially, that our lived experiences and the solutions our communities ask for are unrealistic,” said Tatiana Washington, March For Our Lives Policy Associate and junior at Clark Atlanta University. “We reject that thinking. Our demands aren’t at odds with ‘policy needs’ or what is politically possible. Instead, our plan shows that if we ever want to actually end gun violence, we can never leave Black and brown folks out of policy conversations again. The experiences of those closest to the issue must drive our policy agenda, and I’m glad to say that this plan does that.”
The policy plan, titled “It Ends With Us,” is a roadmap to reimagining safety that includes:
Accountability for the gun lobby and industry—Arms manufacturers have enjoyed a free pass for decades, resulting in unchecked illegal behavior and the proliferation of guns. The NRA must be examined for illegal behavior, and legislative gifts like the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that offer unrivalled immunity to gun producers and sellers.
Addressing state violence—Police violence is gun violence, and they can’t be disentangled. Our plan calls to redefine what safety looks like, moving away from a model that treats people as objects to be controlled and policed, and instead recognizes people’s—especially Black people, who endure the brunt of racist police violence—full humanity. Instead of relying on police, it leans on evidence-based solutions that tackles poverty and inequity, things we know dramatically reduce violence in all its forms.
Raising the standards for gun ownership—It’s an uncomfortably common refrain that it’s easier to buy a gun in America than it is to get a drivers license. This plan calls for a national licensing and registry system that promotes responsible gun ownership; calls to ban weapons of war; and calls for a buy-back program to reduce the hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation by at least 30%.
Building a real democracy—Sensible gun safety reform enjoys wide support, yet our frayed democratic institutions have stymied legislative progress at the behest of special interest groups. It’s no wonder Americans across the political spectrum have grave concerns about our democracy. This plan calls for policies like automatic voter registration and campaign finance reform to shore up confidence in democratic governance, and invite integrity to a system that has been corrupted by moneyed interests like the gun lobby.
Leveraging the power of the presidency to act now—Simply put, young people turned out in record numbers to tip the scales and put President Biden and Vice President Harris in the White House. The Biden administration has an obligation to listen to our concerns, treat us as partners who understand the issue intimately, and move swiftly and urgently to end the gun violence ravaging our nation. While we are proud of the early actions taken by the executive branch, there is much, much more to do. This plan outlines exactly what the president can do to save lives now, and calls for him to do just that.
March For Our Lives policy experts will be hosting a roundtable with Senator Cory Booker Friday, August 20th at 11 am Eastern to dig deeper into the plan, and discuss how it might take form in Washington. Reporters are invited to attend to learn more about the specifics of the plan on the March For Our Lives Twitter and Facebook pages.
“Ever since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, young Americans have bravely stepped up to the plate to push elected leaders to finally take action to end gun violence in the United States,” said Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). “March for Our Lives’ Plan to Reimagine Public Safety is a holistic proposal that tackles this uniquely American problem from all angles. From holding manufacturers of weapons of war accountable to investing in community-based gun violence prevention intervention strategies, this is the type of leadership we need to protect our communities and rid the scourge of gun violence in the United States once and for all. I am looking forward to participating in this roundtable and engaging with young advocates to make this plan a reality.”
“At a tragic moment in which we lose 40,000 loved ones to gun violence every single year, we must do everything possible to stop this epidemic and save lives,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). “Following the lead of the young organizers marching for their lives and our future, we must end the filibuster, pass universal background checks, and close deadly loopholes. I am proud of March for Our Lives and all those who continue to stand up, speak out, and organize for popular, necessary, and common sense gun safety legislation that will save lives in communities across America. I look forward to working alongside them on their thoughtful, strategic, and intersectional Plan to Reimagine Safety and a time that we need it most.”
“For too long we have failed to advance comprehensive community and public health centered policies to address the crisis of gun violence,” said Greg Jackson Jr., Executive Direction of Community Justice Action Fund. “With this now being the #1 cause of death for Black men and ALL youth in America, it’s more critical now than ever that younger generations not only join the fight, but lead the call for change. We at Community Justice applaud this bold policy plan and look forward to partnering with these leaders to end gun violence.”
“Ending gun violence in America will require us to address the root causes of inequality, invest and support the communities closest to the pain of interpersonal gun violence, crackdown on the irresponsible business practices of the gun industry, and raise the standard for gun ownership in America,” said Igor Volsky, Executive Director of Guns Down America. “March For Our Lives’ bold and holistic approach to the public health crisis of gun violence provides a roadmap for the choices we must demand our leaders make if we are to build safe and just communities for us all.”
“With advocates like those at March for Our Lives leading us into the future, I know we can finally tackle the gun violence epidemic,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). “I have been working with this incredible group of young leaders on my legislation to crack down on gun trafficking, to fund federal gun violence research, and to improve and fix our background checks system and am proud to stand with them today as they unveil their new policy agenda. This platform importantly recognizes the various factors that contribute to gun violence and offers real solutions to save lives. It’s long past time we enact these policies.”
“History tells us that the great social change movements were led by young people, and that’s why the team at March For Our Lives gives me so much hope,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “Their ideas and organizing are already making a difference. I hope this proposal will spark much needed debate and change in the halls of Congress about how to address the public health crisis that is gun violence in America.”
“Many of us from Sandy Hook survived the school shooting in 2012. After the heartbreaking tragedy in our elementary school, we expected elected leaders to take decisive actions to end the gun violence crisis to protect all children and their families in all communities across America. Due to inaction, firearms are now the leading cause of death for American children and teens,” said Maggie LaBanca, Co-chair of Jr Newtown Action Alliance. “Jr Newtown Action Alliance joins March for Our Lives to demand that the President, Vice President and all elected leaders reimagine what safety looks like for our future and immediately take bold actions outlined in the It Ends With Us policy plan to save our lives.”
“Gun violence does not have to be a common occurrence in America. It’s preventable! With the right investments in our communities and common sense gun safety measures, we can make our country safer for everyone,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI). “I remain a champion of violence prevention measures, and have legislation that would empower community members with the training and skills to de-escalate violence and promote safety. I am proud of the courageous young people in March for Our Lives, and I support their call for bold changes that not only rein in the gun lobby’s power, but address the root causes of violence in a way that engages communities and individuals and supports healing, growth, and peace.”
“For years, March For Our Lives has provided clear leadership on fostering an inclusive community-centered approach to preventing gun violence,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “This latest policy agenda demonstrates once again that the young people across this country are already leading the way, and doing so with policies that foster equity and advance justice. Brady is proud to continue to work with and support March For Our Lives in our joint goal to end gun violence.”
“I am proud to stand with the young people who have built and sustained this movement for a future safe from gun violence,” said Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL). “Sparked by the survivors of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida and quickly expanding to a national and global effort to reduce gun violence, young leaders are calling for a comprehensive approach to gun violence policy that examines and responds to the root causes of this epidemic. March For Our Lives has already brought much needed change to Washington including important investments in public health research and repairs to our firearm background check system. We must build on that progress to create safer, more equitable, and more just schools and communities for future generations.”
“March for Our Lives is proving again that young people demanding generational, revolutionary change will be the difference-makers in the fight to end gun violence,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “March for Our Lives’ new agenda puts its organizing might behind the recognition that ending gun violence demands a range of solutions. I have led the effort in Congress to improve safe storage, repeal the gun lobby’s sweetheart liability shield, protect victims of domestic violence, and help take guns out of the hands of people who might hurt themselves or others – just a few of the many smart policy proposals included in March for Our Lives new agenda.”
“Gun violence impacts every community across America. It’s time we address the root causes that go beyond gun control policy,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). “Systemic racism, poverty, mental health—they all play a role in this fight to eradicate gun violence. I’m proud to be a partner in Congress to the youth leaders from March for Our Lives to end the epidemic of gun violence once and for all.”
“We all want—and deserve—to live in a community where we can go to class, the office, a grocery store, the movie theater, or anywhere else free from fear of horrific violence,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). “Heartbreakingly, we have a long way to go to turn that principle into a reality. I am fully committed to doing everything I can to make sure Congress takes the meaningful steps we need to put common sense above the wish lists of gun lobbyists, close the loopholes that make our communities less safe, and ensure that every American has access to quality mental health care. The unfathomable tragedy of gun violence demands action.”
March For Our Lives intends to use this plan, forged in consultation with youth movement leaders and community partners across the country, to ground its fight to end gun violence and keep young people safe. Young people showed out in record numbers in 2018 to say: Enough. This plan ensures that the epidemic of gun violence ends with us.