Protesters staged a "die-in" in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The demonstration was a call for legislation to prevent gun violence, The Hill reports.
The demonstration was led by an activist group that stages "die-ins" to call attention to deadly violence and protest the "lethal legislative inaction" that allows it to continue. Protesters at the die-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., laid on the ground for 12 minutes, or 720 seconds, to represent the number of victims who have died in mass shootings in the last two years, since a gunman killed 49 people at Pulse on June 12, 2016. Other demonstrators staged die-ins around the country, including outside President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
"I'm here for Pulse, I'm here for Stoneman Douglas, I'm here for every single mass shooting since, and every single mass shooting that is going to continue until we do something," said Matt Deitsch, a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Deitsch and other activists, including other Parkland survivors who co-founded the March For Our Lives movement, have begun using die-ins to advocate for gun control and legislation like universal background checks. "If [lawmakers] can sell themselves out with constituents dying, that's pretty sad and they're cowards," said Nurah Abdulhaqq, a founder of the National Die-In movement. Read more at The Hill. Summer Meza
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders might have hoped a student journalist who attended Wednesday's White House press briefing would go easy on her — instead, he delivered the toughest question of the day.
"One thing that affects my and other students' mental health is the worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school," began the student. "Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?"
The question stood in stark contrast to what Sanders brought up, the "Bring Your Kids to Work Day" press briefing where she was asked about President Trump's favorite candy. Sanders, who has three children, choked up while answering the young reporter.
"I think that as a kid, and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe, so I'm sorry that you feel that way," said Sanders. "This administration takes it seriously, and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools." Watch the exchange below, via CNN. Summer Meza
There’s a kid at today’s White House press briefing. He just asked Sarah Sanders about school shootings and safety https://t.co/PrmyAzaik0
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) May 30, 2018
Parkland survivor David Hogg ominously predicted that America would be struck by a tragic shooting today
Just one day before a shooter entered Santa Fe High School in Texas and killed 10, a survivor of another recent school shooting made a statement that now sounds like a foreboding premonition.
David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the deadly shooting there in February, spoke at the Education Writers Association's national seminar Thursday.
"We shouldn't be living in an America where we learn to accept these things and they continue to happen," said Hogg of gun violence in schools. "It's terrifying to me because right now, what keeps me up at night is thinking that there's somebody alive right now that will not be alive at this time tomorrow."
Since the February shooting at his school in Parkland, Florida, Hogg has entered the national spotlight to advocate for stronger gun laws to prevent future violence. He appeared on the panel alongside other activists: Emma González, a fellow Parkland student; Alex King, who lost a nephew to gun violence; and Jackson Mittleman, who survived the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In Hogg's hypothetical prediction, he said that the person killed within the next day likely had "never even thought about gun violence. But everybody around them will have to for the rest of their lives." Watch the full seminar at Education Week. Summer Meza
A man was arrested in Miami after he entered the Trump National Doral Miami resort on Friday and began shooting at police officers, the Miami Herald reported.
The suspect, Jonathan Oddi, reportedly entered the resort lobby in the early hours of Friday morning and took a U.S. flag down before shooting at the ceiling and chandelier with a handgun. He was yelling "anti-President Trump rhetoric," police said, and fired at police when they entered the lobby. None of the five officers were shot, but Oddi suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his legs as police "neutralized" him.
Oddi is in custody, and police have not yet identified a motive. Officials say he seemed to lure officers toward him, setting off a fire alarm to alert law enforcement. Read more at the Miami Herald. Summer Meza
Students are back in the streets protesting gun violence for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting
Thousands of students are expected to walk out of their classrooms in protest of gun violence Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre that left 13 people dead in 1999. It is the second major national school walkout in response to gun violence since a shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school earlier this year.
Walkouts are planned at 2,000 schools around the nation, with at least one in every U.S. state, The New York Times reports. The demonstrations also include 13 seconds of silence, for each of the Columbine victims, or 19 minutes, for the years passed since the shooting:
Students in Tampa, Florida walk out of class as part of more than 2,000 events nationwide aiming to pressure lawmakers over gun reform. https://t.co/3aibt03fs5 #NationalSchoolWalkout pic.twitter.com/6UytoVWwR0
— ABC News (@ABC) April 20, 2018
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) April 20, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) April 20, 2018
#NOW: Students from Niskayuna High School walked out and made their way to the town hall next door for a rally. A bus of Schenctady students will join them. #NationalSchoolWalkout pic.twitter.com/xXmZoQaodg
— Leanne DeRosa (@CBS6Leanne) April 20, 2018
Walkouts will continue across the country Friday beginning at 10 a.m. local time. Jeva Lange
The White House on Sunday unveiled policy proposals it says will make schools safer, in response to the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last month that left 17 people dead.
The Trump administration is backing a bipartisan bill designed to improve effectiveness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and also the STOP School Violence Act, which would authorize grants to launch violence prevention training for teachers and students. Officials said the administration will also work on "rigorous" firearms training for "specially qualified" school personnel, audit the FBI tip line, and better integrate mental health programs.
Trump is also establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety to be chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; it will be tasked with coming up with solutions to end gun violence in schools. "We are committed to working quickly because there's no time to waste," DeVos said Sunday evening. The White House did not mention raising the age of purchasing a rifle like the AR-15 used in Parkland from 18 to 21, something Trump was open to after the shooting. Catherine Garcia
The family of the man who invented the AR-15 assault rifle has spoken out to say the weapon was never intended to be in civilians' hands. "Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47. He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events," the family told NBC News.
While the National Rifle Association has dubbed the AR-15 "America's rifle," the weapon has also been the gun of choice for mass shooters, including the killer in the Orlando nightclub. It was also used in the massacres in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and San Bernardino, California.
Eugene Stoner was focused on creating a military rifle with the AR-15; although he was an avid "sportsman, hunter, and skeet shooter," he never even owned an AR-15, much less kept one around for hunting or personal defense, the family said. Only after his death in 1997 and the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 did the gun become popular with civilians.
While the members of the Stoner family wanted to be kept anonymous, you can learn more about the AR-15, below. Jeva Lange
It was a violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, with four people killed and at least 53 wounded in shootings across the city.
The murder victims include a 25-year-old man who was shot while sitting in a parked car in front of his mother's house; a 27-year-old man shot while sitting in a car with his fiancée (she grabbed a gun and fired warning shots in the air, and was charged with a felony); a 25-year-old man shot by a man he was arguing with inside a gas station; and Veronica Lopez, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed while riding in a car with two older men police say are known gang members. Her mother, Diana Mercado, told the Chicago Tribune she planned to move with her daughter to Florida in a year because of the violence, but "now they took my baby."
At least 60 people have been shot and killed so far this month, and shootings are up more than 50 percent this year. Police say the violence can be attributed to gangs, too many guns, and weak gun law enforcement, the Tribune reports. Although eight fewer people were killed this year compared to last Memorial Day weekend, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department will "never say it's good until we can go an entire Memorial Day weekend without a single shot being fired." Catherine Garcia