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On Thursday, LL Bean said it would no longer sell guns to people under 21 – becoming the fourth major retailer to make the commitment since 17 people were shot dead at Stonemason Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida last month.
The move came after intense pressure from gun-control groups including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is pressuring other high-profile businesses to increase the age limit on gun sales or stop selling them completely.
“This is an easy step to take,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action. “It sends a very strong cultural signal. We know that Americans between 18 and 21 are four times more likely to commit homicide than someone older than 21.
“And if you’re not old enough to buy alcohol you shouldn’t be old enough to buy a semi-automatic rifle or a regular rifle – or even ammunition.”
It’s a sign that parts of the private sector are – at least in some respects – willing to respond to activists’ demands, even as President Trump continues to cast confusion over what, if any, gun control measures he is willing to consider.
Increasing the age limit is just one aspect of the push for stricter gun control.
Activists are targeting the National Rifle Association in a bid to reduce the group’s influence over politicians. Moms Demand Action and others are demanding that Apple, Google and Amazon remove NRATV – the NRA’s in-house channel – from their streaming platforms, and are pressuring companies that offer discounts to NRA members to distance themselves from the organization.
Companies including the car rental firm Hertz and hotel chains Best Western and Wyndham have already ended associations with the NRA.
The campaign is not limited to online. On Thursday more than 1,000 people attended a Moms Demand Action meeting in Webster Groves, Missouri – organizers said that was more than 10 times the normal number of attendees.
Activists are planning a series of demonstrations on 24 March which could see hundreds of thousands take to the streets across the country. March for Our Lives, organized by the #NeverAgain movement founded by survivors of the Florida shooting, have applied for a permit for up to 500,000 to protest in Washington DC alone.
What we’re reading
- Giffords – the political organization launched by former Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords – has revealed plans to focus on six high-profile members of Congress in the 2018 midterms, reports Steve Peoples of the Associated Press. House speaker Paul Ryan is one of the six, as part of “a 2018 midterm strategy that will use high-school students to challenge Republican lawmakers it blames for blocking efforts to curb gun violence”.
- “The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates,” writes Lawrence Douglas here at the Guardian. Douglas says that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has taken to “smearing” Laura Moser, a candidate in the Democratic primary to run against incumbent John Culberson in Texas’s seventh congressional district. Moser is a progressive who has out-raised rivals and “gathered an enthusiastic following particularly among younger voters”, Douglas says. “So it is perhaps predictable that this young Democratic candidate would become the subject of a withering political attack.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010