• Ariel Donato

Weekly News Blast | Jun. 5-12

A summary of key events from early June.


At March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. on June 11, demonstrators protested gun violence and recent shootings, calling for stronger gun control laws. (Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr)


1. United States gun law reforms.


Following mass shootings in New York and Texas that scarred the nation, senators from both parties assessed pre-existing gun laws and decided upon a consensus: reform must be made. The extent of said reforms was not bipartisan, but after the Robb Elementary shooting in Texas, a surviving fourth grader’s testimony and the testimonies of those who lost loved ones cemented the desire for change. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “It was an assault on the culture of our country that our children would not be able to go to school without fear or concern about their safety.” Concerns similar to hers inspired the Protecting Our Kids Act.


The following reforms were proposed under the Protecting Our Kids Act:

  1. Family members and law enforcement can request a protection order from the federal court that would temporarily remove access to firearms to those deemed a danger to themselves or others.

  2. Change the minimum age to purchase and own a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old.

  3. Ban large-capacity magazines.

  4. Regulation of storage of guns on residential properties.

  5. Increasing the pre-existing regulatory ban on bump stocks (bump stocks allow semi automatic rifles to fire more frequently).

Although House Republican leaders claimed the proposed changes would violate citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the bill passed through the House. Other legislators higher in the chain are currently working on tailoring the original proposition so that it would win approval by the 50–50 split Senate, where it must receive 60 votes. Increasing pressure from some Democratic senators, such as Chris Murphy from Connecticut, to “do the right thing,” has become a stressor in making this decision.


In addition to changes being encouraged in the Senate, President Biden has encouraged and pressured Congress to increase firearm regulatory laws. He asked, “How much carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough?”


2. Yellowstone National Park experiences “inevitable” flooding.


Following heavy rainfall and fast-melting snow, Yellowstone National Park experienced over a foot of water runoff. This excess amount of water expeditiously flowed down and filled lower elevation rivers and valleys, creating an unprecedented flood. The volume of Yellowstone River reached an all time high of over two feet above the previous record of 11.5 feet in 1918.


Extreme damage was done to Yellowstone’s northern half. More than 10,000 visitors were removed from the area when bridges collapsed, roads sank, and a house broke away into a river. Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said it is unlikely for the park to open before the end of the season due to the insurmountable damage. Although the extent of the damage won’t be known until the water recedes, Sholly said, “You can see by the pictures, it’s extensive.” Despite the damage, there have been no reported injuries caused by the weather disaster.


Scientists predict even more floods like this in the future as the area’s climate rapidly changes and as temperatures continue to rise. As reported by said scientists, if an area experiences significant dry spells followed by heavy rainfall, flash floods occur.


 

Sources & Further Reading