Parkland survivors mock pro-gun senator for protecting dogs from airlines, but not children from gun violence

Cameron Kasky, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the school shooting in Parkland last month, called out Senator John Kennedy for proposing a bill that protects dogs but still opposing gun control laws
Image: RHONA WISE/Getty Images

Parkland students are criticizing lawmakers’ quick action to protect animals on flights while ignoring pleas for stricter gun control laws. 

Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, introduced a new bill on Thursday called the Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act (cleverly shortened to WOOFF) that would forbid airlines from putting animals in overhead bins. 

He announced his plans for this bill only hours after an 11-month-old puppy died on a United Airlines flight after a flight attendant forced its owner to put it in an overhead bin, and on the same day as the national student walkout in remembrance of the victims who died in the Parkland school shooting a month ago.  

Kennedy was called out on social media after tweeting about his plans to propose the bill. As a staunch opponent of gun control, the senator’s quick action to protect pets was seen as hypocritical to many people, including Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky.

“I don’t enjoy having to legislate common decency, but by God, I’m going to do it until they take this seriously,” Kennedy tweeted on Thursday. 

Kasky fired back: “17 people got shot at my school and nobody’s taking THAT seriously.” 

Then Kasky asked lawmakers why they didn’t apply the same quick action to students who were killed by gun violence. 

Lex Michael, another Marjory Stoneman Douglas student also criticized the senator’s inaction. 

Others on social media responded similarly. Twitter user Sheryl Reeder responded to a tweet by Kennedy that said “pets are family” with “If pets were being gunned down by an AR-15? Sensible gun legislation in the blink of an eye.”

Twitter user @bonibrat criticized Kennedy’s announcement, calling his lack of reaction to multiple mass shootings, compared to one incident of a dog dying, “an even bigger kick in the gut.” 

This isn’t the first time politicians have been criticized for proposing new legislation while ignoring calls for gun control. Twitter had a similar reaction in February, when New York lawmakers introduced a bill that would require Tide Pods to look less appetizing so that teenagers would be less inclined to eat them. 

The criticism, of course, doesn’t mean that animals shouldn’t also be protected from cruel treatment on airplanes. Kennedy’s bill would impose civil fines on airlines for improperly storing animals in overhead bins. According to a report by the Department of Transportation, United Airlines has been responsible for 18 animal deaths this year alone, making it the airline with the highest pets deaths for the third year in a row. 

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