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Home / US / Students enter the last leg of their weapons reform trip to Springfield

Students enter the last leg of their weapons reform trip to Springfield









SPRINGFIELD – On Sunday afternoon in front of the Smith & Wesson headquarters, students from across Massachusetts have called on the major weapons maker to stop producing and exporting guns that are not legal. [1

9659005] The rally led by the youth was the finale of a 50-mile march from Worcester to Springfield, which began on Thursday morning

David Hogg, a survivor of Parkland, Fla. School earlier this year and the parents of one of the 17 parkland victims joined the students on the walk. They spoke at the Sunday rally just before a mass shooting occurred in a mall in Jacksonville, Florida, killing at least three people.

Dozens of adults, including some Democratic candidates, attended the rally, totaling more than 150 people

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On the final leg of the march, as they approached Smith & Wesson Headquarters, protesters crowded the sidewalk chanting "USA over NRA" and "Peace is possible." A sign said, "As I said, I was more EXAGGERING than dying in mathematics. "

" It feels incredibly encouraging because Massachusetts is a great example of why Common Sense gun laws work, "Hogg said in an interview Sunday morning, before the march began.

The hikers were hit near the Smith & Wesson Building by dozens of counter-protesters carrying American flags and Pro-Smith & Wesson signs across the street. Some carried signs saying, "Lawful gun owners are NOT the problem." A Donald Trump flag, several "Make America Great Again" hats and a life-size cutout of the president were visible.

The opposing groups chanted each other as the protesters passed, but the police kept them separate.

The students sent a letter to Smith & Wesson to stop producing weapons that were banned in 2004. and donate $ 5 million to force gun research.

"If they do not work with these demands, we need to use the two things they have most before them: economics and love," Hogg said. "They sell more weapons through fear and anger, and that's not what we're supposed to do here."

Open Carry Boston, one of the organizers of the counter-protest, said in a statement that the demands of the 50 Miles More group are "troubling, especially in historic Massachusetts, where the patriots first raised arms against the tyrannical Britons."

Smith & Wesson officials could not be reached immediately for the comment, and the march leaders said they had heard nothing of the gun manufacturer.

"This will not be a 50-mile march and we're done," said Vikiana Petit-Homme, an aspiring senior citizen at the Boston Latin Academy and general manager of March for Our Lives Boston. "No matter how 50 miles, we are ready to fight it to the end."

The students said the long road was hard, but it's worth it.

"My feet hurt like hell," Hogg said.

Stephen Lafume, a rising senior at the Boston Day and Evening Academy, from Mattapan, joked that he could barely feel his ankles.

But he said, "This is not as hard as getting your son murdered or your best friend." I know what I did but was nothing. "

The rally, he said, was empowering – and" really dope. "

Hogg said he has no objection to the counter-protest and that he is not against the Second Amendment. but he supports "common sense weapons laws that protect the right to carry arms but also protect the right to life."

Melinda Nielsen, a Hadley resident who participated in the counter-protest said: "common sense" subjective term

"I believe the first human right is the right to life, and the second human right is the right, that right to defend, "she said. "What I consider common sense is [that] there are laws against killing people and people are still killing people."

Petit-Homme said she smiled widest when she passed the opposing demonstrators.

"We are doing amazing things and they might try to stop us, but we are on the right side and it feels fantastic," she said.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver, the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a Parkland victim, returned to Smith & Wesson for the second time this year. In April, they painted a mural near the headquarters to increase awareness of gun violence.

In front of the crowd before Smith & Wesson, Manuel Oliver conjured up the image of the gun used in Parkland in this facility.

"They are part of the problem," he said. "This weapon you co-developed murdered my son and another 16 people."

J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto .


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