Gun-control activists marching 50 miles to Smith & Wesson HQ
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Gun-control advocates, including one of the survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting and the parents of one of the victims, are marching 50 miles across Massachusetts this week to the headquarters of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson as part of a youth-led push for stricter gun laws.
About 40 students and supporters set off from downtown Worcester in central Massachusetts this morning holding signs denouncing gun violence and chanting slogans criticizing gun makers and the National Rifle Association. They're destined for Smith & Wesson's headquarters in Springfield, where they'll have a large demonstration Sunday.
As he set off with marchers, David Hogg, a survivor of the February massacre at a Parkland high school who has since become a prominent gun-control advocate, emphasized the importance of turning the energy of nationwide demonstrations into lasting political change.
"The kids of America have to stand up when our irresponsible politicians won't," he said. "We're here to elect morally just leaders that will protect us as Americans."
Manuel and Patricia Oliver, the parents of a Parkland shooting victim, also joined marchers and condemned Smith & Wesson for making the powerful rifle used to kill their 17-year-old son, Joaquin Oliver, and 16 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Manuel Oliver said the weapon isn't even allowed to be sold in the company's home state because of Massachusetts' strict gun laws. "That's an ironic situation," he said.
Spokespeople for the gun-maker didn't respond to requests for comment this week.
The company's headquarters was the site of a similar demonstration during March's nationwide protests against gun violence.