BOSTON (AP/WHDH) — Thousands of people gathered on Boston Common Saturday in a fervent demand for gun law reform during a day of rallies against mass shootings.
“Enough is Enough” said a sign held by Sydney Craig, a student at Shawsheen High School in Billerica. She was one of about 5,000 people who participated in a march from the city’s Roxbury neighborhood to downtown, where police estimated 70,000 people — many of them students — had gathered.
The Boston event was one of several held across the country on Saturday. It coincided with the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of protesters were called to action by students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were killed in February.
Rallies also took place in other Massachusetts communities, including Ipswich, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester. Some, such as Boston’s rally, included voter registration.
“We’re not just gonna stand back and be quiet,” said Eden Alemayehu, 17, a student at Lexington High School. She said better background checks are one way that politicians can limit gun ownership. “You shouldn’t be able to walk into a store and legally purchase a gun at age 18.”
Shellby Falco, 17, said there was a threat of violence last year at her school, Medford High School, although nothing resulted. “It was very anxiety-raising,” she said, recalling how students and staff had to shelter in place.
“I want politicians to step up,” and work to reduce gun violence, she said.
Eighteen-year-old Destiny Smith-Matta said she’s increasingly worried about President Donald Trump’s suggestion that teachers be armed. “Teachers of color who are armed will mistakenly be identified as a suspect,” she said. The freshman at Lesley University in Cambridge called such a move “damaging.”
Craig, from Billerica, said she has been in school when there have been threats involving guns. “It’s very frightening” she said. “It’s very serious that (someone) can come into the school one day and shoot and possibly kill a bunch of students and teachers.”
Families of some of the 17 Florida school shooting victims flew to Washington with the help of the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who allowed them to fly on the team’s charter plane.
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