LEXINGTON- On Feb. 17, state Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) joined federal Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and over one hundred citizens in rallying to demand that Congress implement more gun safety measures and mental health services to suppress gun violence in the United States.
The rally, one of many across the country, was swiftly organized by Jessie Steigerwald, a Lexington resident and School Committee member, in response to the recent horrific shooting in which 17 people were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I speak today not as a senator, but as a mother,” said Senator Friedman. “When did it become okay to have children massacred in the United States and do nothing about it? If you are not for commonsense gun control, then you are for the killing of children in our schools and in our homes. There is no other way to spin it.”
Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a gunman shot 20 first graders and 6 teachers using an assault rifle, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In those instances, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were killed.
Massachusetts is just one of a handful of states that prohibits the sale of assault weapons like the one used in Parkland. Massachusetts outlawed assault rifles in 1994 and recently passed a statewide ban on bump stocks and trigger cranks, devices used at the tragic Las Vegas shooting on October 1, 2017 that claimed the lives of 58 people. Bump stocks and trigger cranks use the recoil power of a semi-automatic gun to increase the gun’s rate of fire, effectively making the gun mimic the rapid fire of an automatic assault weapon.
“This isn’t about the right to own guns,” Friedman continued, “That right is alive and well in this country. The United States is home to roughly 350 million guns. We represent less than 5% of the world’s population, yet we own 48% of the guns worldwide. This is about money and greed.”
Throughout the rally, frustrated parents, teachers, and town leaders expressed their fears and condemned members of Congress for failing to put children and families before the interests of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest lobbying organization in the country that has poured money into congressional members’ campaign funds for decades.
Friedman encouraged the crowd to actively support the efforts of Attorney General Maura Healey, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, “who haven’t and won’t back down on this issue regardless of how much money the NRA puts out to defeat them.”
“We must keep fighting no matter how dark and hopeless it may seem,” Friedman said. “We are our only hope.”