Supporters of gun control rallied at the State House this morning, calling for legislation that would ban assault weapons and require background checks for all gun purchasers.
The rally, organized by the Boston chapter of national grassroots group One Million Moms for Gun Control, coincided with similar events around the country. A march on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. drew thousands of participants according to the Associated Press.
“I feel like the tide is turning,” said Emma Miles, a 40-year-old Salem resident who attended the rally. “We can’t say, ‘oh, these things happen.’ We have to try. Every little step counts.”
The rally took place on the same spot where, a week ago, around 700 gun rights advocates gathered to protest gun control legislation proposed by Governor Deval Patrick. Today’s turnout was around 200. Organizers attributed the smaller turnout at least in part to bitterly cold temperatures.
Waving the heart-shaped signs that have become the group’s signature, rally participants repeatedly chanted “today is the day” as they listened to a succession of speakers that included anti-gun violence advocate John Rosenthal. Rosenthal’s group, Stop Handgun Violence, is responsible for the prominent anti-gun billboard over the Mass Pike in Boston.
Congressman Ed Markey and State Representative David Linsky of Natick also addressed the rally. The legislators, both Democrats, asked the crowd to help counter a “flood” of letters from gun rights advocates to legislators by contacting their elected representatives.
“I know the people here today are representative of the people of Massachusetts,” said Linsky, who has filed gun control legislation in the state legislature. “The overwhelming majority want and demand more effective gun laws.”
Markey slammed the National Rifle Association, calling it a front for gun manufacturers that doesn’t represent the views of many gun owners.
“America won’t go along with the NRA’s radical gun agenda,” he told the rally. “We need an army of activists to bring sanity back to this country.... This is the beginning of a revolution.”