BOSTON – Just days after a woman shot and killed six individuals inside a Nashville elementary school, including three 9-year-old children, Massachusetts Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, went to the Massachusetts State House to meet with lawmakers and advocate for gun safety measures.
Massachusetts House Judiciary Chair Michael Day and Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem shared the Legislature’s commitment to passing comprehensive gun safety legislation this session, said the advocacy organization in a press release.
“Our lives are relentlessly impacted by gun violence – from school shootings to lockdowns, and news of mass shootings, homicides and more. At yesterday’s Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day at Boston’s State House, we also heard stories from domestic abuse victims who’s abusers had terrorized and intimidated them with guns, as well as mothers who’d lost their sons to random gun violence, and the groups doing the on-the-ground work to support their communities through trauma and grief. It’s a lot – and change cannot come soon enough,” said Framingham resident Samantha McGarry, who is with Moms Demand Action.
This year’s advocacy day coincided with the 10-year anniversary of Moms Demand Action.
Since the founding of the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made significant progress over the past several legislative cycles to combat gun violence at the local and statewide level.
Nearly ten years ago, volunteers worked with lawmakers to pass a gun safety omnibus bill that reformed the state’s gun laws, with provisions focused on school safety, mental health and background checks.
In 2018, the chapter worked to pass an Extreme Risk Law that empowers families and law enforcement to seek a court order to temporarily restrict access to firearms by a person in crisis.
Last year, lawmakers approved a state budget that included more than $94 million in gun violence prevention funding and passed legislation to begin addressing the Supreme Court’s dangerous decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen.
This year, volunteers are working tirelessly to pass resolutions to require schools to send home information about secure firearm storage to improve school safety— passing 11 resolutions this year alone, most recently in the Cities of Pittsfield and Cambridge, as well as the Framingham and Stoneham public school districts.
“When guns are not properly stored, tragedy can strike — whether it’s a child finding a firearm and unintentionally injuring or killing themselves or others, or someone stealing it and using it to commit a crime. Secure gun storage can help prevent both. Researchers estimate that roughly 30 million American children live in homes with firearms — up 7 million since 2015. And not all of these firearms are stored securely — unloaded, locked, and separated from ammunition,” said the organization in a press release.
Some members of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action met with members of the Framingham legislative delegation on Wednesday.
“While I am so thankful and impressed with our local Framingham activists (especially our student activists) who advocate for our children’s safety and gun reform, I lament that they must exist in the first place,” said State Rep. Priscila Sousa (D-Framingham).
“The delegation had the privilege of meeting with Framingham & Ashland Moms Demand Action members yesterday and while we discussed action steps, we also discussed why we are here. We discussed Framingham School Committee’s vote on to adopt the Resolution on the Safe Storage of Firearms, recent incidents and the terrible new normal our students are subjected to every day. Inaction is not an option and while I am saddened that we are here, I am encouraged by of the dedicated advocacy working towards keeping our children safe,” said Rep. Sousa, who is also chair of the 9-member Framingham School Committee.
“As a parent, my number one responsibility is to keep my children safe, and as a legislator, the health and safety of our Commonwealth’s children fuels everything I do. Our gun safety laws must prioritize one’s right to attend school, to worship, or meet up with friends free of the threat of gun violence,” said State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, a Democrat who represents Framingham & Ashland .”Massachusetts must continue to lead the nation in combating this epidemic that has touched each and every one of our families, and I look forward to further working with my colleagues to do everything in our power to keep all our children safe.”
In an average year in Massachusetts, 255 people die by guns and 557 people are wounded.
Gun violence costs Massachusetts $3.5 billion each year, of which $85.4 million is paid by taxpayers.
“With firearms being the leading cause of death of children under age 18, this is literally a matter of life or death. I support their goals and as a legislator will be supporting measures aimed at reducing gun violence here in Mass,” said State Rep. Kate Donaghue (D-Westborough), who represents a partial Precinct in Framingham.
“It was great to participate and add my perspective, especially as a high schooler who has experienced multiple lockdowns. I know first hand the trauma they’ve had on me and my school friends. The lawmakers we met with yesterday were open and wanted to make change just as much as us. Moving forward, I’m hoping to start a Students Demand Action group in my high school,” said Framingham High student Tessa McGarry.
Last month, Framingham High’s active shooter alert was accidentally set off my a Framingham Public School District employee, causing students, staff, and parents to think that there was an armed gunman inside Framingham High.
“One speaker yesterday talked about “preventable grief” and called upon our lawmakers to act sooner than later to save lives and prevent more grief. That resonated deeply with me. This is a hugely complex issue and no one action or law will solve it all – that’s why we’re calling on the Massachusetts legislature to quickly pass a comprehensive package of many different bills that address different aspects of solutions. And if anyone reading wants to add their voice to ours, they should text READY to 644-33,” said McGarry.
Since the Columbine High shooting in 1999, there have been more than 375 school shootings, according to the Washington Post.
There were more school shootings in 2022 — 46 — than in any year since at least 1999, according to the Washington Post.
On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, a mass shooting occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States, where an 18-year-old former student at the school, fatally shot 19 students and two teachers, while 17 others were injured but survived
On Feb. 14, 2018, 19-year-old man with an AR-style rifle killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Many students in high schools across the nation held walkouts and protests following that incident.
On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year-old man shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty of the victims were children between six and seven years old, and the other six were adult staff members.
Mothers Demand Action in Framingham held a vigil last December on the 10th anniversary of the shooting.