Moms march on Beacon Hill, demand stricter gun laws

A small army of moms marched on the State House Wednesday morning.

Clad in mostly matching T-shirts, just before noon the moms walked in several dozens-deep columns from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, though the Boston Common, up the steps by the Shaw Memorial and waited for the crossing sign at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets to change.

“What do we want?” one called, “an end to gun violence!” the answer came.

More than 200 moms, many of them the surviving family of gun violence victims, and other supporters representing gun control advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, Giffords, Stop Hand Handgun Violence and the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, continued chanting as they approached the Massachusetts State House and walked up the steps to the General Hooker entrance and into the building.

“It’s back to work for the state Legislature, so it’s back to demanding common sense gun laws passed in our state,” Jennifer Robinson, co-chair of the Massachusetts arm of Moms Demand Action, told the Herald.

Advocates have been pushing the Legislature to pass an omnibus gun safety bill for years, Robinson said. This summer, following a speaking tour of the Commonwealth on the matter, state Rep. Mike Day filed such a bill, but it has since been both mired in legislative procedure and the target of severe criticism by Second Amendment advocates.

As filed, the Stoneham representative’s “An Act modernizing firearm laws” would establish an “enhanced tracing system” to track guns used during the commission of a crime, “modernize” the firearms registrations system, and make firearms data available to academics and policymakers.

The bill would also create “specific crimes that will prohibit discharging firearms at or near dwellings and carrying firearms while intoxicated” and “standardizes training requirements for individuals seeking a license to carry and will now require live firearm training.”

It comes after last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, in which the justices declared most extraordinary licensing requirements are at odds with the Second Amendment. House Speaker Ron Mariano has referenced the Bruen decision as the reason behind a push for updated state laws.

The crowd of moms, on Wednesday, were in town to encourage their legislators to get moving.

Robinson said each volunteer would find their specific House and Senate lawmaker and “urge them to come together and pass strong, comprehensive legislation.”

The senate has yet to consider Day’s bill.

Jim Wallace, the Executive Director of the Gun Owners Action League, told the Herald he can understand the desire to see a reduction in gun violence, as the moms are advocating, but the bill they are backing won’t do that, he said.

“There isn’t a single sentence in that bill that will reduce criminality,” he said.

Wallace said his organization and supporters of gun rights will hold their own State House lobbying day on Sept. 27.

Gun Safety Advocates protest at the State House to strengthen gun laws. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)
Gun Safety Advocates protest at the State House to strengthen gun laws. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

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