March from Worcester to Springfield aims to put pressure on gun manufacturer

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2018 9:16:46 PM

NORTHAMPTON — They’ll march more than 50 miles from Worcester’s City Hall to Smith and Wesson’s Springfield headquarters to advocate for better gun laws and draw attention to the nationwide problem of gun violence.

Stepping off from Main Street in Worcester on Thursday and ending on Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield on Sunday, students from Northampton High School will march beside others from across the state in an activist event demanding the gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson stop making weapons outlawed under the now-expired 2004 assault weapon ban, and donate $5 million to research gun violence and the illegal use of weapons.

Tadea Martin-Gonzalez, a student at Northampton High School, said she expects about 50 local students will march, joining potentially hundreds of others. The march is in response to gun related violent incidents that have happened in the last decade or so.

“I’ve lost count of how many mass shootings we’ve had this year and last year,” said Trevaughn Smith, 18, a college freshman from Springfield who is helping to organize a subsequent rally against gun violence around noon Sunday. The rally will be held after the march is completed, and organizers are expecting about 200 people to participate, including the marchers, he said.

Young people are the future of America, Smith continued. And even though the vast majority of people want some kind of gun reform, he said, that desire isn’t reflected in laws. As a means to reform the system, Smith said he’s hoping demonstrations like the one planned Thursday will change a culture of complacency around gun violence.

“Time and time again, the president says the same thing. It’s a constant pattern, time and time again. We’re hoping these rallies, these protests, will disrupt that cycle,” Smith said.

The march is being organized by nonprofit organizations Stop Handgun Violence, March For Our Lives: Boston, and 50 Miles More, which is a national youth-led reform movement, according to a statement about the march.

“We’re really taking a jab at Smith and Wesson — we’re asking them to meet our demands, or we will continue this aggressive action,” Smith said. “I can assure you that this won’t be the only event that happens if Smith and Wesson doesn’t meet our demands.”

For more information, visit www.50milesmore.org/ma

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@gazettenet.com.




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