Florida Shooting Prompts Gun Control Rally on Beacon Hill

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BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week, members of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence rallied at the State House, supporting an Extreme Risk Protective Order bill that would enable authorities to take guns away from people determined to be an extreme risk for violence.

“There’s a gap in the law in Massachusetts, Florida and elsewhere, whereby the police are powerless to take guns away from someone who’s having a temporary or long-term mental health problem,” said Natick Representative David Linsky, the bill’s sponsor.

Linsky and members of the coalition fear that legislative inaction could leave the door open for incidents of mass violence to occur in Massachusetts.

“Parkland, Florida was ranked the safest town in Florida this past year and, yesterday, a gunman walked into a high school and took the lives of innocent students and teachers,” Linsky told members of the coalition.

“Parkland could have been Plymouth,” Linsky continued. “Newtown could have been Natick or Needham or Newton. Columbine could have been Cohasset. Las Vegas could have been Leominster. This can happen anywhere.”

“It’s time for us to bring that bill to the floor,” Linsky said. “It’s time to put it on the governor’s desk and it’s time for the governor to sign it. We need to make sure that a tragedy like that - that happened in Florida yesterday - doesn’t happen in Massachusetts.”

Attorney General Maura Healey was in attendance to voice her support with members of the coalition at the State House rally.

“This isn’t acceptable,” Healy said. “This isn’t the America that I grew up in, that my brothers and sisters grew up in, that our parents grew up in. We want kids to be able to go to school and focus on learning the ABCs. Instead, in schools across this country and right here in Massachusetts, we had young people, as young as 2, 3, 4, 5 years old last night, asking their parents what bullets are; how they get fired.” 

Coalition member Greg Gibson of Gloucester lost his son to gun violence 25 years ago. He said these shootings have a broad effect.

“Every time one of these things happens, every person affects other people around him, which affects other people around them, which affects other people around them.” Gibson said. “This is something bad that happened to a community.”

“There’s 300 million guns in this country. Any amount of laws aren’t going to fix everything, but we can save lives with sensible laws.”

That bill has been sent to a legislative committee for study.

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