College Republicans lead impromptu rally against MA gun ban
The College Republicans of Bridgewater State University rallied more than 400 protesters outside the Massachusetts State House Thursday to protest a proposed gun ban.
BSU College Republican Chairman Jason Ross and CR member Joey Locke organized the Thursday evening protest after Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced plans to crack down on assault weapons that she deems too similar to firearms that the state already bans.
Healey issued a notice to all gun manufacturers and sellers Wednesday stating that her office plans to double down on the enforcement of the state’s assault weapon ban, which will include the sale of copycat weapons.
“The gun industry has openly defied our laws here in Massachusetts for nearly two decades,” Healey said in the release. “That ends today. We have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that combat-style weapons are off our streets and out of the hands of those who would use them to kill innocent people.”
“When the Attorney General announced this ban on assault weapons, we said ‘well that’s crazy, we have to do something about it,’” Ross told Campus Reform.
Despite having to plan the demonstration in less than 24 hours, the CR’s said they received massive support from students, Massachusetts citizens, and elected officials, amassing over 1,000 shares on Facebook and reaching about 1 million people overall.
In addition to the 400 protesters who showed up for the rally, thousands of individuals pledged to support the cause with donations to the Massachusetts Republican Party. Berkley Selectman Gil Pontes and Massachusetts Representative Marc Lombardo also signaled their support by speaking at protest.
“We were really surprised by the turnout,” Ross said. “Before the protest we looked at Facebook and saw how many people we had actually reached and were like ‘oh my gosh there’s almost 2000 people interested.’”
Participants traveled from as far afield as New York, New Hampshire, and Maine in order to support the student-led cause.
“The protest started at 5:00 and people got there at 2:00 to help,” Ross explained. “It was cool that people took time off of work to help with a cause that started in less than 24 hours.”
Ross and Locke’s efforts captured the attention of the Gun Owners Action League, which plans to build on their initial success by hosting its own protest against Healey’s assault weapon ban on Saturday.
“The Gun Owners Action League heard about our protest and because they are a national organization and have a wider-spread impact, they said ‘we’re going to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste,’” Ross explained. “It’s nice that a nationally recognized group is standing with us and that we helped inspire change.”
The CR’s plan to continue their advocacy efforts using direct mail campaigns and social media efforts, Ross noted, saying, “we want to make sure our voices are heard because the people we elected aren’t doing enough.
“We saw something instituted by our government that we didn’t agree with and we acted on it,” he continued. “Regardless of your political affiliation, the fact that it was just the Attorney General who wants to implement a top-to-bottom law banning whatever she thinks is an assault weapon should bother everyone.”
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