About 200 Gun Control Advocates Rally Outside Smith & Wesson HQ

Mar 15, 2018

After students across the country walked out of class in a call for gun control legislation, teens and adults in Springfield, Massachusetts, held a rally outside the headquarters of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson.

Valentina Pedroza, 17, traveled from Boston to join about 200 other demonstrators, who held signs and shouted chants like, "What do we want? Gun control!" and "Smith and Wesson, meet with us!"

In an interview, Pedroza said she thinks Smith & Wesson, as well as other gun manufacturers, should work with gun control advocates on solutions to avoid tragedies like last month's shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that claimed 17 lives.

"They can be part of the solution, so it’s definitely important to have gun factories on our side," Pedroza said.

Protesters called on Smith & Wesson to meet with youth organizers, and discontinue sales of the M&P 15 rifle, the weapon used in Parkland. Pedroza and several other students left a letter at the company's security desk.

Also at the rally, a Democratic candidate for Massachusetts governor, Jay Gonzalez, said he wants to make it illegal in the state to manufacture assault-style guns for commercial sale. In most cases, it's already illegal to possess those firearms in Massachusetts. 

“In the absence of the federal government taking any action to prevent these tragic mass killings that continue to happen, we should be doing everything we can right here in Massachusetts,” Gonzalez said.

A spokeswoman for Smith and Wesson's parent company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the protest, Gonzalez's proposal, or questions about what types of weapons the company makes in Springfield.

State House News Service contributed to this report.