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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

The new generation leads the fight against guns

Lina Gildenstern
Activists and students standing across from the Massachusetts State House on Feb. 26 protesting for stricter gun laws.

Activists and students came together to protest gun violence and demand stricter federal gun laws in front of the Massachusetts State House on Feb. 26.

Although Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, there have been three fatal shootings in the past week according to speaker Ruth Zakarin, executive director of Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. 40% of weapons in Boston originate from neighboring states, which is a contributing factor as to why the students are calling for federal gun legislation.

CJ Hoekenga, who survived the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012, delivered an emotional speech recalling the moment he learned about the school shooting in Uvalde last year.

“I saw the pictures of young survivors, broken, just like I was on Dec. 14. I knew their experience all too well. I saw myself in those kids. I knew their confusion, their terror, their loss of innocence. America had failed them yet again. America had failed us yet again,” he said.

According to Hoekenga, gun violence has become an epidemic, overtaking suicide as the leading cause of death among college students. A school shooting is no longer a question of if, but of when, he said. 

Sen. Edward Markey joined the protest in support of the students, thanking and congratulating the new generation for their leadership in this fight. 

He faulted the gun industry and politicians who backed them for halting change, referring to himself as “a proud possessor of an F-rating by the NRA.”

“What happens in schools across the country is an absolute black mark on the history of our nation. The second amendment never intended for people to be able to own assault weapons,” Markey said.

According to Markey, in 2023 there have been more mass shootings than days: 84 shootings in less than two months. This year alone, more than 6,000 people have been killed by guns. Although Massachusetts is the national leader in strict gun legislation, with stricter gun restriction laws passed only last year, Markey believes that more has to be done.

“We need a federal assault weapons ban now. We need universal background checks now. We need a national red flag law now. We need to hold gun manufacturers accountable. If we hold the tobacco industry accountable, we have to be able to hold gun manufacturers accountable,” he said. 

Sean Waddington, one of the protest organizers and president of the Boston University Democrats, said he was happy with the outcome of the protest.

“I hope for a change. I hope someone is paying attention in the state house. I hope something will change and that Senator J. Markey will take the energy he brought today to demand change in congress,” Waddington said.

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About the Contributor
Lina Gildenstern, Graduate Staff Writer | she/her
Lina is an applied politics graduate student from Duesseldorf, Germany. Next to international politics and writing, her passion is dancing, where she frequently competes in battles and performs in shows. In her spare time, she enjoys doing yoga, running, and listening to Beyonce. She hopes to work as a political journalist or for an NGO after graduation.

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The new generation leads the fight against guns