Pro-Gun Activists Rally in Boston

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Boston, MA ( - More than 500 pro-gun activists, many carrying signs, rallied at the State House in Boston protesting the sweeping and recently enacted gun control measures in the Bay State.

Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly was widely criticized for using the state's expansive consumer protection laws as a way of regulating the sale of weapons.

Reilly recently announced his office would enforce a series of tougher regulations that were recently approved by the state's Supreme Court after a two-year legal battle. The regulations allow the attorney general to ban the sale of so-called "Saturday Night Specials" and require that all weapons sold in the state be outfitted with child protective locks.

Reilly has repeatedly promised to use his staff to assist his colleagues in other states draft rules and regulations similar to the Bay State's gun control measures. Reilly's enforcement policies also have received the endorsement of Republican Governor Paul Cellucci.

Gun activists also have been especially concerned over a section of the law which gives local police chiefs the power to deny gun licenses to residents, including those with no criminal records. Activists contend the permitting process is too arbitrary and puts too much power in the hands of the police chiefs.

"Small government guarantees that gun rights are never at risk...small government is beautiful," said Carla Howell, the Libertarian Party's gubernatorial candidate.

Roy Innis, the long time chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, a national civil rights organization, told the gathering, "We are all for the Second Amendment." Innis is also a member of the National Rifle Association.

Many in the crowd expressed anger at gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, the British- owned company with headquarters in Springfield, MA. The company recently signed an agreement with the Clinton Administration in which it agreed to a host of so-called gun safety measure in exchange for the promise that it would be dropped as a defendant in dozens of lawsuits brought by cities, counties and state governments.

Many in the audience said gun owners should boycott the company unless and until they disavow the agreement.

"I will no longer purchase their products and I would hope other Second Amendment supporters feel they same way," said a Connecticut man at the rally.

The gathering also drew supporters of the new state regulations.

Democratic State Senator Cheryl Jacques, the sponsor of several Senate gun measures, told reporters, "My concerns and sympathy are with the 30,000 plus people who will die from gun violence this year, and every year, until the federal government and the rest of the states get serious about common sense gun control measures."

John Rosenthal, who founded and heads the Newton, MA-based group, "Stop Handgun Violence, Inc.", praised the state's regulatory efforts and noted the bipartisan nature of the bill.

As for the demonstrators, Rosenthal characterized the group as being "out of line with the public's concern about gun violence."