Student Gun Control Advocates Complete 50-Mile Protest March to Gunmaker Headquarters

A gun law reform protest ended its 50-mile march Sunday in Springfield, Massachusetts, right outside of the Smith & Wesson headquarters.

The march took four days, and included Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg, according to a report by the Associated Press. The group of more than 100 demonstrators chose Smith & Wesson as their destination, as the manufacturer made the gun that was used in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School back in February. However, they were also responding to this weekend's latest tragedy at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.

The protesters called on Smith & Wesson to donate at least $5 million to gun violence research. They also wanted to see the company stop making weapons like the AR-15 assault rifle used in many of these shootings, particularly because they are outlawed in Massachussetts under the state's assault weapons ban. The state implemented its own version of the ban when the federal laws expired in 2004.

Protesters carried American flags, as well as signs that read "Books not Bullets" and “We Can End Gun Violence.” However, on the other side of the road, Second Amendment advocates held American flags of their own, as well as signs that read "I love S&W" and "lawful gun owners are not the problem."

Also joining the march were Manuel and Patricia Oliver, the parents of Joaquin Oliver, one of the teens slain in February's attack. Hogg said that Massachusetts was a perfect example of how common sense gun laws can work, but demanded more accountability from the manufacturer.

Both state and local police attended the event in full force, keeping the two protests divided by a four-lane road. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) met with the protesters as well, applauding their calls for change.


"Most of the students participating in @50MoreMass were born after the Columbine shooting," she pointed out in a tweet. "They grew up in a different world. Now, they’re coming together to #EndGunViolence. This is how change happens. I couldn’t be prouder to support them."

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Smith & Wesson has yet to respond to the march, the demands or the coverage. The company has come under fire many times before for making the weapons used in these tragedies. Its military-style rifles in particular were used in the 2012 Dark Knight shooting in Colorado — which killed 12 people — and in the 2015 shooting at a California holiday party — which killed 14 people.

Like many manufacturers, mass shootings effect the company's sales, though not always predictably. In February, Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but it rebounded in May, according to CNN, after a corporate reorganization.