Boston, MA – Today, Stop Handgun Violence and Change the Ref unveiled a new billboard designed by Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland, Florida victim Joaquin Oliver. The billboard aims to compare the effective gun laws in Massachusetts with the lax dangerous gun laws in Florida, particularly Florida’s lack of criminal background checks for private gun sales as well as unregulated and unrestricted access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.
The new 90’ x 20’ billboard is located on the 50 Dalton St. Parking Garage close to the corner of Boylston and Dalton Streets next to the Prudential Center in Back Bay. The message depicts a photo image of 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida with a quote: “If I had attended high School in Massachusetts instead of Parkland Florida, I would likely be alive today”. GUN LAWS SAVE LIVES.
“When Joaquin was murdered with an assault weapon designed for war, we asked ourselves how this could happen in our town and in our state?” said Manuel Oliver founder of Change the Ref. “We soon discovered that there were many common sense gun laws in Massachusetts and other states that could have prevented the senseless murder of our son if they were in place in Florida.”
“In Massachusetts, we have proven that effective gun laws can save lives and reduce gun violence without banning most guns. We have enacted laws that closed dangerous loopholes that allow prohibited individuals to gain access to firearms without detection by law
enforcement” said John Rosenthal founder of Stop Handgun Violence. “By regulating gun manufacturers, banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, requiring safety training and safe storage, giving police discretion in issuing renewable firearm licenses and allowing family members to petition the court to remove firearms from individuals in crisis, we have prevented countless tragedies like Parkland.”
“This new billboard is a wrenching testament to the price we pay for politicians who are too afraid to stand up to the hard-line gun proponents at the helm of the NRA and demand change” said U.S. Senator Edward Markey. “In Massachusetts, we’ve found ways to make progress despite NRA opposition to sensible gun safety legislation. It’s time to pass federal legislation that will ensure that all states have the same strong gun laws as the Commonwealth. I thank Stop Handgun Violence for their continued leadership in the movement end to senseless gun violence.”
“Bullets tearing through our communities have left too many families grieving a loved one taken too soon” said Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. “In our Commonwealth, we know that strict, commonsense gun violence prevention laws lower firearm death rates. It’s not just a theory, it’s been proven over and over again. In Joaquin’s memory, guided by Manuel and Patricia’s relentless advocacy, we can begin to replicate our laws across the country to stop this violence that has terrorized our schools, sanctuaries, and quiet streets.”
“Massachusetts is leading the nation in gun safety thanks to the collaboration among lawmakers, government officials and advocates, especially the brave gun violence survivors and victim families who shared their painful stories,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Today we are here to thank John Rosenthal and Stop Handgun Violence for their work. While we celebrate our progress together, we also pledge that we will continue our work to keep Massachusetts safe as gun safety is a priority for the House.
Watch our Facebook Live video of the press conference: