A group of students from Massachusetts is currently marching 50 miles from Worcester to Springfield, where the headquarters of the country’s largest firearm manufacturer, Smith & Wesson, is located. They seek to demand an anti-gun violence response from the firm, which has remained silent even after several groups rallied before their gates in the past.
The group currently marching with the goal of pressing the manufacturer is bringing Parkland student David Hogg along, as well as the father of one of the victims of the Parkland school shooting. They claim that the inspiration for this march came from the civil rights march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery in 1965.
“That 54-mile march was an inspiration for this one,” 17-year-old high school student and organizer Vikiana Petit-Homme said. “They fought for their freedoms, so we’re doing the same here.”
The founder of Stop Handgun Violence, John Rosenthal, agreed.
“These kids are doing what we did in the ’60s and ’70s with the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement,” he said.
Despite the 50-mile theme being the same both in the Selma march and the march happening right now, there’s a major difference between the two historical events.
The pro-gun control group hoping to reach Smith & Wesson wants the state, as well as the federal government, to impose rules that directly restrict gun ownership in both Massachusetts and the country. Essentially limiting the scope of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Selma march was mostly about voting rights, but in its core, it was about pressuring the government to follow the Constitution by guaranteeing that all Americans were equal before the law, so that the civil rights protected under the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Constitution were applied to all, black or white.
In the United States, the right to bear arms is a civil right. And yet the students today are marching to restrict that right. This makes their march an anti-civil rights demonstration.
Ironically, the students who claim to be marching like the civil rights protesters of the 60s once marched ignore that access to firearms was essential in their fight for equality.
Perhaps, history is just not their forte.