Parents of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver along with gun control activists and local politicians unveiled a billboard in Boston comparing Massachusetts’s strong gun laws to those in Florida, calling for gun reform across the country.
“If I had attended high school in Massachusetts instead of Parkland Florida, I would likely be alive today,” reads the billboard, located on the 50 Dalton Street Parking Garage in Back Bay, in quotes. Then: “GUN LAWS SAVE LIVES.”
On the 90’ by 20’ billboard is a picture of Joaquin Oliver, one of the 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“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?” Manuel Oliver, founder of Change the Ref, said in a statement. “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.”
At the billboard unveiling, the father of the Parkland shooting victim talked about how his son, who was killed at 17 years old, loved baseball and specifically the Red Sox.
“A couple of weeks ago I told [my wife Patricia], ‘You know what? Joaquin is going to help the Red Sox win the championship, because he’s ready to go to Boston with a strong message.”
Massachusetts gun laws nationwide could prevent next Parkland shooting: Markey
Speaking at the Joaquin Oliver billboard unveiling, U.S. Senator Ed Markey noted how Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the nation. He credited the commonwealth’s strong gun laws — which ban assault weapons and require permits approved by local police chiefs before a license can be issued, among others.
“More than 33,000 people die as a result of gun violence every single year … 672 more next week, that’s 40 Parkland massacres every single week in the United States of America,” he said. “Enough is enough. it’s time to pass federal legislation that will ensure that all states have the same strong gun laws as Massachusetts.”
“Massachusetts’s success in gun reform proves that sound policies can quiet the gun violence that shatters families and haunts our neighborhoods,” he said. “[This] billboard points to the devastating consequences of not having strong gun laws.”