Parents of Florida school shooting victim demand action on gun v - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Parents of Florida school shooting victim demand action on gun violence

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Demanding action was the message from parents who took part in a public forum Friday night in Springfield, including the parents of a young man who died in the Parkland, Florida shooting.

17-year-old Joaquin Oliver lost his life during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

Ever since, his parents, Manuel and Patricia Oliver are joining the fight in demanding change.

The Olivers said no one should ever lose a loved one to gun violence.
 
Manuel Oliver is creating murals like the one that now hangs outside of South Congregational Church in Springfield.

It’s one of 17 he’s creating across the country to represent the lives lost in that mass shooting. 

Manuel Oliver chose Springfield because it’s gun maker Smith & Wesson's headquarters is located.
 
“We don’t want any other parent or any other family to go through the pain that this means for us," said Oliver. 
 
The gun used in the Parkland shooting was manufactured by Smith & Wesson. 

A number of people in the community said that’s why they’re pushing to have an open dialogue with the company. 

Sarah Reyes is Co-Founder of Teens for Action Springfield. She said they want to draft a letter of demands to Smith & Wesson, which includes banning the sales of assault rifles.
 
Other participants said they’d also like to see stricter gun laws.
 
"I'd like to see laws put in place to close loopholes and better background checks and banning of assault rifles, and [for] Smith & Wesson [to] take community stand and support  the kids trying to save lives," said Katy Byron.
 
Parents and students said continuing discussions surrounding gun safety and violence is the key to creating change.
 
"This is our moment to get involved and educate ourselves so much time to vote and run for office and need to get involved now," said Zoe Scheffler.
 
The Oliver family wanted to install the mural in front of Smith & Wesson headquarters but had not obtained all of the correct permits to do so.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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