Some of the panelists spoke from personal experience with gun violence. Alameddine urged listeners to take action against gun violence by supporting common-sense regulations that would not infringe on Second Amendment rights.
“As a mom, I have to be thinking of gun violence every time I send my child to first grade,” said Krantz. “I don’t think that that’s an acceptable way to live, that any of us should live with that fear.”
After the panel discussion was finished, people sitting close to the aisle immediately jumped up and formed a long line behind the microphone.
Most representing the interests of gun owners against gun control were older men who identified themselves as members of the NRA, with only a few young men asking questions or making statements against more gun control. Many came prepared with folders containing quotations, statistics and scripted statements against gun control. As one man against gun control left the microphone, he called out to those behind him in line, “If anyone needs statistics, I have them here!” Two men against gun control even filmed each other speaking at the microphone.
Others advocated for what they called “rational, sensible” regulation. Most of the women who stood to speak are mothers or teachers in support of stricter gun-control laws.
“No one wants criminals to have guns,” one woman said. “No one is trying to take away the Second Amendment. But I feel I have the right to send my baby to first grade and not have them filled with bullets.”
After the event, Bob Young, 66, of Manchester-by-the-Sea said Second Amendment rights were the issue. Assault rifles are used for competitions, hunting and target practice, he said, including matches with the Civilian Marksmanship Program. He added that assault rifles are “a lot of fun to shoot. I have one, and everyone who shot it, they loved it.” The only way to prevent mass shootings and accidents, he said, is to educate children in schools about gun safety and release information about people with mental health issues to the federal government.