NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 26, 2013

Gun control vigil Sunday

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — A small group of gun control advocates will be holding a rally this weekend to protest the influence that the gun lobby has on politics.

The rally will be held Sunday at 8 a.m. at the corner of Sparhawk Street and Main Street by the gazebo, and organizers said that anyone is welcome to make signs and come join them.

Susan Manning, an Amesbury resident of 11 years who is running the event, said she got the idea after meeting with some other like-minded residents who were concerned about the effect organizations like the National Rifle Association have on politics.

“We are concerned that the NRA lobbyists hold too much sway over decisions regarding gun laws in our country,” Manning said.

Sunday’s event will coincide with dozens of similar rallies being held across the country, including the March on Washington for Gun Control rally scheduled for Saturday. Manning said she got an email from MoveOn.org asking if people would be interested in holding a local get-together and the plan came together from there.

“We all got together and had some ideas about how the gun laws are not safe in this country,” Manning said. “So I offered to organize a vigil.”

The group will be making signs and standing on the street corner from 8 to 9 a.m. so that people who are out and about will be able to see them. Manning said they’d received permission from City Hall to gather and that she had reached out to some local churches to help spread the word.

Recognizing that it will still be very cold this weekend, Manning acknowledged that there likely wouldn’t be a giant crowd, but said the issue is timely and that it’s an important topic worth discussing.

Manning added the goal of the rally is too keep the message simple, saying things like mental health care reform are important too, but for now they wanted to keep their focus on gun lobbyists and the influence they carry.

“We think the NRA is too extreme,” Manning said. “That’s our simple little message: We don’t want to be bullied by an extremist group like the NRA.”

Manning said she would also be standing on the corner Monday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. too, and that anyone who wants to join her is welcome to, as well.