BOSTON -- Students and faculty from Simon's Rock College rallied for strict gun control at the Statehouse Wednesday, nearly four months after a sophomore went on a shooting rampage, killing two people and wounding four others on their western Massachusetts campus.
The 60 students and half dozen faculty members want lawmakers to close a loophole in the law that allowed sophomore Wayne Lo to purchase a semiautomatic rifle just hours before the shootings Dec. 14, 1992, on the Great Barrington campus.
Lo, of Billings, Mont., purchased the Chinese-made SKS military-style rifle at Dave's Sporting Goods in Pittsfield. Prosecutors say he allegedly used the gun to kill teacher Nacunan Saez, 37, and sophomore Galen Gibson, 18. Lo was not subject to scrutiny under Massachusetts gun-purchasing laws because he is a resident of Montana.
'Massachusetts has some very good, decent laws regarding gun control, and we need to be sure those laws apply to everybody across the board,' teacher Jim Monsonis said.
'We need to make sure that Boston and the Massachusetts Legislature know that we at Simon's Rock, who were particularly touched by this inequity in the law, can have our voice heard,' he said.
Monsonis led the students in chants of 'Close the loophole!' as they converged at the Statehouse.
An opponent of gun control staged a counter-demonstration nearby. Gregory Vasale, a member of the Gun Owners Action League, said the students were too young to understand the larger issue of limiting citizens' rights.
'I don't think that once they've gained the maturity that goes along with growing up, they'll be willing to sacrifice their freedom for a little security,' Vasale said. GOAL is a statewide organization with about 75,000 members, he said.