Gun violence rally organizer: 'Evil does not obey laws'

·3 min read

Jun. 3—While two Democratic leaders called for strengthening the country's gun laws on Friday, a Manchester mother who lost her son to gun violence focused more on community activism while addressing a rally Friday at Manchester City Hall.

In fact, just moments before Congressman Chris Pappas called for tougher gun laws, Amy Innarelli said "evil does not obey laws."

The rally was part of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. It took place after weeks of anguish and debate nationally after mass shootings at an upstate New York grocery store and grade school in Texas.

Pappas, a Democrat, said too many deadly weapons are falling into the wrong hands, and political will is needed in Washington to do something, including age restrictions for assault weapon purchases.

"There's no reason an 18-year-old should be able to walk into a store and get his hands on an AR-15," Pappas said to applause.

In remarks read by Manchester Alderman Bill Barry, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called for common sense gun reform legislation. The failure of Senate Republicans to act on such measures is irresponsible and shameful, she said.

Innarelli, who organized the event, emphasized efforts by police and community members to discourage gun crime in the city.

"We will never create enough laws to control evil. Evil does not obey laws," said Innarelli, whose son Chandler was shot and killed two years ago in Manchester.

Innarelli has pushed efforts to discourage youth to use guns.

Later this month, she will host an annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament named for Chandler. And she played a role in developing the Manchester Police Department's gun violence reduction strategy, which will be profiled in the New Hampshire Sunday News and released to the public on Monday.

"Take our city back," Innarelli said, "by stepping up, not turning a blind eye and actually participating in our community."

About a dozen of the 75 on hand wore orange T-shirts with Chandler's image. Others wore orange T-shirts that read "End gun violence" on the front and "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough" on the back.

Another mom who lost a son to gun violence was also on hand.

Christine Robinson-Pelleteir held a poster with a photograph of her 27 year son, Brandon David, who grew up in the Conway area and was shot and killed in Texas in 2018.

Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said the gun violence reduction strategy has several aspects. The strategy emphasizes programs to discourage youth from using guns.

"The police aren't going to do this alone," he said, "it takes a community-wide approach."

In a televised speech Thursday night, President Joe Biden called for controls on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, either an outright ban or limitations on purchase to those 21 or older. He proposed stronger background checks, repeal of immunity for gun manufacturers, and prioritization of mental health treatment.

Other proposals under consideration in Congress would address safe gun storage, create a federal offense for firearm trafficking, and codify current regulations that address rapid-fire bump stocks and kit-assembled ghost guns.