A Republican state lawmaker in North Carolina claimed this week that speakers at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24 — many of them shooting Parkland shooting survivors — wanted to “murder” gun owners. She provided no evidence to support her outlandish accusation.
“They’re out to take your guns, and our freedoms,” State Rep. Beverly Boswell wrote in a Facebook post on Monday, above a photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Tyra Hemans and Emma Gonzalez, who lived through a mass shooting at their school last month that left 17 people dead.
Responding to a follower in the comments below, who called Boswell’s post a “scare tactic,” the 6th District representative added, “Actually many of the speakers at these rallies were calling for gun registration, confiscation, Second Amendment repeal and even the murder of those who would not turn over their guns to the government. Blaming guns for crime is as silly as blaming plastic bags for pollution. It’s typical of liberals to blame crime on everyone but the criminal.”
As the News & Observer’s Under the Dome political blog notes, the claim was a bit far-fetched, not to mention incendiary.
Nothing on the March For Our Lives website — the official site for the student led anti-gun violence movement that sprang up in the wake of the Parkland shooting — indicates that the young activists want or are trying to take away firearms from law-abiding gun owners.
In their mission statement, the teens note that they are “working towards universal, comprehensive background checks; bringing the ATF into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database; and [advocating for] funds for the Center for Disease Control to research the gun violence epidemic in America.” They’ve also called on Congress to enact a high-capacity magazine ban and crack down on the sale of assault-style weapons.
“The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is [to] assure that no special interest group or political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country,” they write. “We demand morally-just leaders to rise up from both parties in order to ensure public safety.”
Additionally, at many of the March For Our Lives rallies and offshoot demonstrations, much of the focus was directed at the gun lobby — specifically the National Rifle Association (NRA) — which has spent billions of dollars on Capitol Hill to sway the gun debate in its favor.
“We are not trying to take away everybody’s guns away, and the NRA wants people to think that,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky said in a speech the day of the march. “They are fearmongers. They want to sell weapons by exploiting people’s fears. So, the second we want to put common-sense resolutions on these assault weapons, the NRA will say they are trying to steal every single one of your guns, and people believe them. Fortunately, the majority of the American people see past this.”
"Stand for us or beware — the voters are coming." Florida school shooting survivor Cameron Kasky gives an impassioned speech pushing for gun control at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington. https://t.co/tVKMWTNUdh pic.twitter.com/8gCEtqi7Zq
— CNN (@CNN) March 24, 2018
Boswell is no stranger to controversy. The North Carolina legislator has previously been criticized for embellishing the facts to suit her own agenda.
Earlier in March, The News & Observer reported that the North Carolina Board of Nursing had contacted Boswell, demanding that she remove claims on her Facebook page and official website describing herself as a nurse. According to the outlet, Boswell, who serves on the state House health committee, is a certified medical assistant and phlebotomist, but does not have a nursing degree.
“Rep. Boswell is not a licensed nurse nor has she ever been a licensed nurse,” board spokesman David Kalbacker stated in an email, referring to a section on Boswell’s website and Facebook page that boasted of her journey “from struggling single mother to registered nurse and Dare County Commissioner.”
As the Observer notes, registered nurses in North Carolina are required to obtain at least a two-year associate degree and pass an exam to qualify for a license. Phlebotomists, by contrast, are not.
Boswell later claimed she had not been aware of the “mistake” and subsequently revised her Facebook page and website in response to the board’s demands.