On Saturday, millions gathered in protest around the country for the March For Our Lives, taking to the streets to make known the desire for dramatic change in gun control.
The movement, sparked by the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida and led by students, has galvanized many in the United States to speak out against gun violence and in support of stricter gun laws. Many in the NBA voiced their support for the movement on social media on Saturday, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Steve Kerr and others all took to Twitter on Saturday. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss took to the streets of L.A. with protesters, while Carmelo Anthony paid for thousands of kids to be bussed from Baltimore to the march in D.C.
Ben Simmons also made his support known by wearing a March For Our Lives shirt when he was on the bench during the Sixers’ 120-108 win over the Timberwolves on Saturday. The frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award was asked about that decision after the game and told the assembled media that it was important to him because having grown up in Australia, he’d seen the positive effects of strict gun laws firsthand.
“For me growing up in Australia, I think there was a gun ban way back in the day where they bought back all the guns,” Simmons said. “And there hasn’t been a major shootings or anything like that — no one carries around guns. To me I think that’s very important. Just where I come from, you want kids to feel safe going to school and the parents [too]. I just don’t really believe there’s any need to have a gun — maybe hunting — but that’s a different conversation. It really sticks with me. I don’t think anyone should have to worry about somebody coming and shooting up the place. I mean, that’s a scary thought.”
The policy Simmons refers to is the gun buy back Australia did in 1996 following a mass shooting and the stricter gun laws in Australia have often been pointed to as an example of how successful gun control can be if the United States were to follow suit. Simmons is among those that thinks the U.S. should adopt similar policies, and as a young person (just 21 years old) he’s clearly inspired by the growing youth movement in the country for gun control.