Video: Elizabeth Warren says famed Mass Pike billboard inspired gun control push

The billboard off of the Mass Pike near Fenway counted the children killed by weapons.
The billboard off of the Mass Pike near Fenway counted the children killed by weapons. –David L Ryan / The Boston Globe

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s desire to pass gun control legislation was spurred by the famed Mass Pike billboard near Fenway Park that counted the number of children killed by firearms, she said in a speech before Congress on Thursday.

Warren said she drove on the Pike past the billboard three-to-four times a day during her run for Senate. As she drove by, the digital billboard ticked up in number, counting the number of children killed by firearms.

“When the tragedy happened at Sandy Hook elementary school, my first thought was of the 20 little children that would be added to the count of that billboard,’’ Warren said. “I thought about how we, the grown ups, have failed to keep safe the thousands of children counted there.’’

It's time for Congress to work for the American people, not th...

Day after day, tragedy after tragedy, Congress has done nothing about gun violence. Republicans in the Senate have blocked even the smallest steps to protect our communities and keep our children safe. This must stop now. Today, Senate Democrats called on Republicans to join us in supporting three measures to reduce gun violence. Watch my floor speech and ask your representatives: “Who do you work for: the American people or the NRA?”

Posted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday, October 8, 2015

About 150,000 drivers passed that billboard every day over the past 20 years. The 252-foot-long billboard was taken down this March.

Warren’s speech came amid a push for gun control measures in the wake of a mass shooting in which nine people were shot and killed at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

The proposed legislation, supported by Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, and other Democrats, would require background checks for weapons purchases made at gun shows, make all “straw purchasing’’ a crime, and bar domestic abusers from being able to buy guns.

The vote on those three measures are a test of who Congressmen truly represent, Warren said.

“It is time to make a choice right here in Congress: The American people? Or the NRA?’’ she said.

Gallery: The safest towns in Massachusetts.

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