On the same day Second Amendment advocates demonstrated at state capitols across America, an unaffiliated pro-gun rally in Kalispell drew about 200 people this weekend.
Speakers at the locally organized "Rally For Our Rights/Pro-Gun Rally" in Kalispell’s Depot Park said they spoke for a section of America’s youth that’s been overlooked as the media covers a swell of anti-gun sentiment following a deadly school shooting in Florida.
Event co-organizer Grant Miller is a sophomore at Columbia Falls High School. He told the crowd they must protect their constitutional rights from those who want to see stricter gun regulation.
"We can no longer stand idly by while the Democrats and mainstream media push and fight to strip us of our rights," Miller told the crowd. "We must speak, we must yell. Show them we are not a fairytale, and we truly do exist and have a voice — much louder than theirs."
Miller was joined by about a dozen speakers for the two-hour rally. It drew fewer than the 500 people organizers predicted.
Attendees sported military patches and NRA hats and waved American and Gadsden Flags. Families stood alongside the dozen-or-so men with tactical long-guns strapped to their backs.
U.S. Senate hopeful Republican Dr. Albert Olszewski of Kalispell, endorsed by several speakers, made brief remarks at the podium, as did U.S. House Libertarian candidate Elinor Swanson of Billings. Several other candidates for local offices milled in the crowd.