Missoula Students March For Stronger Gun Regulations

Feb 21, 2018

Missoula high school students marched in protest against gun violence Wednesday in Missoula, joining students across the country.

Hundreds of Hellgate High students walked off campus and positioned themselves along the Higgins Street bridge downtown, a popular site for demonstrations.

Missoula high school students carry signs reading No more thoughts & prayers and Fear has no place in school during a walkout over gun safety, February 21, 2018.
Credit Olga Kreimer

Among the protesters was 18-year-old-senior Andrew Midgett.

"I want more gun control," Midgett said. "I want to feel safe at my school. I do not feel safe at school and I want to feel safe at school."

Midgett said he learned about the protest on an Instagram page that’s popular with Hellgate students.

"I didn’t know how many people were going to show up, I had no idea. I am very surprised. I’m really, really happy with the outcome of this protest," he said.

About 15 student counter-protesters were on the Higgins street bridge as well, with a bullhorn, chanting "guns for us." They followed the larger group to the courthouse.

Katherine Kennedy is a 17-year-old Hellgate senior.

"Well, we're protesting the guns because, it's just ridiculous. If we just had more gun restrictions -- I'm not even saying ban them outright -- but more restrictions, there would be a decrease in the number of people that died, and the mass shooting just wouldn't happen. Nobody needs, like, an automatic or a semi-automatic to defend themselves. It’s just not necessary," Kennedy said.

High school students march in downtown Missoula February 21, 2018, after walking out of classes to call for stronger gun regulation.
Credit Olga Kreimer

Some people who were not students came out to support their march, including Missoula retiree Anne Bertsche.

Missoula high school students hold signs calling for an end to gun violence. The students walked out of school February 21, 2018 to march.
Credit Olga Kreimer

"We’re here to stand with the kids from all over the nation and especially Missoula."

Clearly emotional, Bertsche said this was the first time she’s demonstrated following a mass shooting.

"I think it’s important for everyone to be here. This is an incredibly important issue. That our kids are standing up and leading the way is … amazing. It's incredible and I wanted to be here to support them," she said.

After spending some time on the bridge chanting and waving signs, the students marched a few more blocks to Missoula’s county courthouse.