MTPR

Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

A Helena Youth Against Gun Violence meeting, Dec. 5, 2018.
Courtesy Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

A bill that a group of Montana high school students wrote to try to reduce gun violence in the state was killed in a Senate committee Thursday.

It was written by Helena Youth Against Gun Violence, which formed in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting in which 17 people were killed in February of 2018.

Hand gun.
(PD)

Legislation from Helena high school students attempting to reduce gun deaths in Montana has passed out of the House. Now that it’s before the Senate, it looks significantly different than it used to, after it was changed in order to win approval from some conservative lawmakers.

A Helena Youth Against Gun Violence meeting, Dec. 5, 2018.
Courtesy Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

Helena high school students who organized to do something in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting 13 months ago presented a bill to Montana’s House Judiciary Committee at the capitol Tuesday.

"We’re not expert lobbyists, nor are we supporting any particular agenda or organization. We’re just students who saw an issue in our community and decided something needed to be done," says Clara McRae, a senior at Capital High School and co-founder of Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

Students at Capital High School in Helena walk out of class March 14, 2018 as part of what they call a memorial for the Parkland shooting victims and other gun violence victims.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

A week after 17 people were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students in Helena formed a group to talk about gun violence.

It’s now a year later and The Helena Youth Against Gun Violence have introduced a bill into the 2019 legislative session they say will help prevent gun deaths in Montana.

Mariah Thomas, one of the founders of the Helena Youth Against Gun Violence, speaks at a vigil held in the Montana Capitol on the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut, Dec. 14, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

On the sixth anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Montana advocates for gun policy reform held a vigil in the state Capitol building to mourn the 20 students and six adult staff members who were shot and killed.

Around 50 people gathered at the giant Christmas tree in the Capitol rotunda to remember what happened at the school in Newtown Connecticut six years ago, and others like it, since. 

Students at Capital High School in Helena walk out of class March 14, 2018 as part of what they call a memorial for the Parkland shooting victims and other gun violence victims.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Remember back in March, when high school students in several towns across Montana staged marches against gun violence? The marches began a month after 17 students and staffers were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

One of those groups, Helena Youth Against Gun Violence, has remained active. They hosted a U.S. House candidates forum last spring, and on Tuesday night held what they called their re-launch meeting.

Missoula high school students march for action on gun safety on the Higgins Street bridge in Missoula, February 21, 2018.
Olga Kreimer

During first period English last Friday at Capital high school in Helena, student Noah Whitehorn, felt his phone buzz with a notification; 10 people were dead following a school shooting in a small town just outside of Houston, Texas.

“I almost cried in the middle of English class. How is this still happening? After all that we’ve done in the past few months you’d think that at least something would have been accomplished.”

The group Helena Youth Against Gun Violence is hosting a "Town Hall For Our Lives" meeting Friday, April 27, 2018.
Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

Students in Helena are hosting a town hall meeting this evening to talk about solutions to gun violence. But their goal of having large non-partisan representation at the event doesn’t look like it’ll happen.

Leaders of the Helena Youth Against Gun Violence Group say they’ve invited all 17 candidates in the primary races for U.S. House and Senate to what they’re calling a Town Hall For Our Lives. However as of this morning, only five of the candidates, two Greens and three Democrats have said they’ll show up.

Hellgate High School students joined the national gun walkout April 20, 2018. L to r: Jack Catmull, Erin Szalda-Petree, Ally Fradkin and Llwyn Clark-Gaynor. They're all members on the band “Carpool”.
Edward O'Brien

Missoula students from Hellgate High joined a nationwide student walkout today on the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, where 13 people died. Missoula’s walkout started at about 1:30 at the Xs sculpture at the north end of Higgins Avenue downtown. About 50 people were there when it started.

Students at Glacier High School in Kalispell, MT memorialized the Parkland shooting victims on March 14, 2018 by placing 17 empty chairs outside, one for each of the victims.
Nicky Ouellet

Students across Montana joined the nationwide school walkout today on the one month anniversary the Florida school shooting. Nicky Ouellet reports from the Flathead Valley, Corin Cates-Carney reports from Helena, and Edward O'Brien reports from Missoula.

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