Students rally across nation and Montpelier to demand gun control laws

Michael Bielawski/TNR

HUGS AND LIBERTY: Eighth grade Middlebury students (from left to right) Ella Landis, Anya HardyMittell and Saskia Gori-Montanelli participated in the March for Our Lives rally, which took place around the country on Saturday.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A day after the Vermont House preliminarily passed legislation for universal background checks, gun magazine limits and increasing the gun purchase age to 21, about 2,000 students and activists gathered at the Statehouse to participate in a nationwide rally for gun control.

The March for Our Lives event, which took place in other cities across the nation Saturday, was organized by well-funded national and local liberal activists. Groups thanked for their support by Saturday’s speakers included Women’s March Vermont, Rights and Democracy, Gun Sense Vermont, the Peace and Justice Center, Planned Parenthood Northern New England, Justice for All, Outright Vermont, No Names for Justice, Ben and Jerry’s, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Black Lives Matter, and more.

One student speaker at the event was Burlington High School student Rivan Calderin, who lost a family member to a school shooting in Essex years ago.

“The number of victims increase and increase, but no one can remember all of their names,” he said. “We can no longer sit back and wait for the next tragedy to occur — we must put a stop to potential mass shootings because no one is safe from gun violence.”

Another student who spoke was Olivia Horton, a Vermont college student.

“I have come into this movement because my generation has endured adults taking no action,” she said. “I am deeply disturbed and upset that the adults in power have undermined and belittled the youth and their allies. Yes, I’m afraid, but no, I am not going to evade the problem at hand.”

She encouraged everyone to contact legislators and demand “common sense” gun legislation, a catchphrase of the national gun control movement.

Middle-schooler Anya Hardy-Mittell, a participant in the rally, told True North she was inspired to see young people speaking out.

“I thought all of the speakers were great and I was really inspired that most of them were youth,” she said.

Asked which legislation being proposed might be able to prevent a mass shooting, Hardy-Mittel said, “Well, I think definitely for school shootings, raising the age limit to 21, because a lot of the shooters have been within the ages of 18 to 21. And I also think that background checks are really important.”

Bill Loftus, a parent of one of the students in the crowd, told True North he thought gun control measures discussed by the speakers were “a move in the right direction.” However, he disagreed with having armed resource officers at schools to stop a mass shooting, despite its effectiveness in quickly ending a shooting at Great Hills High School in Maryland on Tuesday.

“I think it’s much more efficient to address gun violence from the front side,” he said. “If that’s the last recourse, I might consider that. … That’s not the message that I heard today.”

The crowd also had a number of visible opponents of gun control.

Kenneth Blodgett, of Lowell, was front and center in the crowd with a Gadsden flag, the “don’t tread on me” coiled rattlesnake banner of constitutional rights and liberty.

“I was asked to leave a few times and I wasn’t leaving,” he said. “Just because I’m here doesn’t mean I don’t agree with anything that they are saying. I just think it’s kind of patronizing the children to use them as the political movement.”

Blodgett referenced the foiled school shooting in Maryland this week as an example of Second Amendment gun rights working to protect school kids from mass shooters.

“The incident that just happened in Maryland was avoided with a firearm. He could have killed more people,” Blodgett said.

He added that in other nations around the world the ability to peaceably assemble and address grievances is not available, and so First Amendment free speech is as important as Second Amendment gun rights for Americans.

Madison Knoop, a Vermont college student and organizer of the event, told True North she wants to see more gun control legislation.

“The one that I think is most important right now is universal background checks,” she said. “Because that’s a huge thing, that’s definitely gonna pave the way for more gun legislation in Vermont.”

Asked if the checks might not work since many criminals are unlikely to volunteer for background checks, she said, “I definitely think it’s enforceable. We see that they work if you look at the statistics,” she said.

Commenting on the Maryland school shooting halted by an armed school resource officer, Knoop said this was not likely to be repeated often, and that the mere presence of guns leads to more violence.

“It’s great that they were able to stop him, but that’s not a common thing that happens,” she said. “And we know statistically that a gun in the presence of a home or other areas is more likely to increase the rate of homicides, suicides and other potential shootings.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

9 thoughts on “Students rally across nation and Montpelier to demand gun control laws

  1. Our future Generation , what a joke they are just ” MINIONS ” of the Liberal left .

    This kind of indoctrination is just shameful, wait until these snowflakes get out in
    the real world ……………..tears will flow !!

    Just more useless laws , feel good bills so out elected officials really won’t have
    to do any real problem solving ( Debt , Taxes , Jobs ) I have No respect for the
    elected officials we have ………they need to go back home !!

  2. It seems to me our ‘special’ young activists and future sheep [followers of Prog’s /Liberals] need to be given a large dose early American History, knowledge of proper firearm usage, a great amount of 2 + 2 and a huge dollop of plain old common sense.
    We need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the under-informed…

  3. Here are a few quotes that appear to be practiced by today’s liberals and their media mouth pieces.

    “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

    – Adolf Hitler

    “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

    – Adolf Hitler

    “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is PERCEIVED as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

    ― Adolf Hitler

  4. “Give me just one generation of youth and I’ll transform the whole world” -Vladimir Lenin

  5. Nothing illustrates the need for embracing critical thinking in our schools, more than watching this unfold!

    • If you notice, the Liberal “news” networks, talk shows (which is really nothing but “show” only interview the KIDS that are very gun control. Listening to them they don’t have a clue about reality.

      There are kids on the opposite side and a father who’s kid was killed. THEY don’t get interviewed. So much for fair and balanced.

  6. Just a few anti-gun groups, list isn’t complete does sum it up if you want real numbers.

    Kids were indeed being coached, and not just coached, but also funded and elevated by their leftist idols.

    1. Millions of dollars raised by A-list celebrities including Oprah, George and Amal Clooney, Steven
    Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the March for Our Lives GoFundMe
    2. High-powered public relations firms, March for Our Lives…
    3. Planned Parenthood
    4. Everytown for Gun Safety — bankrolled mostly by Michael Bloomberg
    5. Gabrielle Giffords – Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
    6. Giffords: Courage to stop Gun Violence
    7. Women’s March LA
    8. George Soros,
    9. American Federation of Teachers
    10. Never Again movement.
    11. President Obama and his Education Department
    12. Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz
    13. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad.
    14. Democrat anti-gun left
    15. Brady Campaign
    16. Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
    17. Americans for Responsible
    18. Law Center to Prevent Gun (LCTPGV)
    19. Violence Policy Center
    20. Americans for Responsible Solutions, Super Pac
    21. 2018 NRA Boycott
    22. American Hunters and Shooters Association
    23. American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention
    24. Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
    25. Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus
    26. National Basketball Association
    27. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is not “only concerned with ‘illegal’ guns” but is actually “anti-gun
    The group spent approximately $12 million on these advertisements
    MAIG membership consists of “more than 1,000 current and former Mayors
    28. Liberal Media, Published & Broadcasting (CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, PBS, CBS, etc)
    29. Liberal Law makers, State & Fed
    30. Local Town’s officials
    31. Stand Up 4 Gun Control
    32. New York Safe Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE)
    33. The Trace, a strong-anti gun web site & articles:
    34. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America MARCHFOROURLIVES.COM
    The head of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (Shannon Watts, not benefactor Michael Bloomberg)
    brutally dismissed an op-ed in the New York Times by Bethany Mandel as an anecdote of fear and paranoia
    35. Various stores and banks that won’t do business with gun people & NRA members, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bank
    of America, City Bank
    36. The Gun Violence Archive:
    37. March for Our Lives
    Vermont and perhaps other states:
    38. Vermont Students Join Call for Gun Control
    39. Governor Scott Calls for Sweeping Gun Control …
    40. Gun Sense Vermont, Ann Braden (from CT)
    41. Flatlander VT Rep Martin LaBlonde D-So. Burlington, Gun Control Legislation Bill No. S55 3/13/2018
    42. Stop Gun Madness – Vermont – Ban on Assult Weapons Bill in….
    43. Gun Control Bills-Support from Linda-Waite Simpson of Chittenden VT, formerly of Miami FL. Damn Liberal
    (I contacted and berated me), got voted out.
    Ref LaMonde bill PDF:
    Note: LaMonde (So. Burlington) From CA & MI arrived VT in 2007 His Gun Control Bill S.55 3/13/2018

  7. How sad that Olivia Horton’s generation is the first in the history of this country to openly acknowledge that they are too stupid, too pathetic, and too irresponsible to be trusted with firearms and feels it must turn to government begging to be protected from themselves……………the same government that our forefathers realized might need to someday be overthrown by the armed citizens. Her generation is so willing to give more power to an incompetent government that has repeatedly proven that no amount of laws are effective if bureaucrats fail to do their jobs.

  8. Eleven teens die every day because of texting while driving, which is already illegal. We obviously need more common sense ‘Teen Texting’ control, like age limits to possess these deadly devices and mandatory training and certification on proper use.

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