JACKSON, WY— Despite heavy snowfall, cold temps, a Pole Pedal Paddle race, and a Hill Climb, at least 260 people (267 was one unofficial count) joined marchers across the country and paraded to the Town Square for “March for Our Lives.”
The event is one of a series of national responses to the Parkland school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High school that killed 17 students and staff. Hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered in DC this morning, and across the country. Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglass are largely behind the nation-wide events, and have been vocal about demanding change since the incident. The ask? Stricter gun laws that would make it harder for people like Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, to access weapons. Cruz’s weapon of choice, an assault-style AR-15, is the biggest concern.
“I don’t see a place for assault weapons,” said Jackson marcher Patricia Macnaught. “We’re speaking to legislators that we want change.”
Debate over how far the Second Amendment extends to individual rights to bear arms, especially certain types of arms, re-ignites after every mass shooting. After the Sandy Hook in 2012, a federal appeals court ruled assault weapons are not, in fact, protected under the Second Amendment, and Mayland’s law banning such weapons is, in fact, constitutional. It was the fourth such decision in a decade—no federal appeals court has ever ruled in favor of assault weapons.
Jay Pistono recalled his time in the Special Forces. “No one felt civilians should have AR-15s,” he said. He knows Wyoming is a gun-loving state, and indeed guns are central to many hunters’ lifestyles and livelihoods. He doesn’t want that to change.
“I don’t know one single person who’s ever gotten their hunting guns taken away.” He just doesn’t see a need for military-style weapons in the hands of anyone but active military. He wants “sensible gun control.”
Other responses to the Parkland shooting, and to mass shootings in general, point to mental health as the culprit, not guns. Macnaught and Annie Putnam were marching for that, too.
Cindy Campbell noted these conversations aren’t mutually exclusive. “There’s always a third answer,” she said. To find it, people first need to show up at the table. “Just go there.”