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Despite the delay in sending this letter, I wish to offer my profound respect to the Helena Youth Against Gun Violence organization, in particular for their orchestration of the March For Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018.

I think Mayor Collins said it best: that we have failed our children. I agree, although transparently I had not realized this until the rally. Hence the value in the event: For our children to eloquently speak in front of a crowd of roughly 1,000 to ask for a simple measure to feel safe in school. They clearly articulated, again and again, that there is no challenge to the Second Amendment and that, instead, they advocate for changes – at both the State of Montana and federal levels – that are reasonable, including closing gun-show loopholes; longer waiting periods and better background checks for gun purchases; stricter regulations on semi-automatic rifles; banning firearm modifiers (i.e., bump stocks); and increasing publish awareness around gun violence, including providing public funding for research.

Our children are telling us they are frightened and that they need change. They have spent their educational years practicing for lock-downs, something none of us in older generations remotely experienced.

They spoke out with courage and clarity. I offer immense admiration to Mariah and Ryan Thomas who said it, paraphrasing, perhaps in the most heartfelt of manners: That no child should have to be subject to gun violence in school – that the experience of it should not be a part of any childhood.

I also offer veneration to John Moffatt and Jack Copps, both of whom were directly affected, also, by gun violence and who bravely shared their stories to help others and support our youth.

It’s time for change. Our children are asking for our support to feel safe in school. This is a simple request and one readily achieved via involvement on the state level (leg.mt.gov) as with the federal.

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Bravo to Helena Youth Against Gun Violence! To have the composure, at the middle and high school levels, to speak to a large crowd with such professionalism and wisdom, and to so clearly vocalize what is needed, is for parents an obvious call to action.

Sincerely,

Heidi Harting-Rex

Helena

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