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Vermonters, Here's What Is Planned For Saturday's 'March For Our Lives'

Community members hold signs in favor of gun legislation in Brattleboro, Vt.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Community members gathered outside Brattleboro Union High School to show support for students who participated in a walkout on March 14. On March 24, there will be events in support of gun legislation throughout the state and U.S.

The "March For Our Lives" will take place on Saturday, March 24, with a national march in Washington, D.C., as well as local events in Montpelier and other Vermont locations.

What's happening on Saturday

The March For Our Lives mission statement lays out the genesis and goals of their movement. An excerpt explains: 

"March for Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar."

A national march will take place on Saturday in Washington, D.C., but there are related events planned throughout the country.

One of those locations is Montpelier. As of midday Friday, about 1,700 people have indicated on Facebook as "going" to that event, which will take place on the Statehouse lawn beginning at noon. 

VPR reporter Liam Elder-Connors will be covering the Montpelier event on Saturday. Follow him on Twitter, @lseconnors

Lead organizer Madison Knoop says there will be a number of youth speakers at Saturday's event, and that she wants to rally to empower young people to participate in government.

"There are so many ways for us to be heard, like just through voting and writing your representative and calling them and showing them your support of what they're doing and getting involved in different groups, you know, like gun reform groups," Knoop said.

The national hashtag for Saturday is #MarchForOurLives, but Knoop also noted that the hashtag that will be used in conjunction with state's event is #MarchForOurLivesVT

Montpelier Police issued a press release with parking information and safety tips for those planning to be in the city on Saturday.

Besides the capital, there are also March For Our Lives events planned on Saturday in other locations around the state: 

In addition to events within the state, some Vermont students are heading to the national March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C.
More from VPR — Randolph Union High School Students Head To D.C. For National 'March For Our Lives' [March 23]

Vermont students join the conversation about guns

Over the past few weeks, Vermont students have taken part in discussions and demonstrations regarding gun legislation.

In the week following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, some Rutland students began organizing the March For Our Lives event that will now be taking place in downtown Rutland this weekend.

More From VPR — Rutland Teens Among Youth Calling For Gun Control In Wake Of Florida Shooting [Feb. 23]

Young people in support of gun rights have also organized. At the University of Vermont, members of the college community held a gun rights rally at the Ira Allen Chapel on March 8. That event in turn sparked a counter-rally that same evening on campus, in front of the Bailey/Howe Library.

More from VPR — Vermont's Gun Debate Comes To UVM Campus [March 9]

Last week — on March 14 — students across the country participated in the #NationalSchoolWalkout, leaving classes to demonstrate against gun violence. In Vermont on that day, weather conditions meant many schools were closed, but students at a few schools across the state did still participate in walkout protests. 

More from VPR — Vermont Students Join In National School Walkouts, Despite Some School Closures [March 14]

And just a few days ago, a public hearing was held at the Statehouse where some Vermont students in support of gun control legislation shared their thoughts and experiences with House and Senate lawmakers.

More from VPR — Students Demand Action From Montpelier On Gun Control Bills [March 21]

About 150 students from Montpelier High School walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to stage a rally on the steps of the Statehouse. Students across Vermont are calling on lawmakers to pass new gun legislation.
Credit Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus
The Times Argus
Montpelier High School students demonstrated at the Statehouse steps on Wednesday, the same day students from around Vermont testified before lawmakers regarding gun legislation.

Gun legislation has been a dominant conversation in Montpelier in recent weeks. Gov. Phil Scott has expressedhis support for some changes to gun laws in the state.

The Vermont Senate has passed an amendment requiring background checks (however, transactions within an immediate family are exempt) and also to raise the minimum purchase age for guns to 21.

The Vermont House is spending the day before March For Our Lives debating various provisions of a gun control bill.

Update 2:57 p.m. This post was updated to include a tweet from Bob Kinzel noting the Vermont House approved a ban on bump stocks during their debate Friday.

Update 5:52 p.m. Click here for Bob Kinzel's post with the latest updates on Friday's House debate.

Update 3/24/2018 9:17 a.m. Full story available here: After Marathon 10-Hour Debate, Vermont House Passes Gun Control Bill

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
Meg Malone was a producer for Vermont Public Radio until January 2020. She joined VPR in May 2016 as digital producer for Vermont Edition.
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