In the week since a 19-year-old man shot and killed 17 people at a high school in Florida, the issue of gun control has been all over the news — including here in Montana.
Students who survived the shooting in Florida have turned into outspoken gun control advocates. They are also being accused of being "crisis actors" by several conspiracy-oriented sites and an aide to a Florida lawmaker.
Here's a roundup of Montana coverage:
Students walk out: On Wednesday, hundreds of students in Missoula walked out of class to protest gun violence in schools. (Here are the photos.) “In my opinion it’s sad that it’s taken this long for people to get this upset about it,” said Henry Charman, a senior at Hellgate who helped to organize the walkout.
Carroll College students plan to walk out of their classes on March 14 to protest Congress’ inaction on gun violence. In 1990, a man who appeared to be drunk walked into Carroll College's cafeteria and opened fire, killing one food service worker and wounding another.
Threats against schools: A Darby senior was in court this week after telling fellow students he was "going to shoot up the school." MacLean William Kayser, 18, told classmates that those wearing yellow shirts to school the following day would be "a target'' but those in red shirts would be safe. He then pointed at various students, saying “you’re a red shirt” or “you’re a yellow shirt,” according to an affidavit of probable cause filed Tuesday in Ravalli County Justice Court.
On Thursday, Missoula's Big Sky High School was on lock-in after graffiti was found in a girls' bathroom that said "Don't be at Big Sky at 1:20." The school allowed parents to pick up teir kids.
On Wednesday, Darby Superintendent Loyd Rennaker confirmed another social media threat toward the school. Extra law enforcement officers were at the school Wednesday, including four Ravalli County Sheriff's Department officers and Darby Police.
In Philipsburg, a student was arrested and charged with a felony. Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson said the student made threats against schools in the town.
In Missoula, Big Sky High School dealt with reports that a student made a verbal threat toward the school. The school's "threat assessment team" found there to be a "low threat" to the school, and the student is back in classes.
In Helena, a Capital High School student was removed from class Tuesday after posting a Snapchat video with a pistol in it. Helena Public Schools Superintendent Jack Copps said the video doesn't threaten anyone. “That video simply questioned from a Second Amendment perspective whether a person was automatically guilty because they owned a firearm,” he said.
Billings "hoax": Billings Public Schools superintendent Terry Bouck addressed threats against schools on social media on Wednesday night in the wake of a Florida school shooting.
"Tonight it came to my attention that there are threats toward schools occurring on social media," he wrote in an emailed newsletter calling the threats a hoax. "It is believed that these threats are a viral, nationwide issue and are not specifically directed at Billings Public Schools."
Still, he said SD2 will add an "additional police presence at our high schools, as well as additional security observation at all of our schools."
On parole: The man who as a teenager shot a Lewistown vice principal and killed a substitute teacher in 1986 in Montana's highest-profile school shooting now lives in Nebraska after being paroled nearly three years ago.
Talking to kids: What should you say if your child asks about a school shooting? Start with "what have you seen, what do you know?’”
Teachers with guns: State law allows Montana school boards to let anyone carry a gun in schools. Custer is one of only three that do — fewer than one percent of schools in a state that loves guns.