Pro Gun – Anti Gun Cultures Clash in Missoula [VIDEO] [AUDIO]
New York City Mayor Michael Blumberg's 'No More Names; National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence' bus tour came to the University of Montana campus on Thursday afternoon, and was met by an equal number of pro-gun supporters, many from the Montana Shooting Sports Association.
One of the chief speakers during the bus tour was Carlee Soto, 20, of Newtown, Connecticut, whose sister Victoria was shot and killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.
"Myself and other survivors come out and share our stories because we all share not only the grief of losing a loved one, but also the desire to want to change the gun laws to prevent anyone else from having to feel this horrific pain that we deal with every day," Soto said. "My family is broken, my parents lost their first child, and I lost my role model. I'll never be able to see my sister again, and our goal is to strengthen gun laws to prevent this from ever happening again."
Soto said she respects those who disagree with the purpose of the bus tour, but cites her own experience in response.
"I understand that some people view the subject differently than I do, and I respect their opinions," she said. "But, if you got the phone call that I did on December 14th, that there was a shooting in my sister's classroom, then you would feel differently about this subject."
Sister of Newtown shooting victim Carlee Soto
Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association was also at the 'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' event on Thursday. He had a different view of the effort to read the names of victims killed by gun violence at the bus tour event.
"They are reading the names of 6,000 people who have died from gun violence," Marbut said. "I submit that those are the names of 6,000 people who wished they had a gun so they could defend themselves."
Marbut said the bus tour and Mayor Blumberg's campaign is more than just promoting 'common sense' background checks.
"What they're talking about is just one step towards total gun confiscation," Marbut said. "what they want to do with this first step is to make it more difficult for you and me to own firearms. They have no plans to deal with criminals and criminal misuse of firearms. I hope they understand that the people of Montana don't tolerate outsiders coming in trying to force gun control on us."
Montana Shooting Sports Association President Gary Marbut
Former Ravalli County Sheriff Jay Printz joined the protesters at the bus tour event, and introduced himself with a favorite pro-gun slogan.
"It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun," Printz said. " I sued the federal government... and won. The case is called Printz vs. the United States. The Brady Law was passed and signed into law and I objected to it because it was an unfunded mandate and violated the 10th amendment and I said I ain't doin' it and I never did it, so I sued the federal government and I won the case."
When asked by a reporter why he came to protest the bus tour, Printz said, "I'm a good guy with a gun."
Former Ravalli County Sheriff Jay Printz