Where gun heritage runs deep, Vermont students focus on safety

Mar 22, 2018 by

ST. ALBANS – Teens in a rural Vermont county where hunting is a popular pastime have built a diverse coalition of activists by adapting the national student-led walkout movement to focus on gun safety rather than federal gun reform.

“We wanted to serve as a unified group,” Bellows Free Academy senior Sophie Venturo said about her group’s decision to be inclusive of all political backgrounds. “Our right to safety is universal. It’s not a debate.”

About 46 percent of Vermonters own guns compared to the national average of 37 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent report based on 2002 data. The national average shows a small decline since then, based on 2012 data released by The Pew Research Center that places national gun ownership percent at 34 percent.

Venturo and her peers organized their walkout in the Vermont’s sparsely populated Franklin County that sits west of Green Mountains and the Long Trail and just south of the Canadian border. St. Albans residents were the No. 2 purchasers of hunting licences in the state, according to a 2014 report by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Source: Where gun heritage runs deep, Vermont students focus on safety

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