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Statistics show gun violence rising in Maryland

  • Published in State

Gun ViolenceWith a renewed push to enact gun control legislation taking this place last weekend in Washington, some state politicians are saying Maryland could serve as model of gun control reform for the nation.

Since the murder of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, students and gun control advocates have staged walkouts and protest marches in hopes of pressuring Congress to enact new gun control laws such as banning assault weapons which Maryland did through its legislation in 2013.

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Hundreds attend Raskin pre-rally

  • Published in Local

postersPosters at the Silver Spring Civic Center PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKHundreds of people, ranging in age from those too young to walk to Dr. Anne Riley who described herself as “83 years old and still marching,” packed the Silver Spring Civic Center Saturday morning for pre-rally event prior to the national March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C. 

The event, led by U.S Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), offered attendees a chance to gear up for the day’s march. Those who preregistered and paid $20 left the 90-minute rally and climbed aboard one of more than 25 buses that took them to the march in D.C.

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Don't Shoot!

  • Published in Local

Hundreds of thousands show up to encourage increased restrictions on firearms

Mothers across the country showed up in D.C. to protest and demand greater gun control after recent shootings at several schools, including a high school in Maryland. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKMothers across the country showed up in D.C. to protest and demand greater gun control after recent shootings at several schools, including a high school in Maryland. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of thousands of students made their voices heard in the nation’s capital Saturday to demand action on gun control from the nation’s policymakers, in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.

“We stand at a moment when our nation’s laws are guided not by what is right or wrong, not by what is morally sound for the many, but is instead limited by the insatiable greed of a few,” said Matt Post, one of the speakers at the event and student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “In their greed, the gun lobby and their politicians have tried to deflect and distract us, they’ve tried to twist what is so clearly a gun issue into anything else but we won’t fall for it.”

Hundreds of thousands of attendees – which included both students and adults – urged that their elected officials take legislative steps in an effort to curb mass shootings.

“Use efficient regulation that doesn’t make any exception, close the cracks and loopholes with thorough background checks and psychological evaluation, protect our schools like we do our other government establishments, use security protocol methods that are efficient, and one more request: listen,” said Sam Fuentes, a survivor of the Feb 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida., speaking from the stage.

Students traveled to the event from around the region.

“I’m protesting the fact that our government is doing nothing to help keep us safe and help us feel safe, it’s not fair,” said 14-year-old Emma Goodman from Silver Spring. “I’m proud of my generation because we’re speaking up … a lot of us are too young to vote but we’re still making a difference.”

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Four local religious communities take part in interfaith rally prior to march

  • Published in Local

Three hundred people from three churches and one synagogue in Bethesda gathered Friday night for song, prayer, camaraderie and a Mexican dinner on the eve of Saturday’s March For Our Lives.

Members of Congregation Beth El, Bethesda United Methodist Church, Saint Mark Presbyterian Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church, who most recently joined together in an interfaith gathering following the suicides of two area high school students, reunited for Friday night’s interfaith event to talk about their feelings on gun control and school safety as well as make friends and find ways to get to the march demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Greg Harris of Congregation Beth El explained that participants came “to advocate together. This is the essence of what it means to be a resilient community.”

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Montgomery County residents participate in national March For Our Lives

  • Published in Local

Local students and teachers were among the thousands of people participating in the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C.  PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZMontgomery County students and teachers were among the thousands of people participating in the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Parents, children, students, and teachers from all over Montgomery County rallied at the nation’s capital for the countrywide March For Our Lives demonstration in response to the increasing outbreaks of gun violence across the United States and calling for more attention to current gun control issues.

“I am marching today to proclaim that the culture of violence must be over and that assault weapons need to be banned. I want my daughter and their whole generation [to know] no matter what race you are, what class you are, our society deserves safety,” said Kolya Braun-Greiner, a 62-year-old Takoma Park resident, whose daughter currently attends The Siena School in Silver Spring. Braun-Greiner wants kids “to be able to walk the streets, to be able to go to school, to study with the freedom that they are not going to be shot down. All of this needs to stop, we have to put an end to the gun violence.”

While plenty of adults were present, young people attended the march in vast numbers. Students from various Montgomery County high schools participated in events including attendance of a pre-rally by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and speaking at the march.

“Montgomery County kids have definitely been a huge part of this,” said Elana Tobb, 17, a senior at Sherwood High School. “This is the first time that I think our county has really been involved in a [leadership] position with something like this.”

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Takoma Park votes to condemn gun violence

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City council voted to condemn acts of gun violence and to support the planned March 24 national “March for Our Lives” demonstration in a 6-1 vote, Wednesday evening.

“As a council … I felt like we really needed to support our young people and wanted a lot of the voices we’re hearing standing up,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3), who sponsored the resolution.

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B-CC students organize gun violence forum

  • Published in Local

B CC ForumSen. Chris Van Hollen met with students Sophie Cobb, Gabriela Jeliazkov and Julien Cary at a forum at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss gun violence. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYWASHINGTON Members of Congress joined three Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students Tuesday at a forum on gun violence, continuing the student-led debate over guns after a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and giving the students another opportunity to take their issues to those in power.

“I had my opinion and I had my beliefs and, obviously, I felt very discouraged by the recent presidential election, but definitely I’m seeing that we do have the power to make a difference because prior, I think, I just felt helpless,” said Sophie Cobb, a B-CC senior who helped organize the event with two fellow students, Julien Cary and Gabriela Jeliazkov

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MoCo students create organization for gun control

  • Published in Local

MoCo Gun ControlStudents from several high schools meet to talk about controlling access to handguns. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZIt started with a text message from a friend.

Dani Miller, a 17-year-old junior at Winston Churchill High School, looked down at her phone and saw that a friend from Springbrook High School had just added her to a group text chain with two other Springbrook students. Miller quickly added 17-year-old Montgomery Blair High School senior Brenna Levitan, who added some of her friends, who added their friends, who would add theirs, and so on.

Before long, the exponentially-growing group included students from 22 schools across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia who began meeting frequently at places like Rockville Town Center and the Silver Spring library.

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Local students march on Washington

  • Published in Local

Students march on CapitolStudents march on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZWASHINGTON, D.C.Thousands of students walked out of their high schools today in the Washington D.C. area. Students first walked out of their high schools, marched towards the nearest metro stops, rallied at the White House, and then finished their protest at the United States Capitol. 

"I protested today because I know there are a lot of students, children, and people who feel unsafe in their school," said Honor Kalala, 17, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School and one of the student leaders today. "It's not only about kids in school; it's about people on the street. I’m just not okay with it!" she said.

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MCPS prepared with mental health response to gun violence

  • Published in Local

MCPS logoIn response to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. which left 17 students dead, mental health is a major concern within the public school community. 

Montgomery County Public Schools is taking a proactive approach to intervene early to prevent similar events from taking place, according to spokesperson Melissa Rivera. 

Within each school, MCPS relies on teachers and school psychologists to interact with students and initiate conversations about violence. 

“We try to help the psychologists to understand how to work with the students and how to talk with them about violence situations that occur,” said Dr. Christina Conolly.

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