On Wednesday, dozens of students in Colorado staged a pro-gun “standup” at a high school near Colorado Springs.
Students held a moment of silence for victims of school shootings, gave speeches and engaged in several rounds of “U-S-A” chants. One student greeted attendees, “Hello community of Woodland Park and supporters of firearms, the Second Amendment, and the Constitution as a whole.” Participants waved “Don’t Tread on me” flags, and “Blue Lives Matter” American flags, and after about 30 minutes, returned to school.
One student organizer told KKTV that a good way to discourage potential school shooters was “arming better people with more guns.”
Thursday morning, Fox & Friends applauded the students in a brief story, sourced from the local Fox affiliate, about the protest that began: “Students in Colorado turn the table on anti-gun protests by holding a pro-gun rally.”
"I don't believe that guns are the problem."
Colorado students hold pro-gun rally. pic.twitter.com/kVvTYNGdid
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 5, 2018
Two students were interviewed in the clip, arguing for a focus on people rather than guns, and also for armed security at schools to prevent shootings.
The print version of the Fox News story begins, “High school students in Colorado feeling silenced by the many pro-gun control rallies across the nation following the Florida school shooting decided to hold a walkout supporting the Second Amendment.”
The conservative Daily Caller wrote about the rally, noting that “the establishment media curiously isn’t giving this as much coverage as the many anti-gun rallies across the country.” Other right-wing Facebook groups boosted the rally.
One of the students’ parents, Michael Podemski, owns a gun shop in Woodland Park and said he was “proud” of the students at the rally.
A major criticism of the NRA’s strong advocacy of providing more guns to teachers and security personnel is that the gun rights group gets a large amount of its funding from the gun industry, which has a vested interest in more people buying more guns.
The Woodland Park protest was both an explicit and implicit reaction against the groundswell of protests against gun violence. Many thousands of students participated in walkouts in an estimated 2,800 schools nationwide on March 14, all protesting congressional inaction on gun violence. The March For Our Lives last month drew hundreds of thousands of people to 800 rallies across the globe calling for congressional action and mass voter registration. Movements like 50 Miles More continue the fight for common-sense gun control.
Woodland Park participated in the March 14 walkout to honor the Parkland school shooting victims and protest gun violence, and video of the event shows a very similar sized crowd in front of the school on that day. It was not covered on Fox News.
Still, Fox News and other conservative media dismissed massive events like March For Our Lives as confused and disorganized. Fox said in an opinion piece that the school walkouts on gun violence had demonstrated that students can’t think for themselves. None of these criticisms were applied to students engaging in the same conducting opposition to gun control.
Otherwise, while the mass student-led walkouts on March 14 earned widespread coverage from most outlets, Fox News largely ignored it.
In February, school officials increased security measures at Woodland Park High School after someone made a threat on a bathroom stall in graffiti to “shoot up the whole school.” The school district closed for a day and the person who made the threat has not been publicly identified.