March For Our Lives protest in Edwards draws a crowd |

March For Our Lives protest in Edwards draws a crowd

Local event mirrors similar rallies across the country calling for common-sense gun reform

Residents gather Saturday in Edwards to protest gun violence on a day where similar March For Our Lives rallies took place across the country. | Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The main Edwards roundabout was awash in orange Saturday morning as dozens of protesters for the locally organized March For Our Lives event showed up in orange T-shirts and handmade signs to rally against gun violence and support tighter gun legislation across the country. March For Our Lives rallies have been sweeping the nation in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting on May 24, when a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

A number of protestors attended Saturday’s rally in Edwards accompanied by their school-aged children, many of whom held up signs of their own asking for protection from guns. A number of kids climbed to the top of the Edwards Riverwalk sign, holding up signs written in crayon on pizza boxes and chanting “protect kids” and “don’t kill us” above the crowd.

Children hold up handmade signs saying “change the laws for kids” and “protect kids” at the rally on Saturday. | Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

The chant “enough is enough” sounded out multiple times at the roundabout, and many protesters expressed frustration with the lack of action on gun regulation as mass shootings continue to mount across the country.

Erika Buttner, who attended the protest with her daughter, is from Littleton, the town where the Columbine High School mass shooting took place in 1999.

​​”I was 19 when Columbine happened, I was a freshman in college,” Buttner said. “I didn’t go to Columbine, but I had friends who went there, and I thought at the time, s—, this is not good, but things will change, because so many children died, right? Now, 20-plus years later, we’re still here with thousands and thousands more deaths. It’s frustrating, and now that I have a small human who I drop off at school every day, it’s scary. I’m scared. I don’t want her to not come home from school one day.”

People hold up signs for passing cars during Saturday’s March For Our Lives protest against gun violence at the main roundabout in Edwards. | Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Buttner’s sign and a number of others drew parallels between the March For Our Lives rally and the reproductive rights rally that took place in the same location a few weeks ago, lamenting that the female reproductive system is more tightly regulated than gun ownership in the United States.

Erika Buttner and her daughter hold up their signs at Saturday’s March For Our Lives rally. | Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily

The Eagle County Democrats organized the March For Our Lives rally. Jennifer Filipowski, the chair of the organization, said the goal is to advocate for common sense gun laws moving into the 2022 midterm elections.

“Most Americans want sensible gun legislation that puts more requirements and laws around making it harder to acquire those kinds of weapons of mass destruction, and also putting rules around things like having to get licensed, having to have insurance, better tracking of those guns to make sure that we know at all times who has them and why they have them,” Filipowski said. “What is important to some people is owning guns, and we’re not trying to take people’s guns away. We’re just saying we need to be a lot more responsible about it, and have measures in place that make it harder, especially for people who are younger, to get automatic weapons.”

The protest received mixed responses from passing cars and pedestrians. Some honked in support, but the majority remained silent, even when actively prompted by protesters to “honk if children’s lives matter more than guns.” A few passersby engaged in a heated debate with protesters, arguing that regulating guns will not keep them out of the hands of criminals and advocating for Second Amendment rights.

Cathay Grabowski is the head of the local Moms Demand Action chapter in Eagle County, and said that the group will be organizing throughout the summer and encouraged anyone who wants to participate to learn and connect through

“We’re going to start getting together in the summer, possibly setting up informational booths at the farmer’s markets, and then of course we’ll hit it hard and heavy in September for the election,” Grabowski said.

In general, protesters had their sights set on encouraging legislative reform in the coming year, and shared a hope that massacres like the recent mass shooting at Uvalde will spur action among legislators across the country.

“I’m tired of seeing children die,” protester Jon Sharkus said. “Guns are a high priority in this, and I’d like to see the silence end.”

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