Guns In The Big Sky

First Aired Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Montana Public Media project including a documentary about the culture of guns in the state and a Town Hall Meeting discussing how to keep Montana's schools safe.


Montana's Gun Culture (No. 101)

From ranchers who use guns to manage their livestock to survivors of a 1986 Montana school shooting, this program explores the role of guns in Montana's culture. In Montana, women in isolated, rural areas carry weapons to protect their families and 12-year-olds learn gun safety and hunt for food. But there's also a dark side to the gun culture. Crimes, violence and even school shootings in our state are also examined. This documentary is the most recent edition of a 26-year long tradition of films produced by the students of The University of Montana School of Journalism.

Entering the world of a gun show may seem like making a trip to a foreign land. But for many Montanans, guns are a way of life, a tool necessary for the rural lifestyle. “Montana’s Gun Culture” explores the many ways Montanans use guns and their relationships with firearms.

In the program, you’ll see how ranchers need guns to manage their livestock. You’ll meet women in rural Montana who carry weapons to protect themselves and their families when law enforcement may be an hour or more away. You’ll visit a hunter’s education class, where twelve-year-olds are practicing gun safety before heading out with their parents and grandparents to harvest animals for food.

But there’s a dark side to the gun culture as well. Guns are used to commit crimes and to do violence against other people. You’ll meet the survivors of a school shooting in Montana in 1986 and go behind prison walls to hear from the boy, now a man, who did the shooting.

Opinions about gun control range from support of an outright ban on firearms to opposition of any regulation at all. You’ll hear from them all in “Montana’s Gun Culture.”

Keeping Schools Safe, A Town Hall Meeting (No. 102)

MontanaPBS concludes its special series Guns in the Big Sky with a live forum on school safety. This program brings the conversation of gun regulation, sparked by the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, to Montana schools. Can gun regulation play a role in school safety? What options might make our schools safer? (First Aired Thursday, May 23, 2013)