In the spring of 1994 I was pulled out of my last class before graduating from Columbia University School of Law. That afternoon I learned my 11-year old nephew had been shot and killed on a playground by another student in Butte, Montana. Jeremy Bullock was the unintended victim of what was, at the time, our nation’s youngest school yard shooting. I felt paralyzed.

Last fall on opening day of hunting season, my son shot his first deer. He was prepared. We practiced the fundamentals of fair chase and reinforced his hunter safety course. As it has been for generations of Montanans that came before, it was a moment he and I will never forget.

Both experiences shape my views of gun policy, as a policymaker and a parent.

After the tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas, I once again heard the concerns expressed by parents and students. And, like governors across this country, I once again ordered our flags be lowered to half-staff. In the five and a half years I have served as governor, it was the 13th time we as a nation have lowered our flags due to a mass shooting.

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