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Bozeman elementary students distribute gun locks for Destination Imagination challenge

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jan 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-21 23:54:09-05

BOZEMAN – A group of students decided they were going to make a difference in Bozeman on their day off from school on Monday.

It was a perfect day to hit the slopes, but a few fifth graders from Irving Elementary School had something else in mind.

While many kids spend their days off from school sleeping in or maybe having a playdate with another child, five students were at Bridger Bowl handing out gun locks, for free, as part of a Destination Imagination challenge.

Destination Imagination (D.I.) is a student-led group where participants complete a particular challenge. The students decided to tackle a service learning challenge.

After brainstorming, the team came up with the idea to distribute gun locks to the community.

“Because we talked to our community leaders, like the police department and Chief Crawford, and all of them said a big problem in our communities were accidental deaths from guns,” said Irving Elementary student Laila Nelson.

Parent and D.I. coach John Montoya added, “To have them actually take the initiative to go out and find where they could actually source these gun locks, and then figure out a way to get them out into our community has been really great to watch them learn along the way. And also now that they’re getting to hand them out, they’re just giddy about it.”

The challenge must have a lasting impact on the community, and the team plans to do just that.

“You know, we live in Montana and a lot of us do a lot of outdoor activities, and hunting is one of those,” Montoya said. “There are a lot of unsecured guns in our community, and I think it’s a part of our culture here in Montana, and we just want to make that a little safer for everybody because we do have a handful of accidental deaths in our state and our community every year, and if we can prevent just one it would be great.”

The team also found out during its research that anyone can get a gun lock for free at the health, fire or police departments in Bozeman. They said that’s something of which many community members are unaware.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News