MISSOULA - A Missoula teen says she didn't attend a public meeting expecting to get a one-on-one with U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, but she's not satisfied with his answers about what he'll do on gun violence.
Beatrice and her mother, Erin Erickson, attended a Missoula City Club event to hear from Sen. Daines in person.
Beatrice, who turns 15 on Saturday, tells ABC FOX Montana that after the event she decided to approach the senator and ask Daines what he was going to do to address gun violence. Her mother captured a photo of the meeting.
"So I went up with my mom, and I asked him a few things about gun control and gun safety," Beatrice says. "We don’t get that many opportunities to talk with him in person here in Montana so I wanted to have a conversation with him."
She says Daines responded by suggesting that she get together with classmates to come up with solutions to present to his office. She's not satisfied with that response, pointing out that he is the elected official with power to make legislation.
"I’d like Daines to contact the NRA and make change for the state of Montana," Beatrice says.
Beatrice says she wasn't very interested in activism until a lockdown at Sentinel High School, when her class huddled in a dark locker room for hours during a security scare in January.
"It made me more aware of, this is real, it happens everywhere, including small towns," she says. "I don’t think [school lockdowns] should be the norm."
Beatrice's mother, Erin Erickson, says she didn't expect her daughter to approach the senator, nor for the encounter to last a few minutes.
Erickson says her daughter hunts and shoots trap, and is well-versed in gun safety - but the new era of mass shootings is especially frightening for kids to grow up in.
"For the kids, every time there’s a mass shooting, that underlying fear crops up," Erickson says. "They don’t have any assurance on safety. She wanted to talk with her senator about that."
The Republican senator has campaigned on a pro-gun rights, pro-Second Amendment stance.
When asked for a comment on gun violence, a representative for Daines says he appeared at the Missoula City Club event to speak in front of 200-plus Montanans on a variety of issues, including veterans affairs, public lands, and gun violence.
His office points out that he was also a cosponsor of the 2018 Stop School Violence Act, which provides grants to schools for security upgrades.
Daines' office provided this statement from the senator:
“As a nation, we must come together, Republicans and Democrats, and get to the root of what caused these two very sick men to commit these evil acts and identity solutions that will actually reduce acts of domestic terrorism and preserve our freedoms.”