Real Talk: Gun control, violence, campus carry
SMU’s Multicultural Student Affairs hosted the first Real Talk of the semester on Tuesday, focusing on the topic of gun control.
Real Talk is a series hosted to “bring perspective from every aisle into a safe space,” said Steven Johnson, assistant director of Multicultural Student Affairs.
In light of the recently Texas-passed Senate Bill 11, otherwise known as “Campus Carry,” and gun control discussions dominating the 2016 presidential elections, the question, “Does gun control infringe on the right to keep and bear arms?” introduced the discussion.
Overwhelmingly, students answered that no, gun control does not infringe on the second amendment.
“The right to bear arms still exists with or without additional regulation,” said Melanie Johnson.
“Just because something is written, in this case, as an amendment…doesn’t mean it is blanket,” said Meron Metaferra, motioning at the need for regulation.
Much of the demand for gun control arises from the weapon’s connotation with violence—a word standing in the pejorative. “In what ways can we work as a society to reduce the violence associated with guns?” asked Steven Johnson.
“The definition of a gun is a weapon. There is no other purpose in it but to harm,” said Melanie Johnson.
Also noted was the association of mental illness with gun violence.
“We cannot use mental illness…as an excuse,” said Aabid Shiuji.
Mental illness associated with gun violence is “a stigma from the media,” said Victoria Lejune.
“Perpetrators often use mental illness [as an excuse] to get off,” said Johnson.
The most resounding theme was safety.
“I don’t think I’ve been told anything about guns,” said one student, stressing gun safety.
The same topic of safety dominated the discussion of campus carry as it applies to SMU’s campus.
Much agreement sounded around President Turner’s decision to prohibit open carry on campus, yet some students still question the decision.
“I would rather go to school in a place where only certain people are allowed to have guns,” said one student. “For the reason of violence on campus, especially sexual violence, I do not think a well-trained, practiced, sober, and steady girl should be denied the right to bear arms in certain situations.”
Controversy in the arena of gun control only reflects the paradox of guns as they contribute to violence in modern day society; while they ensure safety, they also strip it away.