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The paradox that is gun policy

by Imani Coaxum - Staff Writer
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 12:00 pm

 

Kristin Goss came to The College at Brockport to discuss continuities and changes involving gun politics and policy On Monday, Feb. 12. With all of the attention on the recent school shooting in Florida, the event served as a way to bring awareness to gun politics and policy. 

Goss said there is a moment of awareness and grief given in respect to victims, until the tragedy is forgotten and another mass shooting takes place. Goss is saying that gun politics are only ever mentioned when a mass shooting occurs, so the problem is it’s never really being dealt with. 

“Gun politics has a ‘Groundhog Day’ feel to it,” Goss said, using the 1993 film as a comparison.

There have been numerous accounts of the deadliest mass shootings that have taken place over the last 20 years. This statistic relates to the accessibility of guns.

One of the first deadly mass shootings to occur over recent years is the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. There was a series of weapons used, but guns were the most prominent. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their school on April 20, 1999, and murdered 13 of their peers and teachers before killing themselves. The boys accumulated the weapons on their own. This mass shooting, as all do, sparked a debate over gun control. How did two teenage boys get access to several guns?  Goss went on to discuss the debate of the presence of guns on public campuses. 

According to Goss, public college campuses are either “severely restricted or set at their own discretion,” when it comes to whether or not guns are allowed.

She added that 18 states have “occasional possession” of guns. Occasional can mean many things, including the placement of a weapon in the wrong hands. 

She also brought up the “campus carry campaign,” a movement to allow guns on college campuses. It was established around the time of the Virginia Tech shooting. In this 2007 shooting, a student began to open fire on campus and killed 32 people, both peers and professors. 

This sparked the movement to allow guns on campus as long as the owners have concealed-carry permits. A few of these states that allow guns on their public campuses are Colorado, Texas, Utah and Mississippi. 

Goss also covered continuities of gun culture in regards to the pro-gun regulation side of the debate. One social change was that victims’ families are becoming more connected in the time of their grief. They are even starting Facebook groups and pages to come together and tackle the gun debate. 

Groups of mothers are especially taking a stand and fighting to get their voices heard. Two organizations came out of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, one being S.H.O.P, Sandy Hook Promise. The organization’s mission is to train everyone, including children, to recognize signs of gun violence. 

Goss’ lecture could not have taken place at a more relevant time, only two days before the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 18, had murdered 17 people the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 14. Too many guns have fallen into the hands of the wrong people, Goss said, asking, “Is it true that nothing ever changes in this world?” 

 

icoax1@brockport.edu   

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