Students on gun control

Richard Decker
Staff Writer

COURTESY OF THETRACE.ORG

The Las Vegas shooting at the ‘Route 91’ music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Oct. 1 left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded. It was the country’s deadliest mass shooting, surpassing the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting death toll of 49.

Just 35 days later, on Nov. 5, 26 people were killed by a gunman at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This act of terror became the country’s fifth-deadliest mass shooting.

In the wake of these tragedies, the country is left debating the topic of gun control legislation, and this debate has reached the community of Hudson Valley.

Gun control has been widely debated in both federal and state congress. New York State has taken a strong stance against civilian use of what may be viewed as militarized weaponry (such as AR-15s) with certain stock restrictions and the removal of pistol grips on certain weapons.

“In New York, the gun laws have become so strict [that] they are impossible to enforce. My father’s business is right next to a gun and ammo store, and right before the NY Safe Act [New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013] passed, the place was selling like crazy,” said Garrett Moss, a sophomore political science student.

However, even considering the rights granted by the Second Amendment, some students believe the potential consequences of gun ownership outweigh the need for deadly weapons.

“I think there should be [stricter] gun control because there are more suicides and unintentional shootings than there are justifiable reasons for owning guns as self-defense [weapons],” said Catherine Johnson, a sophomore marketing major.

Emily Nappi, a sophomore biology student, also believes the heavy presence of guns in America has far more consequences than justifications.

“I come from a family that owns guns, I have been hunting before, I have used a gun, but I do not see the appeal. I understand it for sport, that’s fine. However, at the same time when American has 90 percent of the world’s shootings, I can’t stand behind it; not when I have two little brothers that go to [public] school that I now must worry about,” she stated.

Furthermore, Nappi believes modern gun reform needs to reevaluate what weapons civilians can legally own.

“The rules are too loose, too many people get access to guns too easily,” said Nappi.
“I’m not that well-versed in guns, but anything that is high-powered and is capable of releasing a lot of rounds at once [should be taken] away,” she said. “They should not be legal for a civilian to own.”

Countless mass shootings have occurred in the last decade alone. Despite recent tragedies, like the Sandy Hook shooting, which claimed 20 lives, many of which were elementary children, gun reform remains stagnant.

Mario Mascaro, a second-year political science student, said, “As with many other political issues now, the loudest voices in the room represent the most extreme positions. We need adults in the room who are going to be able to craft common-sense legislation to address the very real problems.”

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