Students debate gun control in wake of mass shootings

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Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

In the wake of recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, students respectfully debated the divisive issue of gun control in Parlin Hall on Tuesday night.

At the discussion hosted by Texas Political Union, students offered opinions from across the ideological spectrum.

“It still baffles me how I can go to Academy and buy a gun, and it takes me less time than it takes to get a credit card or buy a pet,” government sophomore Camilla Kampmann said. “That scares me.”

Kampmann, who grew up handling guns, said most firearm purchases are well-intentioned, but not all. 

“You can go to a gun show and have no kind of background check whatsoever,” Kampmann said. “Is that something we find troubling, or is that something we’re fine with?”

Many students said criminals are among those who should not be able to purchase guns, but some were concerned that barring people from purchasing guns would be infringing on their rights.  

“We need to be specific when we talk about what kind of criminals should be barred from buying guns,” government senior Morgan Peavy, who defended the Second Amendment throughout the debate, said. “Speeding is a crime, and it’s irresponsible, but we don’t take away people’s cars when they do it.”

While other students said this was too extreme of an example, Peavy said he was trying to make a point about the impracticality of possible gun control measures.

“How effective is any gun control going to be if anyone can still get ahold of a gun?” Peavy said. “Any restrictions on guns are only effective insofar as we can actually implement them.”

For government junior Alex Walhein, Peavy’s argument was not enough of a reason to not have any gun control at all.

“We don’t have to take away everybody’s guns, but we can get rid of bump stocks, automatic weapons and assault weapons that kill massive amounts of people,” Walhein said.

Classics senior Daniel Orr said he does not believe the constitution granted every citizen the right to have a gun.

“The availability of guns in the United States is tantamount to the government aiding domestic terrorism,” Orr said. “We have been granted the ability to use firearms to defend ourselves … but I’m ashamed to admit that I have a less visceral reaction each time a shooting occurs.”