In the aftermath of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. that resulted in the deaths of 26 people, including 20 children, national attention has turned to gun control. At Eastern Michigan University, students have mixed beliefs on gun control.
EMU student Sindhusha Sanga said, “I think the government should have a better, stricter policy on guns. Schools should be the safest place, so the parents can be relaxed when their kids go to school. It can happen anywhere. People can carry a gun if they have a license; they can carry a gun.”
Among legislation being discussed are possible bans on high capacity magazines, improved public gun safety information and more research on gun violence in video games.
Chris Gaskil, a criminal justice major at EMU, believes some of the legislation won’t fix the problem, including possible assault rifle bans.
“Assault rifle is a bad name,” Gaskil said. “They are semi-automatic rifles. They shoot how fast you can pull the trigger. I have seen people that can take a shotgun, a pump shotgun, and shoot it faster than a semi-automatic. It’s not accurate, but neither is a semi-auto. With machine pistols, it’s easier to get a hold of, it shoots just as fast and is easier to reload.”
Patrick Gonsior, a creative writing major, also pointed out Connecticut already had an assault rifle ban.
Not everyone at EMU thought guns were the main problem; several other students had ideas.
“I think that they should’ve been looking into helping the actual shooter,” freshman Destiny Allen said. “He could’ve had mental health problems. We should be focusing on gun control and helping people with depression.”
Raven Dugan, an electronic media major, believes part of the solution is enforcing existing gun legislation.
“There should be harsher punishment for people who aren’t legal with guns,” she said.
Gaskil said, “About this assault rifle ban the government is trying to pass, they had this ban in before. People still got assault rifles, after the ban lifted. You had to have a background check to buy an assault rifle. They’re quite a bit more expensive; not many people are going to buy them and they’re going to be used in so few cases that it’s kind of a waste of government time. What I believe [the massacre] should result in instead of a ban on guns is a psychological evaluation before you can buy a gun. In some states that’s required, and I think that should definitely be federally required.”
Every student interviewed for this article said a new federal gun law would likely follow the Newtown massacre.
“I think they’ll try, but I don’t know how effective they’ll be,” Dugan said. “People make a way to do things they’re not supposed to.”
Jenna Chynoweth, an art major, believes too much time is being spent discussing gun control.
“I think they’re making too much of a deal of it,” she said. “There
are school shootings all over the United States, and most of the time it’s high school shootings. And I think they’re making a big deal of this because it’s children. Like, young children. And, you know, they’re trying to take away the guns now. And I think that if you want to kill someone, you’re gonna kill someone. You can kill someone with a fork. If you’re crazy, you’re gonna do it. It doesn’t matter.”
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