Cartoon guns

Gun control is arguably one of the hottest topics in the nation. As Americans, we live in a desensitized culture. Citizens across the country have formed several groups in effort to combat the issue. So far, there hasn’t been much change.

Two Northwest professors are looking to join a national movement through an organization focused on educating people about gun violence.

Assistant professor Jody Strauch and associate professor Jennifer Wall held a meeting Sept. 10 with representatives from Student Senate, Student Activities Council and Young Democrats to determine if there would be enough interest to start an organization called Students Demand Action.

Students Demand Action would be a subset of the national organization Everytown for Gun Safety. It would encourage those concerned about gun violence to talk to their elected leaders.

Having common sense discussions about gun safety and regulations is what will lead to a decrease in the percentage of deaths caused by firearms.

The primary issues the organization would discuss and the kind of legislation it would advocate for include background checks, domestic violence, gun violence trends, guns in public places, illegal gun trafficking, online gun sales, suicide, gun lobbyists and unintentional gun deaths.

The interest in the group is prominent and although the group is in its infant stages, there are obvious benefits to having a group such as this on campus.

It is entirely necessary to have conversations about gun safety. Nineteen percent of deaths in Missouri were caused by firearms in 2016 according to the CDC. Gun violence is the third leading cause of death of people younger than 18 and this year alone there have been 154 mass shootings.

Even though gun violence isn’t typically something we see in Maryville, it is still an important issue to be involved in regardless of one's stance on gun control.

It is important to see responsible gun owners involved in the conversation who regularly exercise their second amendment right. It is also important to see those who have never used a gun before involved. Both voices need to be heard and considered when we talk about gun control.

Guns aren’t evil, gun owners aren’t criminals. The more informed the public is about the topic of gun safety, the more likely people are to have informed conversations with their elected officials and make a change.

This group, if organized successfully, could foster an environment in which students from both sides of the debate could come together and talk about how to make campus and Missouri a safer place to live.

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