Gun control not highest priority
Posted March 28, 2008

There are countless political topics on the table for the 2008 election that aim to redirect or solve current American issues. Of these issues, many stem from global problems of the country regarding war, economics and immigration.

While these are causes in dire need of resolution, the political battle seems to lack focus on another increasingly troublesome issue in America: gun control, particularly with relevance to school shootings.

The five remaining candidates do consider gun control important, however, it is not a subject that voters automatically associate with a particular candidate.

Many voters in the La Verne community chose their candidate regardless of their opinions on gun control.

“Neither party has discussed gun control. It’s not a hot topic in the election yet,” said Michael Nunez, director of campus safety.

Even those who briefly skim the newspaper might notice the increase in school shootings, so why aren’t candidates openly discussing the on-going gun ownership debate?

“Even if a candidate is pro gun control, they won’t bring it up because they need all the votes they can get. They’ll talk about it when the question of ‘who’s protecting the students’ arises,” Campus Safety Officer Gary Olivas
said.

According to CNN, the candidates do address gun ownership, which is only evident after doing a small amount of searching.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama support extending the assault weapon ban as well as limiting gun sales to one per month.

Clinton also wants the age of handgun possession raised to 21 years old from the current age of 18 years old.

Democrat Mike Gravel believes in increased training for gun owners.
CNN also explains that Republicans John McCain and Ron Paul idealize looser regulations on gun control, and only discuss background check timeframes before gun shows.

Regardless of Democrat or Republican viewpoints on gun ownership, the only political connection current voters have to the issue lies in their desire to retain rights of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

Sophomore Branden Hall, who is pro gun ownership, explains that despite the lack of gun control as a dominating issue in politics, bearing arms is a right to protect.

“I’m not voting on any specific person because of their views on gun control, but I’ll vote against them if they try to take away our right to own guns,” Hall said.

Campus Safety officers, though not permitted to carry weapons in a private school, also agree that the right to bear arms is important to our country as well as our safety.

“People should always be protected of the right to bear arms, providing they are not ex-villains or any other people who fall under law specifications which prevent them from doing so,” Olivas said.

Olivas also said that even if gun possession was restricted, people would still be able to obtain them.

“They just won’t register the guns. If someone wants a gun, there are ways to get one,” Olivas said.

Since the issue of gun control always seems to be undecided, some schools have taken safety precautions for those who still may possess legal or illegal weapons.

Many high schools have adopted metal detectors as a means to protect the students and teachers, but this method is impractical for widespread, campus-based institutions such as La Verne.

“There is no central way to install metal detectors on campus. They provide a false sense of security,” Nunez said.

From a security standpoint, ULV is currently doing all it can do to prevent a shooting episode. At the same time, Olivas reminds us that tragedy can happen anywhere, on any campus.

“Can we do what we can to provide a safe environment? Absolutely. Can one control everything? It’s almost impossible,” Olivas said.

Lesley Michaels can be reached at lmichaels@ulv.edu.

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