By Shannon O’Brien/reporter
The debate over guns has polarized America, and TCC students are no different.
But they seem to agree on one thing: having more respect for their fellow humans.
NW student Christian Morrow said her family was opposed to guns when she was growing up. As she’s gotten older and become a single mother, she has come to understand why some people want to own a gun. It is a matter of protecting herself and the ones she loves, she said.
“I don’t believe guns are the problem nor should the laws be any stricter,” Morrow said. “People will still find ways to get guns even with stricter laws. The only change that would work is if everyone treated people better.”
NE student government association treasurer Dylan Winkler grew up with family members on both sides of the gun control debate.
“It’s a cultural issue,” Winkler said. “People have to understand the consequences of their actions and just overall respect people more.”
It’s not a matter of how many guns there are or what types of guns there are, Winkler said. People have to start understanding the responsibility that comes with such a weapon.
When it comes to teachers being armed on campus, Winkler said he is skeptical.
“I believe schools should be a safe zone. It should be a gun-free zone,” he said. “We aren’t going to fix the gun control issue with more guns.”
Juan Rodrick, NE and South student, was around guns in his childhood and personally owns a few but draws the line at having them at school.
“I don’t think teachers being armed on campus is a good solution,” Rodrick said. “That portrays them to look like we have something to be afraid of. Now every time we go in class, almost like we would be walking on eggshells, not comfortable enough to learn.”
In February, students who fell victim to gun violence in schools didn’t receive the stricter gun laws they wanted from elected officials.
But large companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s listened to public outcry and stopped selling assault-style rifles at their stores. Stores like Walmart and Kroger are also raising the minimum age for gun buyers to 21.
Jessie Penny, NE student in the Vegan Outreach program, said she came from a family where she was around guns due to hunting in the mountains but believes there should be more regulations and a mental screening for gun owners.
“I think we need to start worrying more about the people in possession of guns and not the gun itself,” Penny said. “Guns don’t shoot without a person behind the trigger.”
Enhancing background checks and introducing new mental health evaluations required to own a gun could be a solution, she said.
“More deaths from cars and alcohol happen than gun-related,” Penny said. “You don’t see people saying we need to ban cars.”
South student Kathryn Lehri said she grew up around guns but was always taught to be cautious around them.
She believes there should be more regulations but that it is also too controversial for a real solution right now.
“Education about it is the most important thing,” Lehri said. “We have to teach the younger generation the true use of it and educate them on the consequences of it as well. The more aware people are of the impacts, the more we can help reduce these tragedies.”