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Grapengeter-Rudnick ’17: Students for sense and safety

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Opinions Columnist

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, at least 62 schools have experienced shootings on their campuses. I bet no students at any of these victimized schools ever thought it would occur on their campus, a sentiment that is naturally shared. We, as students, suffer from the common It-Will-Never-Happen-To-Me Syndrome. The problem is: What if it actually does happen to you?

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed a compromise to this problem concerning gun “sense” that should be of particular interest to those looking to maximize their safety on, say, a college campus, as it stresses common sense. Common sense here means reaching an equilibrium concerning gun control by maximizing the safety of American citizens while not completely appeasing either side of the argument. This equilibrium is what students should be endeavoring to achieve at the moment.

Bloomberg’s campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, intends to put measures into play that don’t completely restrict usage of guns, but place a commonsensical cap on it. This effort is the first in history to be supported by such a plethora of citizens — teachers, gun owners, mayors, survivors, moms, government officials and plain responsible individuals — indicating its universality.

Everytown strives to rid background checks of all loopholes by vanquishing private gun sales and accurately updating the background check system. The results of such a change would include an amelioration of domestic violence, given that 38 percent fewer women are fatally shot by partners in states that require more thorough background checks.

Other objectives of Everytown include educating parents on the issue — in hopes that they will be compelled to safely lock up and hide their weapons from their children — and granting law enforcement officials the abilities they need to prosecute illegal gun trafficking.

One of Bloomberg’s main pitches about the campaign is particularly commendable: Everytown is meant to be a step toward safety that still abides by the Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms, thereby making it easy to be widely supported. It does not strictly require people to take a resolute position; rather, it asks them to be more conscious about safety and be cognizant of the bleak fact that gun violence can occur anywhere. It is imperative that we preemptively maximize safety on our campuses.

Mothers nationwide are also showing their support and concern for their children’s safety through a campaign dubbed “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” Originating as a budding Facebook group seeking followers, this band of mothers has quickly grown and evolved to become a full-blown organization that has opted for an attainable means of promoting common sense and general safety through its own campaigns.

The Moms Demand Action organization has already successfully accomplished a campaign toward promoting gun sense. As a first palpable step in creating a safer environment for younger generations, Moms Demand Action persuaded Facebook to make various reforms, such as censoring postings concerning illegal gun sales.

Additionally and most notably, Moms Demand Action has joined with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to become a partner in the Everytown campaign, where it will no doubt achieve some form of influence.

The significance of their success to students? It is entirely within our reach to improve safety on our own campuses through movements like this. Shouldn’t students be mobilizing to put an emphasis on our safety?

I am not asking each individual to take a steadfast position on the issue of gun sense. It is not necessary to be explicitly pro- or anti-gun in order to be concerned about personal and campus-wide safety.

Students need to advocate safety and gun sense in order to protect their own campuses. The most effective way of going about this would be supporting the Everytown for Gun Safety campaign — individually or in a collective movement — as it is the most feasible solution.

Easy access to networking makes it possible for modern students to make a movement on their own for the benefit of their safety. Moms Demand Action successfully did this through Facebook. Other organizations such as “Texas Gun Sense” have used Facebook as a channel to create groups for advertising their cause.

Peaceful protests occur nationwide, such as the Empty Holster Protest, where students go to class with empty holsters, distribute pamphlets and hold public debates or speeches. This engages their community to raise awareness and effect change.

Students can participate in similar movements by integrating Everytown’s compromise solutions. We should be spreading the word through such actions — on Facebook or via peaceful demonstrations — as it is in our direct interest to keep our campuses safe. You don’t need to take a side on this issue to support Everytown for Gun Safety, nor do you need to have a selected stance in order to strive for maximum safety on your campus.

Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick ’17 can be reached at gunsense@safer.com.

  • Sydney

    Hi Megan,
    Do you want to become involved with the RI Coalition Against Gun Violence? We can talk about ways to get Brown students involved.
    Thank you,
    Sydney