UWL Students Talk Gun Control

Karley Betzler, Staff Reporter

As of this morning, there have been 397 mass shootings in 2017 (Mass Shooting Tracker Organization). Following the Las Vegas shooting, the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, discussions of gun control ensued. While, according to Pew Research Center, 52% of U.S. adults say gun laws should be stricter, what do UWL students think? 

 Students when asked about gun control discussed the judgement that comes with speaking out about their beliefs.  

 UWL Sophomore Kara Gilmeister summed up her immediate reaction to hearing the term “gun control” in one word: “Politics.”   

 Gilmeister explained that when she shares her beliefs on these topics with others on campus, “there are many people who are very close-minded to this issue, regardless of where they stand on gun control. It’s hard to share these ideas when you know that people could very well just shut you down for your beliefs. It makes me not want to talk about it.” 

UWL Freshman Josh Wolfe responded with a similar train of thought, “When I hear the phrase gun control, I think theoretical laws that have nearly no chance to pass in a partisan and gridlocked congress controlled by gun lobbyists.”  

Wolfe also stated, “I don’t tend to talk with people on campus, or people in general, about these beliefs.” 

Students immediate thoughts on gun control seemed to reflect negativity and seemed to be pro-gun control. 

However, one UWL student, who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of being harshly judged for their views commented, “I think I have negative connotations associated with the phrase ‘gun control’. I think that gun control is, for the most part, a bad idea.”  

This anonymous student went on to say, “ I think that gun control puts a lot of the blame on legal gun owners rather than the people that are actually committing these terrible crimes with guns.” They also added, “Cracking down on gun laws and legal gun owners isn’t the right way to address this situation.”   

The anonymous student said, “I feel like nobody agrees with me, first of all. And I know that there are people that agree with me, but I just feel, like, the whole college-liberal movement, especially at UWL, is so anti-guns and pro cracking down on gun laws…”  

This same student shared that they believed concealed carry would be a great way to combat terrorism, “ If you have these people that can be trusted having a gun, in public, they can stop these terrorist attacks before they do more damage.” Despite these beliefs, this student shared concerns on having concealed carry in large cities. “I would probably feel uncomfortable if everybody had guns there…” 

This uncomfortable feeling was echoed by other students like UWL Sophomore Jessica Wener, “It makes me uneasy to know anyone could be carrying a gun around me. I think we should be talking about this issue more on campus and what protocols we can put into place to ensure our campus is safe in any event.” 

According to the UWL Police Department, there are no firearms allowed on campus even if the person has a concealed carry permit.  

Despite varying stances on gun control, UWL students seem to share similar concerns about safety and want to feel more comfortable voicing all opinions.