Gun Control Debate: College Democrats Take
This article was written by Daniel Strom.
It is important in the times we live in to have discussions around important issues. Too often we avoid dialogue, especially around controversial topics. That’s a shame because debate is central to a democracy, critical to helping us determine the direction of the future. On March 11th I’m excited to represent the North Park College Democrats alongside Jack Hosek to debate the question “what measures could be taken to prevent or lower gun violence?” The answer to that is one that Vista readers will have to find out on April 11th, but needless to say there will likely be major, substantive disagreements between us and College Republicans. There’s nothing wrong with that, I think that we sometimes think that we can not engage in spirited, strong discussions and debates, but we can and should, especially on issues as critical as gun violence.
Gun violence takes the lives of over 30,000 Americans a year. Since 1968 more Americans have died from gun violence than in all our wars combined. Countless citizens have lost friends, family members, mentors and co-workers to gun violence and many people here at North Park University have been affected by this violence. For me personally my passion for this issue arose at a young age and was actually a major reason for why I became and remain a member of the Democratic party. Though I have friends who own guns my parents did not raise me in a culture of guns and I myself have never held a gun, neither has my father or my mother or my brother. I was raised in a Christian home that taught me to put my faith in Christ, not guns and that my safety and security came from God not a man made idol. I was taught that peacemakers were blessed not warmongers and these values instilled in me a desire to make peace and support efforts to reduce the senseless slaughter that is ubiquitous across this country.
My father, a lawyer, also taught me respect for the Constitution and my friendships with gun owners helped me understand the other side, the personal value that many find in hunting or going to a shooting range. But I realized that there is no conflict between our constitution and common sense gun safety reforms. I also realized that the only way the vast majority of Americans who want to take action on this issue that affects so many Americans is by matching the intensity and passion of those who want to maintain the status quo, who seek to insist that any incremental policy change is a slippery slope to tyranny. Those of us who care about the facts around gun violence, who want to save lives and who care about the lives and livelihoods of our fellow Americans need to make common sense gun safety measures a make or break issue when it comes to the votes we cast. We need to contact our representatives, lobby our elected officials and engage our neighbors in debunking myths and standing for a sensible solution to this issue. It is this type of activism and passion that has been pursued by so many of the teenagers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School- teens who have inspired me and millions more. Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Delaney Terr and more have called BS to a political system that insists nothing can be done to address this issue. They have used their platform to shine a light on gun violence that afflicts poor and minority communities and they have successfully kept our attention on this issue of guns so that lives can be saved and so that we do not forget about this tragedy and the countless daily tragedies that don’t make the headlines. Despite constant, depraved, morally repugnant attacks from many on the right accusing the teens of being communists, government agents, “soulless”, bullies, and everything in between they have continued to stand up for the moderate, sensible solutions that the vast majority of Americans want. I hope that the April 11th debate will help further this conversation and bring about a better understanding as to what can be done to address this issue, and I hope that students will come in with open minds, wanting to learn the facts and understand how best to help address this issue.