National Rifle Association University, the NRA’s college program, discussed the gun control debate and the second amendment with students Thursday.
College Republicans at ASU and Students for Liberty cosponsored Thursday’s seminar on the Tempe campus, which about 30 people attended.
A failed bill last legislative session that would have allowed guns on campus has brought the debate to the forefront for some ASU groups.
Senate Bill 1474 would have allowed concealed weapons on campus, but died in March after its sponsor Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said he could not get enough support.
ASU College Republican President Kristin Middleton, a political science senior, said she wanted the NRA to come to ASU because she wants students to understand the second amendment and gun control rights.
“It’s important that people understand liberty,” Middleton said. “Especially the second amendment because…many states want to eliminate the right to own a gun.”
Students for Liberty President Blaine Thiederman, a finance senior, said students have misconceptions about firearms and the second amendment.
“A lot of students assume that if people have the right to own a gun, people are actually going to die,” Thiederman said. “People kill people. Guns don’t kill people.”
Thiederman said he wants students to realize owning a gun does not make someone a dangerous person.
Colton Kerrigan, a NRA Institute for Legislative Action grassroots coordinator, represented the NRA at Thursday’s talk.
He talked about common gun control myths.
“Gun control never affects criminals,” Kerrigan said.
Instead, the right to own and carry a firearm is a valid method of self-defense, he said.
Although Kerrigan himself does not own a firearm, he said the NRA is all about a person’s freedom to carry a weapon.
Kerrigan encouraged students to get involved locally with the NRA. Local chapters are lobbying for candidates who believe in protecting second amendment rights.
Arizona NRA representative Travis Junion said the NRA is campaigning for Republican Congressional candidate Vernon B. Parker, whose opponent, Kyrsten Sinema, is anti-gun.
Middleton said she wants to protect the second amendment, but believes there should be limits. She did not support the guns on campus legislation.
“I don’t like guns on campus,” Middleton said. “When I go to class, I don’t want to worry about it.”
Economics freshman Matthew Ruland, who attended the event, said he thinks guns should be allowed on campus.
“It’s a natural right,” Ruland said. “I believe it will deter crime.”
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