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ASU Republican students call for gun control compromise

One group's reasonable change is another's overstep

Dick Heller

Dick Heller speaks at "ASU Students for the 2nd Amendment" inside of Lattie F. Coor Hall in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday, March 29, 2018. 

The debate over the merits and reach of the Second Amendment heats up with each mass shooting, but rarely does the conversation last more than a news cycle or two. 

But after the shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the impassioned advocacy of the shooting's survivors, who through marches and public appearances are calling for stricter gun control, it seems the conversation may have more longevity than usual. 

Momentum on both sides of the gun debate has extended to ASU. The ASU Young Democrats joined the crowd of thousands at March for Our Lives in Phoenix, but Republican students have also weighed in on the matter. Opponents of the movement either see different solutions to gun violence or point to larger problems to deal with, such as opioid abuse, homelessness and other public health issues. 

Read More: ASU Young Democrats join crowd of thousands at March For Our Lives

College Republicans United and Young Americans for Liberty hosted an event on March 29 with guest speaker and gun-freedom advocate Dick Heller, whose assertion of his Second Amendment rights led to a landmark 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975.

The 5-4 ruling affirmed the right of an individual to possess firearms for lawful purposes such as self-defense within the home. It also meant that individuals do not have to keep their rifles and shotguns unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

Heller said the Second Amendment cannot be destroyed as it is the “backbone of the concept of freedom and an underlying principle that keeps the leaders from power.” 

Heller said recent proposals to strengthen gun control, such as raising the minimum age to buy firearms and intensifying background checks, would damage that backbone and create a slippery slope that would eventually lead to the full repeal of the Second Amendment.

Young Americans for Liberty president Kyle Cloud, an electrical engineering junior, echoed Heller and said that the Second Amendment is a “natural, unalienable right” that allows people to defend themselves and their property, a concept Cloud said can “never be outdated.”

Cloud said he believes the solution to school shootings lies at the state or local level, instead of with federal regulation.

“We speak about the issue of school shootings as a national problem, when in fact, it is a local problem and each locality has to decide how best to deal with that problem," Cloud said. "Dealing with the problem locally gives us a chance to try different solutions for different communities.”

But the biggest problem of all is the lack of compromise. President of College Republicans United and education senior Richard Thomas said guns are not the problem, but rather that the left and right should focus on “common-ground solutions such as identifying early signs of mental illness in children and young adults.”

“Any person who wants to amend the Bill of Rights is not an American,” Thomas said. "When you mess with the first ten amendments, you are fundamentally changing this country away from the foundational structure that made this land possible.”

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