College Democrats take to Free Speech Lawn to petition for stricter gun laws

Lulu Ramadan

Benjamin Haas adds his signature to the list of students in favor of stricter gun laws — that makes one hundred.

The College Democrats set up a table on the Free Speech Lawn today at 10 a.m. with a large white poster board reading, “Common Sense for Legislation Now. Sign Petition.” The College Democrats aim to raise awareness of the current gun laws and how having stricter backgrounding policies and banning of assault-weapons would lessen “senseless gun violence,” according to the flyers that were handed out.

Over three hours later, the College Democrats had their hundredth signature on the petition.

“I’m not fond of the gun violence,” Haas, a 21-year-old, non-student visiting his girlfriend on campus, said after signing the petition. “It’s a good cause. I’m doing my small part. I hope there are a lot more signatures to come.”

“Most people can buy a gun without even getting a background check,” Vice President of College Democrats Adam Leonard said.

“People compare guns to if they were regulated like cars,” Leonard explained.

Leonard believes you should go through a process similar to getting a driver’s license in order to own a gun, including passing a test and getting tagged.

With the College Democrats is a petition they are planning to send to Wayne La Pierre, the chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association (NRA), a “major political force” and “America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights,” according to their website. The petition is aimed at opening up the debate on how strict national gun policies should be.

“People will come here with ideas in their head that if anything happens that concerns gun control, it automatically means weapons bans,” Chad Miller, junior political science major and member of the College Democrats said. “That’s not the case.”

The College Democrats don’t want to ban weapons entirely. They are, however, advocating for a ban on assault weapons.

“We’re not out to take away guns or appeal the second amendment,” Leonard said. “We want people to understand that the second amendment was written 230 years ago. Back then they had muskets that shot three bullets per minute. Whereas now, you have an automatic clip that can shoot thirty bullets in ten seconds.”

The College Republicans disagree on the petition and banning assault weapons.

“While a petition can speak volumes about popular opinion, we cannot let popular opinion dictate the rights which are specifically enumerated in our Constitution,” the President of College Republicans Jeff Arnold said. “People use terms such as ‘assault rifle’ and ‘machine gun’ to stir up fear in the minds of those who have an innate fear of a tool, nothing more, nothing less.”

The College Democrats are keeping the petition open for signatures when they table in the Breezeway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. They plan on sending the petition to the NRA at the end of the month.