By Brett Linley SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
This semester, some Hofstra students have their sights set on something other than academics.
The Hofstra University Shooting Club (HUSC), formed earlier this semester, has provided the opportunity for students to forget classes for a while and join their peers at the shooting range. It has also opened up the debate on gun control and whether or not shooting, an American pastime, is appropriate in an academic setting.
New York, more than most states, has a record of being openly hostile to its citizens’ right to bear arms. After the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook, the state enacted some of the toughest gun control measures in the country under the auspices of protection and safety. It is understandable that many people from New York might feel uncomfortable that college students are receiving firearms training.
As a citizen of Newtown, Conn., I have seen firsthand how the irresponsible storage and handling of firearms can devastate a community. There is no question that guns in the wrong hands can wreak untold havoc. A community insensitive to the necessity of firearm responsibility makes a big mistake. It is with these factors in mind that I offer wholehearted support for HUSC’s mission.
One of the biggest problems connected with gun violence is the lack of training that individuals often have with firearms. Most people are never educated as to how to properly handle and respect them.
Our popular culture thrives on violence, and with only media sensationalism to draw information from, it isn’t hard to believe how many people can become misled about guns.
HUSC is making a concerted effort to teach people what firearms are and what they aren’t. They are tools that need to be treated with respect. They are not toys, like the latest video game or action movie might lead you to believe.
Throughout my life, I have been connected to guns in a responsible way. I’ve taken all the safety courses and have gone through all the careful preparation. Without taking these steps, I would be hesitant to call myself competent to handle a firearm.
Many people, even by the laxest standards, cannot say the same. HUSC is expanding the franchise of gun responsibility to people who wouldn’t normally have access to it. While the heavy hand of the state seeks to keep people frightened and separated from guns, HUSC lifts the veil by informing instead of intimidating.
The only way that we can make any measurable progress toward stopping gun violence is through knowledge. Guns should neither be held on a pedestal nor thrown beneath us in disgust. They should be identified for what they are; tools that can be used for recreational purposes, or more importantly, to keep us safe.
As a libertarian, I cannot help but pull the old Constitution card: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is the basis of our rights as not only Americans, but also as human beings. This is the right that protects all the others.
Politicians and their cronies will always be seeking to disarm the population, but with the continued educational work of HUSC, I can’t see them having much success in the future.
The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.