The Second Amendment reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This topic has become a critical issue in American politics as mass shootings continue to occur with astonishing frequency, and there has been little governmental intervention. In 2018 alone, there have been 57 mass shootings in America.
On one side of the debate, some argue that it is their constitutional right to bear arms in order to protect themselves. This is grounded in the legacy of the American Revolution. This legacy has helped foster a pro-gun culture that has been intertwined with politics, money, and social divides. The politics of pro-gun America are highly organized, well-funded, and have massive amounts of support.
Anti-gun groups, on the other hand, have had less success. As a whole, gun policy reform has not made much progress despite the recurring tragedies, making the U.S. an anomaly among the global north. Shootings tend to garner attention through the media in the immediate aftermath before public attention quickly dissipates.
However, after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., it seems that the issue of gun control has once again brought the issue back to the forefront of people’s minds. It seems that now more than ever, gun policy reform may gain traction.
On April 10, CC alumnus Marc Glaze ‘92 gave a talk on “Gun Violence in America.” He covered everything from how the National Rifle Association can “reward friends and punish enemies” to why exactly gun control lobbyists have not been as successful. He has an impressive resume working in gun control reform. The Wall Street Journal labeled him the “face of the gun control movement” after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. As the son of a licensed gun dealer and NRA member, Glaze brings a unique perspective to this issue.
“I am baffled that gun control legislation has not passed in the U.S., especially after so many school shootings,” Jenny Ross ’18 said after the discussion. “I always wondered why the U.S. was unable to pass legislation, while other countries, like Australia, have been able to with huge amounts of success. Glaze’s point that the Parkland shooting generated so much change because the students had the support of their parents and the privilege to affect change was a really interesting perspective.”
The debate over gun control seems to have uncovered deep social divisions in the U.S. Even though it seems that gun reform may never pass, Glaze emphasized that we might not be as divided as it seems. He noted that background checks are “more popular than pizza” in the realm of public support. On creating change, Glaze highlighted the importance of engaging in productive dialogue on these issues, stating, “You can’t win a debate you’re not willing to have.”
In order to affect change, you have to show up. Glaze concluded that we have the privilege and duty to act, urging the audience to do more than just show up for election day; set up a meeting with your representatives, take your friends to the polls, educate yourself, and make sure your voice is heard, and your face is seen.