Pi Sigma Alpha and Alphi Chi hosted a discussion Monday night for over 80 attendees in LAPC called “Gun Control: A Loaded Issue.” The event ran from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and featured five panelists: two political science professors, one theology professor, one sociology professor and a local law enforcement official.
Each panelist had 10 to 15 minutes to speak before answering questions in the Q&A; at the end.
Sergeant Dominic Iraldo from the Whittier Police Department, the only non-professor on the panel, discussed several mass shootings from a law enforcement official’s perspective.
“My concern is that the media glamorizes certain incidents,” Iraldo said. “[There’s] a negative portrayal of law enforcement… It’s hyper-scrutinized and based on split-second decisions.”
Iraldo also said that by only focusing on limiting the number of guns, “self-control and responsibility are made irrelevant.” For example, young boys are exposed to violence through video games and “comedic” YouTube videos.
“There’s a lack of respect for law enforcement and for the value of human life,” Iraldo said.
Iraldo said he supports the right to bear arms and he thinks the issue here is that criminals are opportunists who will communicate with each other to discuss mistakes and have specific intentions when they possess weapons.
He said he thinks we should be arming teachers on campus, or at the very least hire an armed security officer. Iraldo stressed that people need to be prepared and ready for anything to happen.
Political science professor Jennifer Walsh discussed recent cases related to gun control and the historical importance of the Second Amendment. Walsh said with any kind of restriction, lawmakers must prove its necessity to serve a compelling government interest.
Political science professor Daniel Palm has been the secretary of a gun club for 25 years and took a pro-Second Amendment approach in his speech. He briefly discussed international perspectives on gun control and used statistics to show that there is no direct correlation between the number of firearms and murder rates in a country.
“It is not the implements we should be looking at, but at the people,” Palm said. “Remember–any weapon is morally neutral and can be used for evil, but can also be used for good.”
Theology professor Lynn Thrush and sociology professor Young Lee took pro-gun control approaches.
Thrush used biblical examples to discuss why Christians should not be afraid of those who kill the body and said it is the role of government officials, not ordinary citizens, to bear weapons. An untrained and armed public results in less public safety, Thrush said.
Lee framed the gun issue with discussion of men, violence and masculine characteristics such as domination, intimidation and control.
“What is happening to our young men?” Lee said. “We need to revisit what it means to be a man in America.”
Lee said citizens should be able to go to a movie theater or to school without the worry of being shot.
“Is the Second Amendment so sacred that no restrictions are needed? Is my right more important than others’ safety?” Lee said. “It’s hard to grapple with. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Junior political science major Gary Rivas is a gun owner and enjoyed hearing the discussion on gun control. He said it was one of the better lectures that he’s been to.
“They did a great job bringing in those speakers,” Rivas said. “I was impressed by the length and the questions that were asked by some of the individuals concerning guns. There was enough interest in this particular subject, it just rolled in. It was a good discussion.”