Past Event

Guns, Safety & Responsibility

This week hundreds of students rallied at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to bring attention to the gun violence that has claimed the lives of 22 Chicago Public School students so far this school year. In Chicago, where it is illegal to own or carry a handgun, an ordinance was introduced at the end of 2007 that would extend current laws to the entire Cook County area and restrict businesses from selling guns within a one mile radius of a school or park. It would also require gun shops to be at least 10 miles away from each other and ban gun shows all over Cook County.

A bill is currently being considered at the state level that would allow prosecutors to charge adults who sell or give firearms to minors who commit a crime with the same crime. On the national level, for the first time in 70 years the Supreme Court is reviewing a case concerning the Second Amendment. They are expected to deliver a decision in the next few months ruling on the constitutionality of Washington D.C.’s citywide handgun ban.

After the horrific shooting on Northern Illinois University’s campus earlier this year, numerous articles surfaced stating that students and faculty should have the right to have handguns on campus. Advocates of this policy argue that current bans are ineffective and that students would be safer at school if they could protect themselves by carrying a concealed weapon. They point out that at schools in Utah and Colorado, where guns are permitted in classrooms, no incidents have occurred.

Recently, a professor at Lehigh University insisted that gun manufacturers should bear some responsibility when their products are used criminally. George Nation argues that because these companies “benefit from imposing greater risk on society,” they should be liable when “their criminal products do exactly what they were intended to do.”

Do outright bans on campuses and in cities go too far? Is there a civic purpose to the right of the people to keep and bear arms? How would greater restrictions on gun shops and gun shows impact the criminal use of gun? Should gun manufacturers be held responsible for what people do with their product? Should people who sell or give guns to minors be charged with the same crimes that they commit?

Suggested Readings:

More Guns on Campus?

Gun proposal stirs debate, not action

Suburban gun shops at close range

Gun manufacturers in the line of fire

Second Amendment

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.