Dialogue Not Division: Civil Discourse Club hosts conversation about gun control

Photos: Taryn Sustello

Following the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida, firearms laws are once again the topic of national discussion. However, unlike other mass shootings, the conversation hasn’t stopped, and has gone on for two months at this point.

With the conversation on firearms laws being as relevant as ever, and both sides of the argument have been more polarized than before, with companies pulling out of deals with the National Rifle Association, and the National Rifle Association ramping up its election spending.

There were four rules: no partisan attacks, no self-promotion, no personal attacks, and substantiate your claims. Other than that, it was anything goes in the Diversity Achievement Center on April 18, as the LBCC Civil Discourse Club hosted a conversation on firearms laws in this country.

“There is a lot of division in this country,” said Anthony Lusardi, member of the Civil Discourse Club, “We want to promote dialogue, not division.”

In the hopes of “dialogue, not division” LBCC students, staff and community members from all walks of life and all differing opinions on the issue poured into the DAC to discuss the issue.

Participants included the volunteer adviser for the Our Revolution Club, Bert Gupill. Bert, who owns firearms himself, came to the meeting to advocate for “common sense gun legislation.”

“I see the NRA, which is owned by the gun manufacturers, using scare tactics blocking all legislation,” Gupill said. “Only 7% of gun owners belong to the NRA”

However, the largest point of contention of the meeting came when Paul Tannahill, who made a comment saying that he had a “duty” to protect non gun owners, which struck a chord with Javier Cervantes.

“My belief is that they have a right, as I have a right not to be judged for not owning one,” Cervantes said in response. Cervantes recounted an incident where he was mugged, and said that if he had a gun during the situation, he would not be alive today, “If I had pulled a gun if I had one, I would not be here today. An eye for an eye makes everyone blind.”

Despite getting many people with many differing opinions in one room for an hour and a half, the conversation managed to remain civil, which hopefully will lead to more discussion in the future.