EDITORIAL: Taking Advantage of the Opportunity to Change Minds

Riflery and Marksmanship Club Could Promote Rosier Outlook On Guns

Although gun control has been a highly disputed topic, it certainly isn’t as hot button as it was just a few years ago, when the second George Bush ran for re-election. Still, with this year’s founding of the Riflery and Marksmanship club on campus around the two-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting and the first of the Northern Illinois University shooting, the topic may once again resurface on the Central campus.

One of the challenges facing the students in Riflery and Marksmanship will be shaking the image that guns, on or off campus, seem to have. In the news, weapons only seem to surface as an issue when a standoffish student brings one onto campus; in movies, guns are used for only serious violence or slapstick humor, which usually involves some violence. Gun owners are portrayed as aggressors – never as hobbyists or citizens concerned with protecting themselves.

Gun ownership, as most citizens know, is a basic right; whether it’s to protect ourselves from a burglar or an unruly government, guns have been an important staple in both present and historical America. It wasn’t until fairly recently – the last 50 years or so – that they became debated. The question at CCSU is no longer whether or not we should have a gun club on campus, but how the new club will affect students’ thoughts about firearms. It will take more than responsibility
and good aim to win some converts within the student body.

Besides working on their own improvement, Riflery and Marksmanship should work on reaching out to new, undecided students through events and education, just like any other club. The importance of finding not only new members, but new supporters should be self-evident. With the Democrats, who for good or bad now control Washington, pledging for harsher gun control laws; the existence of not only the club but the rights of gun owners hangs in the balance of forces
between two opposing sides. It will be the majority of people that feel indifference on the issue that will need to be won over to one side or the other in order to bring some level of closure to the debate.

Whether gun enthusiasts at Central know it or not, they play a part in the future of gun control. The problem will, of course, be the same one that any other alternative viewpoint club has; there will be students who are not only opposed to your club’s existence on campus, but will probably try to take a stand against it.

But starting a rifle club on campus was a chance in itself; now, Riflery and Marksmanship needs to take a leadership role at CCSU in order to defend not only its rights, but the rights of all citizens to protect themselves.

-Editorial Board, The Recorder