Why We Need to Talk About Gun Regulation
If you ever want to check out a camera from the Cage at Newhouse, there are are many arduous steps you must go through first. Before anything, you have to be registered in a class where you’re eligible to check out the equipment. Then, you’ll need to make an appointment days ahead of time to pick the camera up. The cage system holds a thorough record of your checking in and out, which tracks if you return equipment in a timely manner and in perfect condition. If you haven’t done both of those, no more cameras for you. This is a long-winded way of us saying that it’s actually a considerable deal more of a logistical pain to make a crappy short film than it is to get a gun.
Whenever there’s a major, gun-related tragedy in America, our weapon laws get analyzed and reviewed over and over again. While we hope for significant change in this contentious cycle, it will never come when politicians pause debating gun policy and shift their focus away to other matters as time elapses since the most recent incident. With that said, though, we want to keep the conversation going by taking a look at where we currently stand on the matter, both as an institution here at ‘Cuse, and as a nation.
In terms of our alma mater, SU has a very strict weapons policy that applies to all employees, students, and visitors. It states: “While on University owned or controlled property, unauthorized possession or use of any firearm or other weapon, instrument, or material that can be used to inflict bodily harm on an individual or against University property regardless of whether the individual possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or weapon is prohibited.”
As a private institution hosting over 16,000 students, SU’s policy isn’t remotely surprising. Syracuse is well within its rights to make the protective rules they see fit and this is one where they rightfully have no leniency, while state law also prohibits a gun on any campus. (In 10 other states though, a permit is enough to allow a concealed weapon on a campus.) Additionally, the presence of a weapon on campus is an insurance disaster, as the horrible can and does happen. Still, though, all this policy does is outline where the institution stands on its relationship with students. Sure, the University does its best enforce the rules, but any student sneaky and unsuspecting enough can circumvent them.
And even then the University can only protect our campus. Throughout the city there are no shortage of places to buy a gun, as we know from multiple off-campus shootings that have happened over the past few years. The most common type of firearm one could buy is a sporting rifle, used for hunting and self defense. Living in New York state, we have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, yet they are not as strict as you might think. You do not need a permit, a registration, a license, or even a carry permit for rifles and shotguns. Again, it’s probably more difficult to check out a camera from the Cage.
Now, the question is where do we move from here as a nation following the senseless murders of 58 concert-goers in Las Vegas? If history is the answer, we’re probably not going to go far, as there was little congressional action after the Sandy Hook Massacre in 2013. Innocent children had their lives taken, for christ sake. Most of us probably thought, ‘Surely, this will be the time we actually do something about guns in America.’
As we start to heal from the Las Vegas tragedy, we need to maintain the conversation around stricter gun laws and regulating gun technology so that the debate doesn’t fade out as it has in the past. There’s some hope for stricter laws this time, as even the NRA is considering banning what are known as bump stocks, which can increase a gun’s fire rate. It’s not huge progress in hindsight, but it’s better than nothing. In the meantime, we should be on alert and protective regarding gun safety, but can also take comfort in some of the nation’s strictest and most effective gun policies with a zero tolerance campus. Let’s just hope our national government will take a tip from our handbook sooner rather than later.