The Transylvania Times -

Gun Discussion Planned

 

April 16, 2018



What concerns do you have about the current state of gun ownership in our society, or in our community?

What steps would you take to address any of your concerns regarding gun ownership?

What factors should we consider in addressing the issue of gun violence?

These questions and others will be discussed at a roundtable discussion among local residents with differing opinions on Tuesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. in Brevard College’s Dunham Hall. The public is invited, with doors opening at 6 p.m. A question and answer session will follow the discussion, which will be moderated by Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris, who will also share his thoughts on these issues.

Roundtable members include:

•Carter Heyward, Episcopal priest, retired professor of theology, and chair of the NAACP Religious Affairs Committee

•Dave Hunter, former Florida and North Carolina concealed carry instructor, NRA life member, GLOCK Certified Armorer and gun rights advocate

•Emily Walthall, gun owner, attorney and co-founder of the Transylvania County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, an organization that supports the Second Amendment and common sense laws and public health solutions to decrease gun violence

According to Hunter, “We read the headlines about gun violence. We hear the news stories, not just once, but repeatedly throughout the day in 24-hour news coverage. Then, to keep us interested and tuned in, the news story quickly morphs into what we are told is a discussion or debate, but really is just a series of back-and-forth insults and nasty comments presented so that viewers wholeheartedly back one side of the argument and discredit the opposing side.

“No serious discussion takes place. People get more set in their positions, more isolated in their bubbles, unwilling to consider other opinions. And nothing happens of any benefit. So let’s at least get the conversation going.”

“I don’t think talking in general terms about ‘gun rights’ or ‘gun control’ is helpful because people understandably fall back on their personal feelings — positive or negative — about guns when the issue is framed so generally,” said Walthall. “Gun violence covers a range of incidents, from suicides, to accidents, to mass shootings, to other homicides. So instead of talking about ‘gun rights’ or ‘gun control’ in general, I’m interested in talking about specific laws and community responses to specific types of gun violence — things like closing the loopholes in our background check system and working with gun safety experts to encourage responsible firearm storage.”

“Everybody has their own opinions about guns,” said Heyward. “Like most people, when we talk about tough issues like guns, people agree on some things and disagree on others. It seems like all we hear now is the disagreement. It’s time for civil, open discussion about guns. By talking about our beliefs and respectfully sharing differences, at a minimum we have a chance to understand each other better, and maybe even come up with concrete steps that begin to address the issue of gun violence.”

Hunter said, “We hope people will come out and participate, whatever their opinions on the topic of guns. We think it’s important to find a way to talk and listen to each other, build relationships so when these tough issues come up and disagreements become obvious, we still have a way to continue the dialogue and work together building a better community.”

 
 

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