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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Young Democrats and College Republicans face off over gun policy

In light of the recent increase in shootings nationwide, the presidents of the University of Arizona Young Democrats and College Republicans gave their opinions on gun laws.

Joseline Mata, the president of UA Young Democrats and a political science sophomore, said that the main thing to take away from the Democrats’ policy on gun control, and what she believes in, is increasing background checks for those acquiring guns.

“Oftentimes, when people think of Democrats’ opinion on gun control, they think we want to take everyone’s guns, and that’s not really the case,” Mata said.

Mata said she thinks she can say that everyone in the Democratic Party agrees that if someone wants a gun, they should be able to gain possession of one. She said she also believes, however, that all those in possession of a firearm need to be competent and must fully understand what it means to have a gun.

Ashlee Bierworth, a junior studying law and political science with an emphasis on American politics, is the president of UA College Republicans.

“I agree with having some restrictions on who can buy a gun when it comes to mental health and other issues like that,” Bierworth said. “I disagree with preventing law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns.”
Bierworth said that the U.S. has seen a lot of mass shootings lately, and she doesn’t think the problem is that guns are accessible; she said the issues lies within gun-free zones.

“Ninety-two percent of our shootings happen on gun-free zones,” Bierworth said. “For example, the Aurora shooting­—the shooter was in the vicinity of five different movie theaters, and he chose the one that the farthest from his house because it was the only one that was a gun-free zone.”

The Arizona Board of Regents prohibits guns, along with many other weapons, on the UA campus, as well as in all buildings and land owned or under the control of the UA.

“Not having to worry about whether someone near me is armed is great. I think that’s the right thing to do,” Mata said.

Bierworth said she personally thinks those who are over 21 and can legally carry should be able to carry a gun on campus, or at least to store their guns in gun lockers when they come to campus.
“I believe that if you give law-abiding citizens the opportunity to carry a gun, there’s more of a chance they will be able to protect themselves,” Bierworth said.

Bierworth said that mass shootings end when armed police eventually arrive on the scene.
“If we can make that possible sooner, it might save lives,” she said.

Mata said that, after seeing how often shootings happen, they are bringing this issue to the forefront.
“We need to stop talking about it and start actually creating legislations to change the policies that are allowing certain individuals to gain access to guns,” Mata said.

Bierworth said that the mass shootings have made her views even stronger.

Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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