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Panel discusses Second Amendment debate

Katie Phernetton, Life Writer
April 24, 2013
Filed under Life, Top Stories

The nation grieved for the loss of 20 children and six adults following a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary Dec. 14, 2012. Immediately, the topic of gun control was moved up on the U.S. agenda, and citizens of every age and background have come forward to share their stance on gun control and the Second Amendment.

Students at UW-Green Bay will have the opportunity to hear a panel discussion sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, Student Government Association and The Law Society on the controversial issue of changing the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — April 29.

“The panel is gong to be informative about gun control,” said Melissa Childs, senior social change and development and business administration major and organizer of the discussion. “They’ll talk about how much should be regulated, if there should be any restrictions and what the Constitution says about gun control, specifically the Second Amendment.”

The panel will include UWGB professors as well as community officials. Childs said each member will talk about a different issue related to gun control. Andrew Austin, professor of democracy and justice studies, will talk about the impact on society. Joseph Devaney, professor of public and environmental affairs, will talk about the constitutional aspects of gun control. Kail Decker, assistant city attorney, will discuss the problems that arise with a lack of gun control and how it affects smaller cities. Finally, Tom Hinz, former Brown County sheriff, will talk about the aspects most law enforcements think about regarding gun control.

Childs said she’s not entirely sure what to expect but would not be surprised if there’s disagreement.

“This is a hot button issue and they have very strong feelings,” Childs said. “All the panelists are professionals, and they will respect each other, but there will be professional disagreement.”

Talk of changing the Second Amendment and restricting gun control has been an issue many people, especially in areas like Northeast Wisconsin, feel passionate about.

In Wisconsin, where concealed carry is legal and hunting and the gun ownership is a cultural norm, Childs thinks this makes this a topic of particular importance in the area.

Though nothing has been changed since the tragedy in Newtown, Childs said this is a good time for college students to get involved.

“It sounds like with the political climate, things will be changing soon,” Childs said. “It’s a good time for young people to get involved in it. We’re in more of a rural area. Many people use guns for hunting. Having as many people informed about this issue is possibly the best.”

Students can submit anonymous questions before the panel discussion to allow the panelists to answer as many as possible. To submit questions, students can email pnl_2nd@live.com. Paper and pens will also be provided to allow attendees to write down questions during the discussions.

The event will take place at 6 p.m. in the Phoenix Rooms located in the University Union. Cookies will be served. The event is free, and all students are encouraged to attend.