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The 12th Annual HPU Psychology Conference hosts student panel on gun control

    By Casey Park - Managing Editor. May 11, 2018 - 9:01 am

The Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) Psychology Department hosted a student panel on April 11 as part of their 12th annual psychology conference.

The event entitled “Facts About Gun Control–Whether the U.S. Should Increase Gun Control Laws,” had about 30 students attend. Four student panelists presented short speeches either supporting or not supporting gun control.

Anne Urstad and Ahriika Jordan spoke on the side of pro-gun control. Urstad analyzed the relevance of the second amendment in the nation’s current society. She also suggested that raising age limits for gun ownership and urging safer storage for guns, may reduce gun violence.

Jordan focused on children’s safety in regards to firearms, stating that, “among children, 89 percent of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home mostly when the parents aren’t home.”

On the anti-gun control side, Steven McDowell argued that gun control may not be the answer to gun violence for many reasons, one including that, “98 percent of all mass shootings that have happened between 1950 to now have happened in gun free zones.”

Panelist Walker Edwards also spoke against gun control, arguing that federal policy on guns should not change unless evidence shows gun violence will decrease as a result. He endorsed this with statistical facts including how gun violence globally has been decreasing even though gun ownership in the United States has been increasing.

The audience discussion touched on age limits for gun ownership, treating AR-15 weapons like other weapons capable of mass destruction, and other topics.

Attendee Caroline Skinner, a junior majoring in psychology and criminal justice, said she enjoyed the student panel because, “it wasn’t just like two really polar opposite ideas,” but a panel of students interested in what each other had to say.

Psychology Club advisor Vincent Tsushima said he helped the club to decide the topic, “besides it being timely, it’s just an important legal, societal, political issue right now.”

Jordan, who in addition to speaking on the panel, is the president of HPU’s Psychology Club, said, “I wanted the audience to see that we could hold educated discussions about this, where we all bring our own opinions and facts to support those opinions to the table. We can talk in a civilized manner and exchange ideas.”