UI College Republicans continue promoting 2nd Amendment week

BY EVAN HAFNER | APRIL 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa College Republicans launched a weeklong campaign in order to spread awareness about the Second Amendment in light of recent gun-control controversies.

This week’s events were supposed to start with a trip to the Hawkeye Gun Range on Monday, but the event was canceled. Other events this week include a College Republicans meeting on Tuesday, tables to spread National Rifle Association information on Wednesday, a “Hunters Awareness BBQ” today, and on Friday, the College Republicans will encourage students to wear red to show their support.

After facing backlash for promoting “Conservative Coming Out Week” and the “Animal Rights Barbecue” in 2011, the College Republicans decided to change the focus of this year’s campaign.

In 2011, in response to an email sent by the UI College Republicans encouraging students to take part in “Conservative Coming Out Week,” Ellen Lewin, a UI anthropology and women’s studies professor, sent an email saying, “F*** YOU, REPUBLICANS,” causing uproar on both sides.

“This year, we decided to make a whole week about gun rights and the Second Amendment,” said Mary Kate Knorr, the president of the College Republicans. “We wanted to focus on the bigger events that have happened. This is a huge issue.”

Members of the College Republicans hope to create a better understanding and encourage active participation in the recent debates over gun control.

“We feel that it is extremely important that we maintain our right to bear arms,” Knorr said. “Any efforts on the part of the government to make it more difficult to obtain firearms is a breech of our constitutional rights.”

In 1791, the Second Amendment was adopted with the rest of the Bill of Rights and it reads, “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

However, not all agree with the message the group hopes to spread. Recently some members of Congress have pushed for more gun regulation, something members of the UI Democrats tend to agree with.

“I, along with many of our members, personally believe that firearms should be subject to reasonable regulation,” said Carter Bell, he president of the College Democrats. “But as far as the upcoming events, I encourage the College Republicans to focus on firearm safety instead of controversy.”

Knorr said tackling the issue of safety is exactly what the College Republicans intend to do.

“We are trying to protect the rights of the people,” she said. “But we are also trying to educate people on how to bear arms responsibly. We want people to use firearms safely and correctly.”

“We must remember that guns do not kill people,” said Dennis McWeeny, treasurer of the College Republicans. “But people kill people.”

The UI College Republicans say they’re not here to spark controversy but rather educate people on the responsible use of firearms.

“It’s important that people know that we recognize that what has happened is tragic,” Knorr said.

“But our intention is not to give guns to people that will misuse them. Our intention is to protect the rights of people who bear arms responsibly.”

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