The CCAR Sparks Conversation on Gun Violence Prevention

By Noelani Rivera, Student Projects Coordinator

Gun violence has been a growing concern this past year. Most visibly we have seen an increase in mass shootings, but guns also have roles in a multitude of other issues such as domestic violence and suicide. Our first Common Hour Conversation (CHC) of the semester was focused on gun violence and prevention. Inspired by student activism, as a result of active shooter situations on school grounds, the CCAR aims to better educate students and faculty on the subject of gun violence and prevention. Doctor Ryan, the Criminal Justice department chairperson here at Pace, and Nicole Lesser, a representative from Moms Demand Action (Moms Demand) lead the conversation. Doctor Ryan gave us a sense of where the root of the controversial debate lies, breaking down the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms. Nicole gave us a brief history of Moms Demand and what they advocate for.

Dr. Joseph Ryan, Nicole Lesser, and Nelson Payamps

Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement advocating for responsible gun ownership and stronger gun laws and public safety measures. It is a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Moms Demand has a chapter in every state, and Nicole is the chapter lead for New York.  After Doctor Ryan spoke on his interpretation of the Second Amendment, Nicole spoke on Moms Demand not wanting guns to be taken away whatsoever, rather looking to have better regulation. Professor Len Mitchell, in attendance, asked what the difference idealistically was between Moms Demand and the NRA, if Moms Demand also recognizes the Second Amendment. It was explained that while the NRA and Moms Demand both recognize an individual’s right to bear arms, the NRA does not support gun prevention laws in the same way Moms Demand does. The topic of banning all guns was brought up, and a person taking this position explained that seeing the lack of effective reform this seems like the only reasonable option. This was, of course, met with the Second Amendment being an inalienable right. Guns have been an integral part of American society and agreeing on how little or how much they should be regulated is extremely difficult even with the same goal in mind.

Nicole left fact sheets with us in the center pertaining to New York State (NYS) Gun Violence Prevention Laws along with information and instructions on Students Demand Action. These touch on Red Flag laws, background check extensions, bans on arming educators, out-of-state mental health checks, and gun buyback programs. Students Demand Action is an initiative by Everytown for Gun Safety, to have students organizing, mobilizing, and enacting local change to reduce gun violence in America. Students use their talent, creativity, and leadership to help prevent gun violence. Pace NYC has an organization named Pace Students Against Gun Violence which began as a campaign within the CCAR and further prospered throughout the past school year. Pace Pleasantville may be looking into forming a Students Demand Action group or a club similar to that in NYC to work in conjunction on efforts surrounding gun violence.

Interested in joining or helping campaign? Contact the CCAR in Choate 51W or email!