By Simon Isham–
The recent shooting at Hazard Community and Technical college forced many Kentuckians to evaluate where they stand when the national issue hit close to home.
In a new poll by Survey USA of 700 Kentucky residents, 75 percent supported background checks on potential buyers before gun sales, 65 percent favored a law to have guns registered by the state and more than 50 percent supported legislation decreasing access to ammunition.
Despite the danger that guns present, however, 60 percent of respondents said that they believe that the right to own guns is more important than the current need to regulate them.
This week, the Louisville Cardinal talked to two University of Louisville professors to find out where their research in and analysis of gun control have led them.
Q: Do you think placing armed officers in schools is a reasonable precaution, or is it over the top?
A: “Arming our nation’s public schools with armed guards is not the answer. Currently, there is not any empirical evidence that shows that increased police presence improves school safety. What a lot of people do not realize is that there was an armed guard at Columbine and a police presence at Virginia Tech, yet that did not change the outcome. According to a recent study conducted by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education school shootings typically are over in less than 15 minutes. Therefore, the focus should be on increased awareness of the signs of mental illness and other preventative methods that have been proven effective.”
Q: How do you see this controversy playing itself out in Washington?
A: “There are going to be new laws. Period. That’s going to happen. What they (will be) is unsure. If you look at the data, there’s pretty widespread support for background checks. Where that (debate) really gets interesting is in background checks for private sales. You can say, ‘I’m going to book a booth at the gun show and bring all of my weapons in and sell them as a private citizen.’ That’s a huge one. If you combine the assault weapons ban, the number of rounds per magazine limitation and the background checks, you essentially halt the movement of even the weapons that are already out there. Something that has already started to happen as a result of all of this is that guns have been flying off the shelves.”