Arielle Sutton, agriculture business junior, lives in a quaint apartment off campus. In her room, she has a pink vanity chest of drawers; green and pink throw pillows; and a Smith and Wesson M&P 22-claiber rifle under her bed.
Sutton is a member of the newly formed, unofficial Students for Concealed Carried Weapons club and considers the ownership of her rifle an unalienable right.
“Owning a gun is a privilege,” Sutton said. “Everyone should have the right to bear arms, but not everyone can. Some countries don’t allow their citizens to do so.”
The shootings in Colorado in July 2012 and Connecticut in December sparked a national debate about firearm laws. President Barack Obama announced Wednesday federal action to reduce gun violence by closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, training first responders and school officials for active shooter scenarios and requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations, according to a White House news release.
Sutton said governments that enforce gun control tend to become oppressive.
“When Hitler took office, he registered everyone’s guns,” Sutton said.
Sutton purchased her rifle one year ago for protection, she said, and enjoys shooting it recreationally for practice.
After the shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Sutton said she feels people have the wrong idea about those who are anti-gun control.
“People tend to think we are apathetic to incidences like that, but there is nothing worse for a gun owner,” Sutton said. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
On the other hand, Xander Duchene, computer science junior, said limits should be implemented to potentially decrease the gun problem in the country.
“We have to restrict guns that are too dangerous, like those with high capacity magazines,” Duchene said. “Stats show the U.S. has more murders by firearms than any other industrialized country.”
Sutton’s gun is considered a modern-day sport rifle. The magazine of the rifle holds 25 rounds.
“If the assault-weapons ban were to pass, I would be affected,” Sutton said.
In Baton Rouge, police investigated 67 murders in 2012, 56 of which were committed with a firearm. In 2011, there were 64 murders, and 60 used guns. Homicide overall is increasing in Baton Rouge, but the percent of murders with a firearm decreased in the two-year period, according to Baton Rouge Police Department Spokesman Lt. Don Kelly.
“For many years we have had various programs and efforts to seize illegal guns, and for some time have averaged taken [sic] about 100 illegal firearms off the streets every single month,” Kelly said in an email. “With the recent BRAVE and Street Operations initiatives in place, we have been even more aggressive over the past six months and have seized many more guns than usual.”
Kelly said the recent shooting probably led to the increase of legal purchase of guns by citizens, and although they wished to remain unidentified, two local gun stores reported an increase in gun sales in 2012.
Alexa Ibarguen, art history senior, said guns are essential to personal protection.
“As a female, I can’t walk home by myself,” Ibarguen said. “If you know how to use one, you should be able to have one. In fact, a gun is going to be my graduation present.”
Business sophomore Nick Lincoln said citizens deserve the right to bear arms, but they should be kept out of the wrong hands.
Sutton said gun owners can make a positive difference.
“Evil will always find a way, even without guns,” Sutton said. “Good citizens with arms can change things. I’m not sure what the answers are, but there should be more effort for people who have a cry for help.”