Community opinions split on action
The topic of gun control has been a national discussion recently with the recent school shootings. In the Lane community responses to gun violence are varied, but all agree some action is needed.
Some believe that gun control and mental health services should be the priority while Public Safety Chief Jace Smith proposes arming Public Safety on campus.
“I think that we are all reminded how dangerous the work we do is and how the threats of the 21st Century continue to evolve,” Smith said.
Smith indicates Lane is taking measures to educate people on what they should do in the instance of a violent attack on campus.
“Since the shootings at UCC we’ve probably had more than 400 people in training sessions,” Smith said.“Except for my new officers, every single officer has, including me, been through a law enforcement academy. So every officer has been trained by a law enforcement agency to use a firearm.”
The proposal to arm Public Safety at Lane has been in discussion for several years, and some students believe it to be necessary.
“I think it would be good for people who are trained to have guns, in this case, the government or security here at [Lane],” Lane student Emerita Iboa said. “I would feel more secure.”
Smith emphasized the importance of reporting any suspicious activity or people on campus.
“If you see something, say something,” Smith said. “We don’t mind getting those [incident] calls.”
In addition to trainings, Public Safety has informational videos on Lane’s website that give instructions to people in the case of an attack.Other students felt that more necessary than arming security, students should create a message for change. Tevin Tavares, a University of Oregon student, became inspired to do something after hearing about the shootings at UCC.
“We wanted a better perspective of students because this can happen to anyone,” Tavares said.
This led him and other students to create “Numb in America,” a short film depicting a shooter at UO. The film has been viewed over 11,000 times on Youtube.
“America needs stricter gun control laws and more money put into mental health care,” Tavares said. “Nothing will change unless we change it.”
The Obama Administration has planned to increase funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in order to more readily enforce current gun laws. In addition, more funding for local and state administrations have been implemented and safety plans have been coordinated with thousands of schools across the country.