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President Díaz-Herrera Joins Other College CEOs in Calling for Tougher Gun Control Laws

President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera was one of more than 300 college CEOs to sign an open letter to President Obama and other policy leaders calling for tougher gun control laws and declaring their opposition to laws that would allow guns on campus.

The campaign was started by presidents Lawrence M. Schall of Oglethorpe University and Elizabeth Kiss of Agnes Scott College, both located in Atlanta, Ga. Presidents from mostly private, non-profit colleges have signed the letter, which was written in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and 6 adults.

Since the on-campus shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, several states have sought to allow guns on campus even in opposition from college officials and faculty. After the Newtown massacre, some lawmakers called for teachers to have access to firearms in their classrooms.

But Díaz-Herrera and the other College Presidents for Gun Safety are demanding a crackdown on access to guns.

“Just 10 days after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., gun violence claimed the lives of two first responders here in our own backyard in Webster—not far from our campus,” said Dr. Díaz-Herrera. “Clearly, something has to be done, as our letter states, ‘to ensure that current and future generations may live and learn in a country free from the threat of gun violence.’”

Here is a segment of the letter:

“We are college and university presidents. We are parents. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We urge both our President and Congress to take action on gun control now. As a group, we do not oppose gun ownership. But, in many of our states, legislation has been introduced or passed that would allow gun possession on college campuses. We oppose such laws. We fully understand that reasonable gun safety legislation will not prevent every future murder. Identification and treatment of the mental health issues that lie beneath so many of the mass murders to which we increasingly bear witness must also be addressed.

“As educators and parents, we come together to ask our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of our children by enacting rational gun safety measures, including:

• ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms;

• ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check;

• reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines; and

• requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects.

“The time has long since passed for silence and inaction on the issue of reasonable and rational gun safety legislation. We hereby request that our nation’s policy leaders take thoughtful and urgent action to ensure that current and future generations may live and learn in a country free from the threat of gun violence.”


3 Responses to President Díaz-Herrera Joins Other College CEOs in Calling for Tougher Gun Control Laws

  1. Michael McKenzie says:

    It is simplistic to simply argue that “tougher gun laws” would “ensure that we may live in a country free from the threat of gun violence.” Most of the shootings have occurred in jurisdictions in which there are already tough gun laws in place.

    The laws are already there. Strict ones.

    In fact, after the tragedy of the Newtown shootings CNN detailed the rise in gun violence in schools. They assembled all the available data for known school shootings going back to the 1920s. You see a shooting here and there–with large gaps of years with NO shootings–for decades. Then, in the 1990s, you start to see the beginning of an upward curve of gun violence at schools–almost exactly paralleling the tightening down of gun laws! Now, hear what I am not saying: I am not making the claim that “stricter gun laws caused this upturn! But I am arguing that making the simplistic claim that “access to guns” equals gun violence is just as simplistic. And just as wrong.

    In fact, up until the late 1960s, one could purchase guns through the mail! Without even going through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer! Yet, gun violence at schools was far lower than it is today.

    New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Yet the tragedy at Webster took place.

    So, while it is understandable to “want to do something” to stop these horrendous crimes, it is simplistic to argue that “tougher laws” will result in “living in a country free from the threat of gun violence.” The issues that are at play in our country that all coalesce to create a violent society are deeper than a rush for “tougher laws.”

  2. Jim Hilker says:

    Tighter gun control legislation will not work toward the solution. To find the solution we must first identify the problem. It is not guns, gun laws, gun safety, or even access to guns. The problem has absolutely nothing to do with guns. The problem (and solution) lies in the answer(s) to this question;
    Why are people behaving with such intense violence and terror?

    Only an emotional response will cause one to point to guns as the problem. Set aside emotions and we begin to see a deep issue that is much more difficult to get a grasp of. It is so much easier for a consumer-focused society to drive up to the legislative take-out window and order up a super-sized portion of “tighter gun laws please” and then head on down the road feeling satisfied and serviced.

    Can anyone name a single law or regulation that has stopped criminal behavior?

  3. Jan Enos says:

    Respectfully, I would strongly disagree to openly designating any public place a gun-free zone, even schools. As I personally work in an office that on occasion must bring devastating news to students, I would feel much safer with a Glock in my purse than sitting like a target in a legislated and advertised gun-free zone. Those intent on doing harm will ALWAYS find a way to get a weapon. Thus, our only protection may come from responsible, law-abiding gun owners who are permitted to carry and first on the scene before law enforcement has a chance to arrive. History and statistics show that gun control has never worked to prevent these massacres.

    In the aftermath of Newtown, the entire mainstream media was quick to unfairly pounce on gun control and demonize responsible gun owners. Yet they failed to see their own hypocrisy in glorified television violence. Their reporting completely overlooks any correlation with violent video games that reward points for human death and suffering, encouraging the player to shoot everyone while being desensitized with graphic images with no real consequences. Add mental illness and prescribed psychotic drugs, and you create a disaster waiting to happen. Awareness directed at these causes and solutions has been minimal by the press and legislators.

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