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Pro-gun rally in a blue city brings controversy

Last week’s protesters proved to be disrespectful in crowd

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Pro-gun rally in a blue city brings controversy

Written By Shannon Harnett, Staff Writer

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The arms debate is reaching even closer to our school as second amendment supporters protested Mayor Bill Peduto’s new gun policies on Monday, Jan. 7. Only a few short months after the tragic incident at Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people died due to gun violence, Pittsburgh is seeing the aftermath in policy change. Peduto is calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and certain ammunition and firearm accessories, and is seeking support from over 100 other cities in an attempt to create a strong front against gun violence.

As expected, pro-gun supporters are up-in-arms about the new policy. Even the media-famous “Kent State Gun Girl” Kaitlin Bennett, was in attendance at the City-County Building for the rally, waving her rifle around.

My thoughts on the topic are split, as they are with most political debates. On one end, guns are scary; they have the potential to end lives if placed in the wrong hands.

Waving rifles around at a protest isn’t a sure-fire way to keep the opposition away. Having firearms is for the sake of protection, but do we need semi-automatic weapons that most have only ever seen in movies? On the other hand, there are countless moments in history about what happens when the government tries to take away the people’s rights. In colonial times, when the British took away the rights of the colonists, they were met with the Revolutionary War. Adolf Hitler began taking away rights of Jewish persons and from that came the Holocaust and World War II.

Certainly we don’t live in a time that can compare to the original thirteen
colonies or even to the 1930’s, but history does have a funny way of repeating itself. Humans are persistent creatures. Without guns, people who are desperate would still find ways to get access to them. People recognize these things, and it makes sense.

But then we look at the numbers of school shootings in this past year alone, at what happened at Parkland, a tragedy that occurred after guns fall into the hands of unstable minds. And the argument comes around full circle.

As I sat on my bus that passed by the rally on Monday I had to do a double take as I watched four men in camouflage strut down Fourth Avenue carrying their rifles. I looked
further down past the red light I was stopped at and saw the sea of people crowded around the Christmas tree still standing in front of the City-County Building, all toting their own
personal weapons. My first reaction was to whip out my phone and take some videos on Snapchat. My next thought was, “Wow, I really am at the corner of real and world,” as I watched the protest ensue.

After that came the question of, “Don’t these people have jobs they need to go to?”, as I ask at every protest I hear about. Then my final thought was about the black lady and white man who were talking respectfully about some of the touchy topics in the political world. The topics ranged from the second amendment to police brutality, and the entire time they spoke of American values.

They weren’t mentioning political parties, simply patriotic remarks. Statements such as, “I’m for guns, but do these people need to be waving around their rifles scaring more people?” and “Not all cops are bad, if we’re being honest, aren’t all people scared of cops?” I sat in awe of a conversation that defies what the media shows to be a full out war between the right and the left. What I learned that day is that if everyone could take a second to stop and listen to their neighbor, they would see that people can usually agree on basic values.

I challenge everyone reading this article to ignore the media and focus on the people around you and how you can make new friends and new neighbors by simply opening your ears and closing your mouths.

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