“My particular angle on what’s happening in our country with an epidemic of gun violence … is as the son of a teacher,” he said. “My mom … spent her whole life doing what I think is the most noble form of public service, teaching in our public schools right here in Kingston.

Thinking about her and so many other educators and teachers now having to … multiple times a month, put their students into closets or turn out the lights or have their children hide under desks, that is just wrong.”

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> A broad range of opinions were expressed Tuesday about how firearms might be regulated in response to growing concerns about gun violence.

About 70 persons attended the event at Kingston Library, organized by Democratic congressional candidate Pat Ryan, who said there was a need to have conversations between people who hold diametrically opposing viewpoints.

Ryan said his perspective is informed by 27 months he spent in service in Iraq and carrying an assault rifle during active duty in the U.S. Army.

“I cannot get the image out of my mind in the (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.) incident (of a) 19-year-old young man taking that weapon and carrying it into a school,” he said.

…Panelist Eli Duncan-Gilmour, a New Paltz High School senior, told the audience that students have become politically active because current elected leadership has not been effective in making educational campuses safe.

“In the Sixties, there … was a whole range of things that were just not right and it got to a point where people couldn’t deal with it anymore,” he said. “People my age have been living with these backwards laws our whole life and we see our peers getting shot up in school. … We’re good at calling BS and the sleeping giant is getting woken up.”

Duncan-Gilmour said that, among the obvious things the U.S. Congress has done to keep weapon manufacturers happy was to block research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of gun violence.

Several audience members said political change has been blocked by National Rifle Association election contributions and that members of the organization appear unwilling to work toward a solution.

New Paltz High School senior Matthew Gose closed the session by telling the audience that even some understanding adults are too far removed from their classroom days to have a grasp on students’ concerns. He said two gun ownership advocates at the meeting were examples of how difficult it is for students to believe that the current political leadership will make people feel safe in schools.

“The two men back here, some people, it just seems like they don’t even want to listen,” he said. “They expressed their feelings and this is suppose to a discussion, but they walked out when the panel went to give them their responses.”

Gose added that, to the “kids, this is affecting, and the kids being killed, they can’t express their voices and I just think that’s kind of ridiculous.”

Read the full article in the Daily Freeman

Categories: Press Coverage