Courtesy of MCT
Emotions ran high at a campus meeting monitored by two Ohio State Police officers.
Although the topic of a Wednesday night discussion was the economics of gun control, the conversation shifted to comparing the merits of gun control and gun rights during the OSU Free Enterprise Society meeting.
Brian Marein, a fourth-year in economics and Spanish and the president of OSU FES, was not surprised when he had to interrupt the debate on three separate occasions to focus the conversation back to the economics of the issue.
“It was absolutely expected because this is an issue that people get so fired up about,” Marein said. “It’s hard to get them to not focus on (political aspects) and to just talk about the feasibility of gun control.”
OSU FES is a student organization that aims to explore free market principles and focus on the economic aspects of national issues. The organization is not an advocacy group for any side of the debate.
More than 40 people attended the meeting, held in the Round Meeting Room at the Ohio Union.
Mike Newbern, a third-year in engineering and the state director for Ohio Students for Concealed Carry, was in attendance and an active participant in the discussion.
“We’re having this national discussion about gun control, but the one thing everyone’s ignoring is what regulations have currently given us,” Newbern said. “Specifically gun-free zones, they give us nothing but areas where criminals get the upper hand.”
OSU’s campus is a gun-free zone where the concealed carry of weapons is prohibited. Buckeyes for Concealed Carry is a campus group that advocates for looser gun restrictions, and Ohio Students for Concealed Carry is planning to file a lawsuit against OSU for its gun policy.
OSU President E. Gordon Gee has spoken out against guns on campus, and said in a Sept. 10 interview with The Lantern he was “unequivocally opposed. I think that is a horrible idea on a university campus to be carrying guns. Period.”
Many attendees vocalized their side of the issue and debated their points but ultimately brought the conversation back to the economics of gun control.
Adrian Waikem, a third-year in accounting and FES treasurer, said she wanted everyone to see the different viewpoints on the issue.
“Our group has diversity,” Waikem said. “The conversation will go wherever they take it. I want everyone to be heard.”
Brad Ballard, a fourth-year in economics, said the economics surrounding gun control is complicated, and he does not personally own any guns.
“We want to try to decrease violence and crime, but the means to do it is quit complex,” Ballard said. “To have everyone have a weapon versus limit the weapons; it remains to be seen whether either of those two will meet the objective.”
The meeting did not come to any overall conclusions but Marein said he was happy with the result.
“We tried to structure the conversation a little more than we did (at the previous meeting)”, Marein said. “I think it turned out a little bit better, still some work to be done but it went well.”
At its previous meeting on Jan. 15, FES discussed the economics of legalizing drugs.
Marein said the organization will hold its next meeting in about a month to discuss anarchy.