Gun control event debates different experiences, viewpoints

Experts Juan Pacheco and Robert Farago debate the issue of gun control.

When it comes to discussing gun control, you can expect a few loaded questions.

University of Tennessee students experienced a night of firearms education and debate on Wednesday as experts Juan Pacheco and Robert Farago discussed the issue of gun control in the Cox Auditorium of the Alumni Memorial Building. Pacheco, a former gang member and gun control advocate, exchanged ideas with Farago, a National Rifle Association member and firearms blogger, during the Issues Committee organized event.

“I’m not okay with our rights being taken away, but I’m also not ok with losing young people,” said Pacheco, drawing attention to the gun violence that frequently ravages underprivileged youth in America.

Admitting that he was “not a lawyer,” Pacheco cited statistics that related high levels of gun ownership to increased crime, murder and domestic abuse instances across the country in an effort to convey his point.

For Farago, the issue of gun violence was not one to pin on lawful gun owners. Despite a past gun-related suicide of a close friend, Farago chose to never “’blame his (friend’s) father for legally owning a firearm, nor did I blame the tool that my friend chose to end his own life.”

Robert argued that if Americans could “transform the debate (of gun control) away from the tool” and towards the underlying issues behind violence, the problem of gun violence could easily be resolved.

Meg Landon, a sophomore in neuroscience and secretary of the Issues Committee, sees the event as an opportunity for students to experience two very differing viewpoints in a respectful fashion.

“We see a lot of gun related violence, and I think people on both sides of the argument would agree that this violence is a problem,” Landon said. “They have different solutions in mind, so it is important to open a civil dialogue in order to come to the best solution.”

For more information on Issues Committee events, click here.

Edited by Jessica Carr