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Gun Show Prevails Despite Recent Tragedies

by PAIGE JOHNSON

The yearly gun show was back in Tampa this weekend and many people are wondering in light of the Las Vegas shooting if it should have happened.

With mass shootings at an all-time high in the United States, the topics of guns, gun control and public safety are becoming large conversations in the classrooms at UT. Many students at the university watched as the recent Las Vegas shooting unfold live via Snapchat and social media outlets, giving them an up-close and personal view of the tragedy that killed 58 people and injured more than 500.

The morning after the shooting, Ryan Cragun, associate professor of sociology, spoke to his class about the events that had unfolded the night before.

“I didn’t ask the students for their opinions,” Cragun said, “I allowed them to express any emotions they were feeling. The general sentiment was that the shooting was horrible and a tragedy. However, I also don’t think anyone was shocked by the shooting, which would suggest that we are becoming numb to these kinds of shootings.”

Cragun said he didn’t know about the gun show, however, he was not surprised and believes that having guns is a constitutional right and there should not be any restrictions on the show. Blaine Birch, a senior business management major at UT, agreed with Cragun.

“Guns aren’t the problem, it’s the people that use them that are the problem,” Birch said. “Just because one bad thing happened thousands of miles away that doesn’t mean a gun show that takes place on a yearly basis should be cancelled.”

Different professors spoke about the Las Vegas shooting in different capacities. Joseph Wisinski, adjunct professor of communications, spoke to his students about the media coverage on the shooting.

Wisinski said he used the tragedy as an example of how media covers the news and he discussed what the media did well and what they could have done better. Wisinski was aware of the gun show taking place in Tampa this weekend, and while he thinks the show should go on, he also thinks some extra precautions could be made.

 “A metal detector should be set up at all entrances,” Wisinski said. “However, beyond that, I doubt many precautions will be necessary. The vendors will have guns and ammunition and if anyone, whether they’re a vendor or a visitor, were to fire a gun they would be fired on.”

  Not everyone is as accepting of the return of the gun show to Tampa. Jacy Sterritt, a sophomore and economics major at UT is anti-gun.

“While the Vegas shooting may have been thousands of miles away I don’t think it’s necessary to welcome the threat of gun violence into our city with such open arms. The gun show should at the very least be postponed until more appropriate precautions can be made,” said Sterritt.

Paige Johnson can be reached at paige.johnson@spartans.ut.edu

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