Q&A with UMKC’s Historic Gun Club: gun safety and approaches

Following recent mass shootings, many news outlets get caught up in showcasing anti-gun content. For the sake of journalistic integrity and general curiosity, U-News contributor Emily Williams interviewed two leaders of UMKC’s Historic Gun Club. These leaders were senior history and chemistry major Ryan Nash, president of the Historic Gun Club, alongside Timothy Powell, senior biology major and second vice president of the club.

 

Q: How did you get involved with the Historic Gun Club?

Nash: I started the club about a year and a half ago, I have a lot of family members who are war vets. When my grandpa passed away, I inherited a few guns of his. It made me want to start a club because of my dual love for history and science. Since then we have grown to 70+ members and have a lot of faculty support.

Powell: I got involved by walking through the hall and saying, “What is this on the wall?” It said UMKC Historic Gun Club and I thought, “no way.” I called him right then and there and asked how I could get involved. I’m a Marine veteran and have always had a fascination for firearms. Mixing it into science and technology and my affinity for history made it a good fit.

Q: How difficult is it for you to see the media bashing all gun owners following mass shootings?

Nash: It’s a very small minority of people who abuse the guns. While every life is tragic, when you have 250,000 people dying from malpractice, you have 450,000 dying from cigarettes, it’s very disproportional. If a drunk driver buys a car and gets in the wreck, we don’t blame the car, we don’t blame Budweiser and demand a ban. But immediately after a situation that is [gun-related], such as Parkland, where there were many failures by law enforcement and community, there is an immediate call to ban firearms, a very knee-jerk reaction.

Powell: I dislike it because I am a veteran. I fought to protect the Constitution, and it clearly states right there what [the Second Amendment] is and I stick by that. The reason why we have such animosity going on right now is because something does need to change. There are certain things that all of us can agree on. We need to find our common ground and go off of that. Having my right stripped because of some bad apple somewhere else? I don’t like that at all. People use modern firearms for recreational purposes, to have fun.

Q: How do you feel about the media’s coverage of mass shooters and the media contagion effect?

Nash: They want that infamy, unfortunately. That’s something that needs to be addressed, and we need news sites to change the coverage of the shooter. Fame and infamy can be very appealing to those who don’t have much going for them.

Powell: What we should do is have a moral obligation to say that we aren’t going to glorify this individual on mainstream news sites. Someone can easily decide that they can do it as well.

Q: Do you think we should arm teachers?

Nash: I am somewhat supportive of this. My brother’s a teacher, he’s very capable. I know he would without a doubt sacrifice his life to save his children whether he had a weapon or not. But I had two teachers, one was a Marine and the other was an Army medic, very physically fit. I would trust them to have it. If a teacher wanted to arm themselves, and they were trained to do so, I would have no problem doing that.

Powell: I don’t think we have the funds necessary to do it. You can say without a shadow of a doubt that someone would sacrifice themselves. But until that fight-or-flight response actually happens and that person is coming down the hallway, you have no idea what people are going to do. I’d much rather invest in private security, their job is to protect the students, not educate the students.

Q: What do you want students to know about the Historic Gun Club?

Nash: We do a lot of fun, we do a lot of history education. We welcome anyone, no matter their stance on guns. We will teach, and have taught, a diverse group of people how to handle and shoot a gun safely. I hope through this other students read it and think, “I’m not going to go there and feel this “gun-timidation.” We want to learn, have fun and educate people. If people just get past the response and just listen to each other, there’s middle ground on anything.

Powell: We just try to provide an environment for students from all walks of life to come in and appreciate what we love and share it. That we don’t push an agenda, we want to educate people on the background of guns, gun safety and how to use them. It’s always fun and nobody is pushing you to do it, if it’s not your cup of tea you can stop. I think if people took away the social stigma and just came out, talked to us, and gave us a shot, they might change their mind.

 

egw352@mail.umkc.edu

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