According to LSA sophomore Eric Plourde, the right to own guns is “the most attacked civil liberty.” That’s why his group, the University chapter of the College Libertarians, is holding a raffle tonight for a $200 gift certificate toward the purchase of a gun at the Mill Creek Sports Center in Dexter, Mich.
Gun control on college campuses became a national issue after the April Virginia Tech shootings, which left 33 people dead.
“There’s a lot of controversy because of Virginia Tech,” Plourde said. “People who support gun control said they (guns) were too easy to get and people on our side said that if students had guns, they could protect themselves.”
Plourde is quick to point to examples of incidents when students defended themselves from assailants through the use of firearms.
“We feel that people are safer when they can defend themselves,” Plourde said.
The University’s chapter of the College Libertarians held a similar event in April of 2006; an alum in attendance won the gun voucher.
Similar gun giveaways or raffles have sparked controversies on other campuses across the country. Three years ago, at the University of Illinois, protesters demonstrated as a conservative political journal on campus raffled off three guns. Last year, a conservative newspaper at Clemson University held a similar drawing for two rifles, including an AK-47.
The Libertarian Party’s platform argues that governments often interfere with a citizen’s right to self-defense by passing gun control laws that are justified as a way to reduce violence in society.
LSA junior Chris Irvine, chair of the University chapter of College Republicans, said the event was not necessarily something his organization would do, but he understood why libertarians would.
“My initial reaction was that the event seemed very in line with the libertarian belief that people have the right to own weapons,” Irvine said. “As a Republican, I am fully in favor of Second Amendment rights.”
Irvine said that ultimately the responsibility of gun ownerships lies with the owner.
LSA senior Sam Harper, chair of the University chapter of College Democrats, said his group doesn’t have a single stance on gun issues.
Asked whether more guns would help lead to a safer campus, Harper responded, “The presence of guns wouldn’t necessarily help that.”
Harper said that the best way to increase campus safety is to build an “inclusive and aware community” in Ann Arbor.