‘A better conversation on guns’: Seemingly opposed student orgs sit down for a civil debate


The “Better Conversation on Guns” hosted by UK Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and UK Sandy Hook promise is livestreamed in Whitehall on April 24, 2018. Photo by Rick Childress | Staff

Jacob Eads

In a well-tempered pitting, two seemingly diametric campus organizations worked together to hold a public forum about all things guns.

UK’s chapter of Sandy Hook Promise and the UK Students for Concealed Carry on Campus met Tuesday night to host a “better conversation on guns” for the campus community.

“Our goal in doing this was really to have the type of conversation that we wish people off campus were having,” said UKSCCC President Scott Thalman.

Four UK students sat on the panel and accepted questions from the audience. Scott Thalman and Taylor Mullins represented UKSCCC, and Nicole Funk and Maeve Hoppen were part of Sandy Hook Promise.

Tempers didn’t flare. Blows were never exchanged. Both groups admitted that their opposing viewpoints were to be expected, but the real importance of the discussion was education.  

Students for Concealed Carry is a national organization stemming from the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that advocates for “legal concealed carry on college campuses in the United States as an effective means of self-defense.”

The representing panelists from UKSCCC quickly planted a flag for their position that legally licensed permit holders should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on UK’s campus, but the topic ultimately focused on legislation dealing with gun regulation.

The Sandy Hook Promise members questioned the accuracy of state-issued  background checks, and at times called for stronger blanket gun regulations.

Sandy Hook Promise is a national organization founded in order to “honor all victims of gun violence, by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation by providing programs and practices that protect children and prevent the senseless, tragic loss of life,” according to their website.

Hoppen said that she thought everybody in the room, including herself, was more likely to do some research following the conversation.

UK mining engineering major Brad Smith said he had hoped the night’s discussion would foster a culture of change, but that one thing was missing from the meeting.

“I was kind of hoping to see more representation from the administration,” Smith said.

A video of the debate can be found on the UKSCCC Facebook page.