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PROTECT THE SECOND AMENDMENT

Students at Liberty for Gun Rights educate others on the right to bear arms

The student-run Liberty University club Students at Liberty for Gun Rights (SL4GR) recently hosted several tabling events in the Jerry Falwell Library and the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. Club members, headed by founder and president Jordan Stein, ran the information tables to educate people about Second Amendment rights.

Bear Arms — Students in SL4GR gather in support of the Second Ammendment. Photo credit: Michela Diddle

Coming up on their third year, SL4GR and its efforts have remained steady since Liberty’s pro-gun policies were announced in December.

“Having guns in dorms is something we’ve been pushing for,” Stein said. “Our dorms were gun-free zones, and I feel that the most dangerous place on campus is a gun-free zone.”

Stein said there is no correlation between the proposed lifted ban and his recent tabling events.

“I’m glad people are thinking about us now,” Stein said. “We’re something that’s been going on before (this year).”

Stein started SL4GR in 2013. Sander Smith, the public relations officer for SL4GR, helped Stein start the club after they met in an evangelism class. The club has since burgeoned to 80 active members and an email list of more than 600.

Smith said the only difficulty the club has experienced was procedural pushback and the resultant lack of funding from Liberty’s Student Government Association (SGA), as they perceived SL4GR to be a political group.

However, SL4GR is not officially affiliated with any national organizations, such as the National Rifle Association, but the club has worked with Virginia Citizen’s Defense League for events.

“We’ve worked with national organizations before, but we’re not tied to them,” Stein said.

He clarified that the club tries not to adhere to any one-sided political ideology, since the gun issue is a wide and polarizing one. SL4GR adheres only to the Constitution, Smith said.

“Whatever view you have, you shouldn’t have to argue with something laid out in the Bill of Rights,” Smith said. “A lot of people think we’re a gun club just because we like to shoot at (the range) and talk about guns. It’s more about helping people understand that (bearing arms) is their right and it should not be infringed.”

The purpose of SL4GR, according to its officers, is to encourage people inside and outside of the Liberty community to learn about and appreciate gun rights.

“We want to convince people that (bearing arms) is a God-given right, not just a right given by the Constitution,” Smith said. “Every person should have the right to defend themselves against anyone — enemies, criminals, even our own government if we have to.”

The club’s members ultimately hope that gun laws, both locally and nationally, get to a point where people do not need to even apply for a concealed carry permit.

Remso Martinez, editor and lead contributor for SL4GR’s blog, used an illustration of floors to describe Liberty’s position on firearms. While the “tenth floor” of zero-permit is virtually unattainable, being on the fifth or sixth floor of limited gun rights seems better than being at the bottom with none at all.

“You shouldn’t have to ask to defend yourself,” Martinez said. “We have an opportunity here (at Liberty) to take advantage of the fact that we are one of the few concealed-carry campuses in America, so we have the freedom and outlet to go out and discuss this.”

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Liberty criminal justice student and event coordinator for SL4GR Tim Falasca is optimistic about Liberty’s firearm policy and the potential changes to occur for residence halls.

“You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, and I think that you have to sometimes fight fire with fire,” Falasca said. “When you see all these college campuses that prevent firearms being on the campus, those are gun-free zones. Only law-abiding citizens obey gun-free zone. Criminals, by default, don’t obey laws. They commit crimes. So therefore, if you have some college campus that’s prohibiting firearms … they’re magnets for people for who have otherwise violent intentions. So the best counter to a violent person is not necessarily a police officer because police are minutes away when seconds count. The best counter to a violent person with a firearm is a good person with a firearm.”

SL4GR meets twice a month on Thursday evenings. Falasca encourages any student who shows interest in gun rights to attend a meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in DeMoss Hall 4084.

Written by Jordan Jarrett and Shannon Ritter. Originally posted at the Liberty Champion.

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