Questions and Answers With Student Gun Owners
April 30, 2018
In the wake of a mass school shooting and in the midst of one of the biggest pro-gun control movements in the nation’s history, The Point was able to locate the minority in this situation and conduct an interview with them. Seniors Elliot Ellis and Donald Mclung share their thoughts on guns, gun culture and the current issues surrounding gun control.
Question: What is your purpose for owning a gun or multiple guns?
Ellis: As of right now, it is mainly to go hunting and target shooting, a type of shooting sport. When I’m older and able to carry a concealed weapon, the purpose will shift more towards protection.
Mclung: For me, the reasons are for protection and hunting. I also like to participate in target shooting. I like the feeling of going to a range and firing off a couple of rounds.
Question: Who taught you how to use a gun?
Ellis: I was taught by my father, who has the skills of a range master. I also took a gun safety course through Florida Fish and Wildlife when I first got my hunting license. Through this course, I was able to familiarize myself with crossbows, shotguns and other types of weapons.
Mclung: I learned mostly from my father and brother. My father has been around guns a long time, so he knows how to properly use them. He even knows how to take apart a gun and reassemble it.
Question: Can you describe the feelings you have when you hunt and target shoot?
Ellis: A lot of people say they get a sense of adrenaline from the sports, but I don’t. I get this feeling of success when I hit the bullseye, especially since I have difficulty seeing.
Mclung: After the first few times I took part in the sports, I became satisfied. Why? Because I gained this skillset that many people don’t have, so it’s satisfying to do things properly. These skills are so crucial not only for these activities, but also for the protection of myself and the people around me. With my skills, I can prevent causing accidental deaths.
Question: Do you believe there are any misconceptions about hunting?
Ellis: There are very negative perceptions about hunting, but hunting actually comes with many benefits. One, hunting regulates the environment as it lessens the animal population, which lessens the chance of unwanted animal-human interaction and keeps animals in their domain. Two, hunters are very respectable when it comes to treating the animals.
Question: Do you think the U.S. has had a cultural change with guns?
Ellis: Yes, there has been a major cultural change with guns. Back in the 1950s and 60s, it was common to have guns out in the public. My dad and his friends would have guns in the back of their trucks. But they all used them properly, but nowadays most people don’t know that much about guns.
Question: Moving onto the topic of mass shootings, Gunman Nikolas Cruz of the Parkland shooting was said to be an avid gamer. The interest in gaming has been seen in many mass shooters. Do you think video games involving guns inflict a violent tendency within people?
Ellis: No, because many people I know, including me, have never felt this need to go shoot up a place. This is because video games are cartoonish and far from reality, so that feeling to shoot up a place is not real. When I’m playing video games that include combat and weaponry, I’m very calm. Also, people say that they make you lonely and less empathetic. I have to disagree because I for one made a friend from Canada through playing a video game and met him last December at Disney World. With him, I’m able to talk about anything. As for the Parkland shooter, I don’t think there’s a correlation between his past activity of playing violent video games and him shooting up a school.
Mclung: I have to disagree with Ellis, I believe there is a correlation. Video games that incorporate violence can desensitize people because they become use to the idea of killing people, even if it’s virtually. Also, video games can look very real. However, I don’t think video games are the main cause of people mass shooting.
Question: What are your thoughts on the AR-15, the weapon commonly used in mass shootings and bears the nickname of assault rifle?
Ellis: The AR-15 is only controversial because the left has made it that way. Many don’t know this but AR stands for Armalite rifle, which is the name of the company that developed it, not assault rifle. Also, it does not have a military style, it’s a sporting rifle.
Mclung: To add onto what Ellis said, many say that the AR-15 is similar to the M16, which was a military grade weapon used in the Vietnam War, but that’s wrong. The M16 was made to be more violent, while the AR-15 wasn’t.
Question: In your opinion, why is the AR-15 the most used gun by mass shooters?
Ellis: I honestly can’t tell you why because there’s many guns that give off the same amount of power.
Mclung: I think it’s because of bump stocks. Bump stocks give semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 to shoot almost as fast as a machine gun. In the Las Vegas shooting, a bump stock was used on the AR-15, which allowed the shooter to kill the most amount of people in mass shooting history.
Question: Are there any guns similar to the AR-15?
Ellis: The Springfield Sporting rifle, which is a wooden rifle that operates like the AR-15. They just have different appearances since the AR-15 was built to look intimidating.
Question: How do you feel about the recent Florida Law that raises the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21?
Ellis: I’m against it wholeheartedly. At the core, I am a libertarian, which means I support little government involvement and regulations on anything. How come 18-year-olds can risk their lives in war, but they can’t buy a gun? Doesn’t make any sense.
Mclung: The law doesn’t sit well with me. At 18, many people are going off to college, which increases their chance of being around danger since they’re leaving their families. However, it is harder for them to protect themselves because they are unable to buy a gun.
Question: What are your views on gun control laws?
Ellis: I view most unconstitutional, but at the same time I’m torn. On one side I want to say that the government should have no involvement when it comes to guns. On the other side, I don’t want laws to be ridiculously easy to the point that guns can end up in the wrong hands, especially the hands of the mentally ill.
Mclung: I think laws that prohibit the rights of 18-year-olds are unconstitutional. By law, you become an adult when you’re 18, so you should be able to buy a gun and carry a concealed weapon. However, I do agree with some gun control laws, such as mental health checks.