Letter: Free speech and guns

Editor:

Our group, the Second Amendment Students of Utah, participated in the Impact Day event Sept. 5 with a table that included a display of firearm replicas.

It is important to note that we had thoughtful discussion and took careful consideration before deciding to include the replicas in our display. We chose to do so because we felt that this would help to advance our group’s purpose to promote gun education and safety and would provide a forum for healthy discussion and education of pertinent gun issues. The display let people know at a glance what our group was about — we didn’t get any more “Which amendment is that?” questions after the replicas were displayed — and sparked lively discussions. (Incidentally, Bob Kubichek, my offer still stands: Donate a replica firearm that isn’t “scary,” and I’ll let you choose which model we leave out of future displays.)

There is an old saying that applies here: Exposure increases tolerance. There are many at the university who have a visceral dislike of guns, and who, frankly, are not very tolerant of gun owners or concealed weapon permit holders. I was saddened to see Spencer Pearson, ASUU president, initially try to squelch our right to freedom of expression. The First Amendment protects speech and expression — even when it might be offensive or make people feel uncomfortable. I hope that Spencer understands that valuable lesson better now.

I was glad to see that in the end, the correct decision was reached (U legal counsel finally got something right!) and free speech won out. I hope that exposure to our display will lead to a long-term increase in tolerance for the right to keep and bear arms in our campus community.

Brent Tenney Senior, Information Systems

Second AmendmentStudents of Utah