Solon Alumni speak out against KSU gun rights protest

Police officers stand, ready to intervene during the pro-gun walk on the Kent State campus. Photo Credit: https://media.wkyc.com/assets/WKYC/images/599390334/599390334_1140x641.jpg

Police officers stand, ready to intervene during the pro-gun walk on the Kent State campus. Photo Credit: https://media.wkyc.com/assets/WKYC/images/599390334/599390334_1140x641.jpg

Matt Ponikvar, Contributing Writer

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rOn Sept. 29, a pro-gun walk was held at Kent State University (KSU) led by gun rights activists and KSU grad and gun rights activist, Kaitlyn Bennett. The event was a tense demonstration after counter-protesters confronted the participants of the walk who were carrying holstered firearms in support of open carry laws. It led to four arrests with four charges of disorderly conduct and one charge of assaulting a police officer, according to Cleveland.com.

Bennett’s cause for starting the rally was to inform students and gun owners on campus of their right to open carry without discrimination.

“I think it’s disgusting,” Bennett told ABC News 5, referring to the treatment of gun supporters. “I wish they would not portray gun owners and students who support the second amendment in such a nasty light.”

The issue with guns in America has heated up over the past year due to the abundance of mass shootings. As of June 28, there have been 154 mass shootings in 2018, according to Business Insider.

Earlier this year, Solon High School (SHS) students participated in a national walkout to show solidarity and demand stricter gun laws to prevent school shootings. That was a stark contrast to the views represented in the rally that occured on KSU’s campus.

But what about the students who were not a part of the protest? What are their thoughts on this whole situation? I caught up with some Solon High School alumni who are now students at KSU to see how it affected campus life.

Holly Mocsiran is a junior at KSU who feels the walk did more harm than good. She was walking to her car getting ready to leave the campus when she saw all of the commotion.

“I guess it’s their right to protest but seeing a lot of angry looking people with guns holstered over their shoulders is kind of disturbing to say the least,” said Mocsiran.

Mocsiran went on to mention the Parkland school shooting earlier this year, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that sent shockwaves throughout the country.

“It just doesn’t seem appropriate, especially with what happened in Florida,” Mocsiran said. “That’s such a fresh wound to reopen right now.”

With that being said, there are students who forgot the walk was even happening Saturday, Blake Baird, a senior at KSU, is one of those students.

“I totally forgot about it until a bunch of my friends were taking pictures and talking about it in our group chat,” said Baird. “With that being said, it didn’t come as a shock because all the students got some emails about it from the administrators about safety and not causing any violence with the protestors or the cops.”

Baird continued on what he thought about the protest itself.

“I mean, I don’t agree with their message, but it is their right to protest as long as they don’t cause trouble,” Baird said.

Heavily armed police were present to make sure that no one caused trouble during the walk.

Erin McNamara, KSU Sophomore, was walking to the library to look for a book when she saw the law enforcement present.

“I love Kent because it’s a really open and chill environment,” said McNamara. “Seeing [the police] while minding my own business made it feel like the opposite.”

Some would agree seeing heavily armed police officers on KSU’s campus would conjure up some deja vu, harkening back the Kent State shootings in 1970. McNamara said she feels KSU isn’t the right place for this protest.

“It’s kind of ridiculous for them to protest guns rights at a place where innocent people were killed by guns,” said McNamara. “It’s pretty ironic.”

The protest came almost six months after the Parkland shooting and five months after the walkout at SHS. The talk around gun control is not nearly as rampant as it was then, but the KSU walk is a big reminder that it has done anything but subside.

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