Victoria Bresnahan – General Assignment Reporter
Zach Matto, a senior biochemistry major, said he went shooting for the first time with his father and fellow boy scouts when he was 10 years old.
“So, I was taught from a very early age how to be safe with firearms [and] how to respect the power that’s in your hands,” said Matto. “But also, the proper uses and the ways to use them. I enjoyed it—I grew up enjoying that.”
Matto said he recently underwent the rigorous process of obtaining a Connecticut pistol permit last year and plans to purchase his own gun once he has the money.
“Second amendment says both ‘well-regulated’ and ‘shall not be infringed’ so I have always been okay with regulations,” said Matto. “I did my due diligence, I went through the process, I went through the waiting period, I paid all the fees—I’m okay with that.”
Matto said he would fear others more than guns. He said the majority of gun owners are educated in the ‘three cardinal rules of firearm safety’: trigger discipline, muzzle discipline, and respect.
“So, respect is always treat a gun like its loaded even when its not,” said Matto. “Muzzle discipline [is when] the muzzle of the gun is never pointed in the direction of something you want to destroy. And trigger discipline is your fingers are never on the trigger until you’re actually ready to fire.”
Matto said being educated in these rules could potentially eliminate a majority of gun related accidents. Additionally, Matto said to mitigate gun violence the laws currently instilled should be properly enforced before new regulations are created.
“If you look, the laws that were actually on the books should have prevented this most recent shooting from happening,” said Matto, “and they were not properly enforced.”
Overall, Matto said human beings need community and a sense of belonging. Matto said that since most mass shooters are young boys, they need more role models.
“We are not meant to be islands unto ourselves,” said Matto. “Biologically and psychologically, [that] is not okay. I think that for one reason or another—probably for several different reasons—but society has kind of been alienating its young boys.”
Jessica DeGrandi, a student-veteran and collaborative education major, served for five and half years and was deployed twice to Iraq. She said she is upset about the current gun reform conversation.
“A gun is just an inanimate object that is used,” said DeGrandi. “Just like a bike, a knife. It gets me upset because so many of my friends are polarized.”
DeGrandi said it does not matter the size or type of gun—they are ultimately not the problem; the real problem are people.
“If you want stricter regulations than they should be background checks,” said DeGrandi. “Just to make sure that they don’t have nothing crazy on their record.”
Emily Stross, junior history secondary education major, said she recently found out her father keeps a gun in her home just in case something was to happen.
“I feel safer,” said Stross. “[If] I ever needed it, I would have access to it.”
Seeing police officers armed on campus would make her safer, she said. However, as someone learning how to become a teacher, she said she is unsure if educators should be trained on how to shoot.
“Personally, I think having a cop or two with a gun would be fine,” said Stross. “But the teachers—I don’t know if I could have that responsibility.”
Photo Credit: Victoria Bresnahan