Delegates discuss ways to ‘Make America Safe Again’ at RNC


Republican delegates congregate in the Quicken Loans Arena for the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention in downtown Cleveland on Monday, July 18, 2016. 

Alex Delaney-Gesing & Stephen Means

Following the events of the last few weeks and days, the nation’s experience and awareness of gun control has grown exponentially.

Appropriately, gun control and safety were among the hot topics of discussion for the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. With “Make America Safe Again” serving as the day’s theme, GOP delegates and Millennials alike expressed their opposing views on the nation’s current gun laws.

“I believe it’s our second amendment right to carry arms,” Holly Carpenter, a New York delegate, said. “Responsible gun control is okay, but I think sometimes some of the laws they pass make us unsafe, not safer.”

New York gun laws allow a person to carry licensed handguns, but with the understanding that permits are not recognized statewide. Failure to provide proof of a valid permit is considered a felony and could result in prison time.

With Sunday’s shooting in Louisiana that resulted in the deaths of three Baton Rouge police officers, the issue of gun control is a fresh subject in people’s minds.

Fellow New York delegate Joyce Giuffra voiced that as a mother raising three children in an urban area, gun control is a major concern for her.

“As a resident of New York City for 18 years with three children, I’m very much for gun control,” she said. “Living in an urban area—especially raising three children—I think it’s a very dangerous thing and there should be serious limits in terms of gun control and also on background checks.”

Not every delegate had the same views as Giuffra or Carpenter. Some believe that much of the problem with guns in America stems from the type of people in possession of the firearm.

Delegate Stephen Toth, Texas, and Jack Spooner, Missouri, claimed that they believe there is nothing wrong with the current gun laws. However, they said the process individuals must go through to obtain a firearm must be revamped.

“I think the gun laws are fine and should stay where they are,” Spooner said. “The only issue that I’m (concerned with) is the background check and the way they allow guns in certain circumstances.”

Toth shared Spooner’s sentiment on the citizen’s right to bear arms.  

“A gun is an inanimate object,” Toth said. “If I were home in Texas I would have one in my pocket and the wild thing is that it behaves all day long. So let’s allow law abiding citizens to have guns.”

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has voiced his advocacy for the Second Amendment. His campaign website supports that claim by stating “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon.”

Akron residents Allison Simon, 17, and Austin Hawk, 18, shared their own opinions on the plans Trump has for the nation regarding gun control.

“The laws are terrible right now,” Hawk said. “I think they definitely need to (be cracked) down on.”

Although a revision on the laws is needed, Hawk said, Trump’s plans for gun control mirror the rest of his campaign: “insane.”

Contact Alex Delaney-Gesing at [email protected] and Stephen Means at [email protected].