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Panelists on WFPL’s In Conversation this week said gun violence should be addressed but were divided on whether stricter gun laws are the solution.
Our guests included:
- State Representative Jeffery Donohue
- Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition President Stephen McBride
- Paducah-based author Sarah Stewart Holland
Holland, a Paducah-based author who was a student at West Paducah’s Heath High School when three students were shot to death there in 1997, said the growing number of school shootings is unacceptable. Holland said she feels anxious taking her kids to school, and wants state and federal legislators to act.
“I don’t think anybody, whether you suffer through a school shooting or not, should have to suffer the anxiety that we all feel sending our children — or dealing with our children’s own anxiety in these shooting drills and when they watch the news and they worry about their own safety,” Holland said. “It feels like some type of prison.”
Representative Donohue and KCCC President McBride agreed something should be done about mass shootings, but they disagreed on whether stricter gun laws would address the issue.
Donohue said he plans to introduce a bill that would define and ban “weapons of mass destruction.” He said the bill would also include a program to buy assault weapons from people affected by the ban.
“There is no need for an assault weapon — for weapons of mass destruction in the United States. We’re not at war on our homeland,” Donohue said. “It’s our responsibility as adults and as legislators to put forth good gun regulations and we’re not doing that.”
McBride disagreed. McBride said such weapons are commonly used for hunting and that many people need guns to protect themselves.
“It’s not about the weapons, it’s about preserving life,” McBride said, adding that firearms are often used for defensive use. “The weakest and the most vulnerable of us need weapons to protect themselves. People that live in some areas of the country have no access to law enforcement.”
Listen to the full episode in the audio player above, and join In Conversation next week as we talk about the Define American Summit in Louisville.