Gun control, gun rights, and Second Amendment panel set for Wednesday

gun culture poster image

A panel of gun advocates, gun opponents, and Constitutional experts will discuss gun control, gun rights, and Second Amendment issues Wednesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Colleges Nine and Ten Multipurpose Room on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The program is free and open to the public.

The "Gun Culture Roundtable" is sponsored by the Co-curricular Programs unit at College Nine and College Ten and will be moderated by UCSC sociology professor Craig Reinarman.

Access to and restriction of firearms is one of the most contentious social issues in the United States.  The nation is unique in the degree to which people have access to firearms, and the Second Amendment states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." Adding to the complexity, gun laws vary widely from state to state. The debate heightens every time another mass shooting happens.

Panelists scheduled to discuss these issues are Guy Smith, an independent gun policy researcher and creator of the Gun Facts Project; Adam Winkler, UCLA professor of law and specialist in American Constitutional law; Harry Salzberg, attorney and president of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Brady Campaign; and Walter Stockwell, founding member of the Liberal Gun Club Northern California Chapter.

Smith, an independent gun policy researcher for 15 years, is creator and editor of the Gun Facts project, described as a resource for removing misinformation from the gun control debate. He also has published Shooting The Bull, a field guide to identifying propaganda in real-time, and one that uses the gun control debate as a case study.

Winkler is a specialist in American constitutional law. His scholarship touches upon a diverse array of topics such as the right to bear arms, corporate political speech rights, affirmative action, judicial independence, constitutional interpretation, corporate social responsibility, international economic sanctions, and campaign finance law. Along with professor Ken Karst of the UCLA School of Law and the late Pulitzer Prize-winning legal historian Leonard Levy, Winkler edited the six-volume Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (2nd edition).  His book Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America was published in 2011.

Salzberg is an attorney living in Santa Cruz County who has served as the president of the Santa Cruz County Chapter of Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence since 2009.

Stockwell is a native Californian, gun owner, and a registered Green party member. He is a founding member of the Liberal Gun Club, Northern California Chapter, a group started to provide a home for gun owners who find they don't fit in with the other gun culture. He earned a Ph.D. in particle astrophysics at UC Berkeley.

 Since 2004, the Co-curricular Programs unit at College Nine and College Ten, UCSC has facilitated debates and roundtable discussions addressing some of the most challenging and controversial topics of our time. These programs have offered a platform where experts with widely differing viewpoints have debated topics including affirmative action, the war in Iraq, abortion rights, marriage equality, animals in research, military recruitment at public institutions, and most recently–free speech at college campuses.  

In each case, presenters have articulated their perspective and respectfully challenged opposing viewpoints. Students have benefited by gaining a deeper understanding of the complexity and depth of the issues presented, as well as through observing the respectful discourse and debate skills modeled on the stage.