Gun control continues to be a hot topic in our nation. West Texans had a chance to hear opinions from both sides of the issue during a debate in Midland. Doctor John Lott and Doctor Michael Shermer came to the Permian Basin to give their insight on this hot topic at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center on Thursday night.
"First of all, the idea of arming students to the teeth just to make sure that one bad guy doesn't come on campus and do damage has potentially far greater negative consequences," Dr. Michael Shermer, who is for gun control, said.
"What you find is that permit holders at any place are extremely law abiding. I mean these people lose their permits for any type firearms related violation at hundreds or thousands of one percentage points," Dr. John Lott, who's supports gun rights, said.
Dr. Shermer won't budge, he believes there are other avenues to reduce the level of violence without having every single citizen owning a gun. However Doctor Lott suggest guns are for self-protection from both crime and tyranny.
"There are examples of people who have stopped them without having a gun. Like the guy at the Debbie Gifford shooting, when he dropped the clip and the entire kernel jumped on him," Shermer said.
"But what would you rather do. Would you rather go up against somebody if you were unarmed?" Lott said.
According to the FBI's crime reports between 2007 to 2011, there were 46,313 reports where firearms were used. Over 33,000 handguns were used in those murders.
"While it's understandable that people might think places are safer by banning guns in areas, what you intentionally end up doing is actually serving as a magnet to bad things to happen," Lott said.
"What we're really talking about here are Sandy Hook events. That is extremely rare, their called black swan events, extremely rare and unpredictable," Shermer said.
In Washington, the Senate takes up gun control legislation next month, it will include an expansion of federal background checks for firearms buyers. The announcement by Majority Leader Harry Reid is considered a victory for advocates of gun restrictions. Opponents, including the NRA, say background checks are easily sidestepped by criminals.