Schapiro, ASG continue push for gun control

Both ASG and President Morton Schapiro are pushing legislators to support gun control measures. Despite backlash from some students, they believe it is an issue the institution needs to address.

Daily file photo by Cat Zakrzewski

Both ASG and President Morton Schapiro are pushing legislators to support gun control measures. Despite backlash from some students, they believe it is an issue the institution needs to address.

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant In Focus Editor

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In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, University President Morton Schapiro and Associated Student Government voiced support for increased gun control. Now, both Schapiro and ASG are attempting to follow through.

Schapiro told The Daily in a meeting Thursday he was going to Springfield soon to discuss concealed carry laws. ASG recently reached out to more than 50 universities to sign a letter calling on government officials to support increased gun control measures.

Schapiro said he has plans to travel to Springfield to discuss gun control with representatives because he believes for an issue as important as gun control, he needs to meet with representatives and “look them in the eye.” He said he wants to ensure concealed carrier weapons are illegal on college campuses.

“We’re really trying to get a (caveat) for exempting higher (education) institutions,” Schapiro said. “This is a big deal in Springfield.”

Schapiro said many university presidents sign petitions for these issues, but although he does read many of the petitions, he does not sign them. If he thinks the issue is important, he finds it more effective to write op-eds or have individual meetings in Springfield and Washington, D.C.

“Fortunately, as president of Northwestern, a lot of people will (agree to meet),” Schapiro said.

Schapiro said this was an institutional issue, despite complaints from some that the University should not be taking a stance on politically divisive issues.

“If the state of Illinois allows students to take guns into the classroom, that affects us directly,” Schapiro said.

ASG received similar backlash from students when it decided to address gun control in a resolution passed at a February Senate meeting. Several students, including the president of College Republicans, spoke out against ASG involving itself in issues that do not represent the beliefs of all Northwestern students.

ASG representatives have taken that criticism into account, as a committee of six members composed the letter calling government representatives to support increased gun control. Steven Monacelli, ASG vice president for community relations, is leading the committee.

“I’m optimistic,” Monacelli, a former Daily staffer, said.“There hasn’t been any real negative reaction.”

So far, the Communication senior said, they have received a signature from the student government at DePaul University. Loyola University Chicago and Carleton College have requested more information. But Weinberg junior Alex Deitchman, who serves as an off-campus senator, said the response from most schools has been disappointing. Monacelli attributed struggles to get others involved with the issue to the fact that other schools were on spring break when the letter was initially mailed out, and some student governments were concerned about taking a position on partisan issues.

“The original incentive of the resolution was to have it be a statement from Northwestern,” said Deitchman, explaining that ASG would move forward with the letter with or without support from other universities.

Deitchman said the letter would be sent out to congressman and senators, particularly those on judiciary committees, likely within the next week. He emphasized that the letter is representative of NU. He said he personally does not support most gun control initiatives, but during the letter-writing process he tried to put his personal opinions aside.

“I tried to represent as most closely what the Northwestern student body feels and not what I feel personally,” Deitchman said.

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