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Panel at SU discusses 'Guns and America'

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Panel at SU discusses 'Guns and America'
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What to do about the increasing incidents of gun violence in this country? That's a question many people including Congress and community activists are trying to answer. Tuesday, representatives from all sides of the issue came together at Syracuse University to discuss 'Guns and America.' Panelists ranged from a shooting victim to a gun owner. Our Iris St. Meran shares each one's personal connections to guns.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- 2012 Syracuse University graduate Stephen Barton was on a cross country trip last summer. One of his stops was in Aurora, Colorado, where he went to see 'Dark Knight Rises' with friends. He became a victim, now survivor of the mass shooting at the theater.

Barton said, "I was hit in the head and torso by a shotgun blast before I even fully realized what was happening."

Barton shared his story Tuesday night as one of five panelists discussing 'Guns and America.' He was joined by a former NRA Lobbyist, forensic psychiatrist, the former president of Mothers Against Gun Violence among others. There was no finger pointing here, but more of a sharing of personal experience including on behalf of gun owners.

"No one likes gun violence. We don't like gun violence. Not only do we have to witness and in some cases be the victim of that violence, but then we have the rights of something we care deeply about trampled as an alleged remedy,” said former National Rifle Association Lobbyist Scott Armstrong.

Armstrong himself has worked with the boy scouts and traveled to Newtown, Connecticut in support of Benjamin Wheeler, the six-year-old Cub Scout killed in the school shooting. Although they bring different experience and opinions, ultimately their goals are the same.

"We all care about our families, we all care about our loved ones and we're all just talking about the best way to keep our children and other people as safe as possible," said Barton.

The solution begins with diverse discussions like this one, where everyone is heard.

Discussions like this are taking place on many college campuses. SUNY Cortland held one similar on its campus earlier this month. SU plans to have more organized debates about guns and gun laws in the future.

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