Democrats want a gun panel program

Alyssa Coleman, News Editor

Pitt-Johnstown College Democrats’ club members are trying to arrange for a speakers’ panel on campus to discuss gun violence and gun control.

According to club treasurer Sophia Lewis, club members originally wanted to have a school shooting survivor speak, but changed plans after the club was not allocated money to transport the speaker.

At a Feb. 4 student government meeting, Lewis requested $2,250 to buy a plane ticket to fly a student from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a shooting was carried out Feb. 14, 2018.

Senators voted on whether to allocate the club the amount, and the majority voted against it.

Lewis said, due to limited funds, club members decided to arrange for a survivor from closer to campus to come speak.

“We’re not upset we couldn’t get a student from Parkland up here,” Lewis said.  

“We, as a club, then decided it would be better to bring a more local survivor to campus to speak to draw more attention to local survivors.

“We talked about the possibility of bringing a survivor from the Tree of Life shooting,”Lewis said.

She said more students may relate to a survivor from Pittsburgh.

Club President Molly Verostick said it was a unanimous decision by club members to bring speakers to campus.

“Earlier in the year, Rob Conroy from CeaseFirePA attended a club meeting and spoke, and he was such an excellent speaker that he inspired us to host a speaking panel about gun violence and gun laws,” Verostick said.

Verostick said the panel is to consist of speakers who all have experience with gun violence or laws.

“We are attempting to create a panel that consists of someone who thoroughly understands gun laws, specifically in Pennsylvania, as well as someone who wants change due to personal experience,” she said.  

“I think this will make for a great event.

“We will probably be open to other speakers as well.

“Our overall goal is to host a person who wants to speak about their experience.

“It doesn’t matter where they are from or what event.”

Verostick said club members plan to host the panel sometime in March.