Firearms club revived on campus

Derek Thurber

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Whitman College is full of human rights clubs, democratic organizations and liberal groups, so when the Whitman Firearm Education and Appreciation Club formed, it caused interest.
“Whitman is about personal responsibility,” first-year and founder Harry Hixon said. “I believe we should extend this into all realms.”

The club has two purposes. The first is to educate about firearms. The education will entail learning proper gun safety and the teaching of adults and students alike how to disarm a firearm.

“The purpose of this is more practical,” Hixon said. “It doesn’t matter if you like guns or not, it is important to teach how to disarm a gun when it is an a place it shouldn’t be.”
From a political perspective the club will also have guest speakers come to Whitman to talk about guns. There are tentative plans to hold political seminars and debates over issues relating to gun safety and appreciation.

The second purpose of the club is firearm appreciation. The club will sponsor shoots to teach people how to handle a gun. These shoots will be free for first-time shooters, but a small fee will be imposed on regular members because most of the funding of the club will go towards the education aspect of the club.

“We will keep most of our budget towards education,” Hixon said.

The club wants to give people a place to enjoy shooting and getting together socially.
“People from vastly different racial and ethnic backgrounds can come together to do something fun and safe,” Hixon said.

The club was active on campus less than five years ago but dissolved when the founder graduated and nobody took up leadership. The club is being re-established by Hixon, with Associate Professor of Economics Robert “Pete” Parcells as the faculty sponsor.

The club is hoping to promote political awareness and a more universal approach to the way Whitman students view guns.

“Whitman holds liberal values that personal responsibility comes first,” Hixon said. “We blame the drunkard, not the alcohol. Perhaps by showing that we can extend these liberal standards into other very important aspects of the modern world we will be able to see things in a truer light.”

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