Rise in Deadly Mass Shootings Could Mean Legislative Action in Georgia Says Political Expert

News Reporting and Writing

By Robert Thomas

KENNESAW, Ga. – A local expert in political science stated Friday that the issue of gun violence in America is “bordering on crisis” and that Georgia has the potential to follow in the foot steps of Massachusetts in banning bump stocks.

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KSU Journalism student Robert Thomas (left) and Dr. Kerwin Swint (right).

While Dr. Kerwin Swint, chair of the department of Political Science and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University, acknowledges that Georgia historically has among the weakest gun laws in the nation, he believes there is potential to pass legislation banning bump stocks in the state of Georgia on a non-election year. Although, Swint maintains that Georgia is still very far away from properly addressing the issue of gun control, and laments that lately the legislature has actually been going the opposite way. However, Georgia is not alone in the push toward looser gun laws, with Republicans lining up a vote in the U.S. House next week on making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. Gun sales also continue to rise, with Black Friday gun shoppers recently setting a single-day record on gun purchase-related background checks.

Swint asserts that the issue of gun violence is objectively getting worse and with 18 of the 30 deadliest shootings in the US, dating back to 1949, having occurred in the last 10 years, he is seemingly well supported by the numbers. Swint largely attributes the high rates of gun violence in the U.S. to the unique gun culture of the United States, and is strongly echoed in this sentiment by his colleague Dr. David Shock, who is also a professor of Political Science as KSU. However, while Shock believes that education and mental health are the larger contributing factors to the problem of mass shootings, Swint contends that the lack of gun restrictions is the main factor. “The time has come to take action that may be politically painful, but is going to create a safer society,” said Swint.

Local KSU student and former U.S. Marine Brandon Lee is skeptical of any gun control measures enacted in Georgia however, and believes that registration of weapons will lead to confiscations. Although, surprisingly in opposition to the Republican Party, Lee agrees with specific measures of regulation, such as required training and expanding the background check to private sales. Lee also stated he would not be opposed to legislation in Georgia banning bump stocks, a gun accessory the Las Vegas shooter used to increase his rate of fire.

Despite the popular support of such gun control policies by the majority of both parties, Shock and Swint both emphasized that the mostly likely contributing factor for the lack of movement on this issue is the might of the lobbying force of the National Rifle Association, or the NRA. “The NRA is probably the most successful single issue lobbying group in the history of this country,” said Swint. Shock believes that the Supreme Court’s current interpretation of the second amendment is also a strongly limiting factor on enacting gun control legislation at the state level and believes the issue would be better addressed at the national level.

 

 

 

 

30-second TV News Story

News Reporting and Writing

 

WHILE MANY ARE PICKING A SIDE ON THE ISSUE, ATLANTA EAGLE SCOUT JOSHUA ANDERSON STATED SATURDAY THAT HE FEELS CONFLICTED ABOUT THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA’S RECENT DECISION TO ALLOW GIRLS INTO THE ORGANIZATION. ANDERSON SAID…QUOTE… ALTHOUGH A COED CREW IS GREAT, AND THAT SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF FUN, I BELIEVE THERE ARE ADVANTAGES TO JUST BEING YOUNG BOYS TOGETHER. MANY LOCAL ADVOCATES HOWEVER, SUCH AS KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY WOMAN AND GENDER STUDIES PROFESSOR SAMANTHA HUEWAGON, ARE…QUOTE… SKEPTICALLY OPTIMISTIC.

Eagle Scout

Atlanta Eagle Scout Joshua Anderson (L) and Kennesaw State University Journalism student, Robert Thomas (R)

Equifax data breach should worry Kennesaw residents too according to local information security expert

News Reporting and Writing

By Robert Thomas

KENNESAW, Ga. – Despite local apathy, the recent Equifax data breach is a cause for concern to Kennesaw residents as well, a local information security expert said Sept. 19.

Contrary to the typical blasé attitude of many when it comes to the recent Equifax data breach, Dr. Andrew Green, a local Kennesaw information security expert, says, “Everybody should be worried about it.” However many Kennesaw residents remain unaware, or not phased by the revelation, and do not plan to take any extra precaution to protect themselves. One such example, Brandon Lee, a 32-year-old Kennesaw resident and KSU student, was not aware of the data breach when asked about it, and was equally unconcerned over his own risk when informed. “A lot of the time, people look at it as a national story and think ‘Oh, that doesn’t apply to me.’ Yeah, it really kind of does.” said Green.

The recent data breach of the major credit-reporting agency Equifax, which affected as many as 143 million U.S. consumers, occurred July 29, according to the company, and was publicly announced Sept. 7. In that announcement, Equifax stated that the leak included social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers and credit card information. According Green, the data breach occurred due to an unpatched software venerability, and Equifax’s slow response in installing the patch which would mitigate the venerability.

However, since that announcement, Equifax has drawn strong criticism over their response to the breach, with Green going as far as to call their response a “dumpster fire.” Green advises Kennesaw residents to just assume their personal identity has been compromised and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Green advocates checking one’s credit history regularly and signing up for free services such as Credit Karma, which will email regular credit profile checkups. If one’s identity becomes compromised, Green recommends following the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on personal identity theft.