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Emily Miller speaks at UNC on the danger of gun-free zones

The senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times believes gun-free zones are dangerous for America’s future.

Emily Miller, best known for her series of columns “Emily gets her gun,” was brought to campus by the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club to address the controversial issues surrounding gun laws. She spoke Thursday to an audience of about 50 in the auditorium of the Medical Biomolecular Research Building.

Miller said it’s important for people to know the implications of public safety laws.

“Since the Newtown tragedy, gun control laws have been sweeping the country, and most of it is being written rashly and based on emotions,” she said.

UNC Student Congress allocated $1,500 to sponsor the event.

While Miller believes in some reform, including the addition of mental health records as a component of eligibility to own a gun, she dismissed the argument that banning assault weapons is a solution.

“These guns are not on the streets,” she said. “Criminals use concealed guns — they’re not going to use a big rifle or machine gun on the street corner.”

She said that anti-gun advocates use words like “assault rifle” as a scare tactic rather than an accurate description. “They say ‘assault weapons ban’ because they can’t get a majority saying, ‘ban guns that look scary.’”

Grant Anastas-King, president of the Rifle and Pistol Club, said they brought her to campus because of her expertise on gun control laws.

“She’s been an excellent spokesperson for gun rights,” he said. “And she has an incredible story.”

Miller first became passionate about gun control after being a victim of a home invasion while dog-sitting for a friend.

“I remember thinking, ‘If I just had a gun, I could defend myself,’” she said.

As passionate as she is on the issues of gun control, Miller said she recognizes that there isn’t one easy answer to the question of what to do in the face of mass tragedies such as Newtown. She said she believes that no matter what bans there are, people will still find a way to cause suffering.

“Mass shootings will happen when they happen. Evil people exist,” she said. “The only thing we do know is true is that crime has decreased as gun ownership has gone up.”

Freshman David Joyner, who attended the speech, is in favor of changing gun laws.

“(Miller) made good points but was very clearly one-sided,” he said. “She made me consider some of the stigmas discussed, but in the end, my opinion did not change.”

Miller believes the Second Amendment is central to the identity of the United States.

“It’s what keeps America America — we aren’t going to turn into a Nazi Germany or Cuba. We will never be a dictatorship because of it,” she said.

“In the end, it’s not a debate over crime. It’s a debate over the size of government, the power of the government.”

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