Young Americans for Freedom hold event on gun rights with speaker Katie Pavlich at
Hitchcock Hall on April 17, 2018. YAF has brought many conservative speakers to campus. Credit: Jake Rahe | Lantern Reporter

Room 35 of Hitchcock Hall was almost completely full as more than 118 students gathered Tuesday night to hear Fox News commentator and Townhall contributor Katie Pavlich speak on the Second Amendment as it stands today and relates to college campuses. The event was organized by Young Americans for Freedom at Ohio State, a conservative student organization.

Pavlich’s visit comes amid the heightened national debate about the country’s gun laws that has followed the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February.

Pavlich lived up to the event title of “Trigger Warning” when she tackled topics such as self-defense, automatic weapons and modern politics in the hour that she spoke. Pavlich delivered her beliefs and clearly identified “the left” and “leftist politicians” as the opposition.

“If the left really hates firearms so much, and the Second Amendment — in fact they’ve advocated for it to be repealed — then why do they act like hypocrites when it comes to arming those around them for protection?” she asked rhetorically. “I would say because it’s not really about the Second Amendment and firearms at all. It’s actually about control, and control is often the basis of their agenda, with their overall goal being a few selective elites at the top making decisions and holding the power over the rest of us.”

A portion of Pavlich’s address was dedicated to the issue of guns on college campuses. As a public university in the state of Ohio, Ohio State’s firearm policies are dictated by the Board of Trustees, and currently prohibit concealed carry on campus. Pavlich said guns on campus allow staff and students to take responsibility for their own safety.

“Although some of the advice that universities give is sound, universities don’t provide for the worst case scenario. They never get to the final stage of explanation. They never tell you to handle a situation when — God forbid — help is unavailable. And they also don’t give you the ability to handle it on your own,” she said. “When it comes down to it, if something happens, you are the only one who can defend yourself.”

The topic of guns on campus interested Josie Montoney, a second-year in agricultural communication and public affairs, and a member of YAF who attended the event to discuss on-campus gun laws.

“I thought this was a really cool opportunity given the political atmosphere that we’re in right now and some of the recent things that have come about,” Montoney said. “There’s a lot of animosity surrounding the Second Amendment and gun rights and what’s going on.”

Not every student who attended the event was outspokenly conservative or a gun owner. Matt Pinerola, a second-year in linguistics, decided to attend to learn more about some of the arguments surrounding the Second Amendment.

“I think it’s interesting. The Second Amendment is something I think really makes this country unique in a lot of ways, like gun culture,” he said. “A lot of people believe in their right to firearms and the political culture behind that, and I think it’s something a lot of people don’t understand.”