Movie theater shooting victim speaks at gun control forum at SU

A panel discussion on gun violence was held at Syracuse University Tuesday night.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Syracuse University graduate Stephen Barton was shot in the neck during the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting last summer. He lives just 10 minutes outside of Newtown, Connecticut. Tuesday night he returned to the SU campus with a message.

Barton doesn’t know if he could have stopped the Aurora theater gunman if he was armed, but he hopes that his story can help you form your own opinion about gun control in the U.S.

“It's easy to lose track of the human toll of gun violence and all the statistics and the numbers in all the punditry,” Barton continued.

For Scott Armstrong, a former lobbyist for the NRA and a self-proclaimed reasonable gun owner, the numbers speak for themselves.

“Since 1991, there’s been 130 million new firearms enter private hands. Over 40 states now have some form of a carry/conceal law, almost without exception in these states crime rates have gone down, violent crime has seen a dramatic fall in a lot of these areas,” Armstrong said.

Tuesday night’s forum was about being civil in the face of a hot button issue that’s nothing but heated.

“The hearts are very heavy on the other side and the mind is very keen on this side. We have the knowledge and experience, but if you’re in a public relations battle, that’s a very tough position to come from when you have a very emotional issue against you and that's what gun control is,” Armstrong continued.

“It does excite pretty intense passions in people…We all care about our families, we all care about our loved ones and we’re all just talking about the best way to keep our children and other people as safe as possible,” Barton said.

Barton has decided to make this issue his life’s work. He is now part of the group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” which seeks stricter gun control rules.

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