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Those gathered in McKinnon Hall on Wednesday night for the gun violence forum were silent as Megan Squire, an associate professor of computing science, spoke about her personal experiences with violence.
"Everyday I live with the reality that there is a person living in my community who has acted violently towards me in the past and could do so again. I'm not really sure how to describe to you what that feels like. A judge found cause to grant me a protective order against that person, which is a piece of paper that I have to carry on my body all the time in case there is another incident," Squire said.
Squire continued to tell her story, explaining that her protective order forced him to surrender all guns to the police and forbade him to buy any more. However, Squire says that not all protective orders require the surrender of guns, she questioned why that was.
Squire was one of 10 invited community panelists. Each panelist spoke for three to five minutes about their personal opinions and views on the issue of gun violence. The community panel consisted of Elon students, faculty and staff members.
After the community panel spoke, moderator of the forum Dr. Connie Book turned the attention to the expert panelists. Members of the panel included:
* Rev. Richard McBride, Emeritus Chaplain of Elon University
* Chief Cliff Parker, Town of Elon Police
* Celo Faucette, Councilmember, City of Burlington
* Stephen Ross, NC House of Representative
* Michael Rich, Associate Professor of Law, Elon University
The panelists each introduced themselves and gave their general opinions on the subject of gun violence. Each of the panelists brought a different background to the discussion, as well as different opinions. Though they didn't always agree, each stressed the importance of reform to the current situation.
The audience was also able to contribute to the open discussion, as they were asked to write down any questions they had for the community and expert panels during the forum. The questions were later addressed and the topics ranged from mental health reform to prohibiting assault rifles.
Elon University hoped that the discussion would not end when the event was over, and everyone was invited to Fireside Lounge, where attendees could meet the panelists in an informal setting and continue the discussions.
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Watch ELN's coverage from May 1, 2013: