BHSU-Rapid City to host panel on gun violence

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, January 26, 2016/Categories: 2016

Black Hills State University-Rapid City will host a panel discussion on the hot-button topic of gun violence in the United States, as well as debate gun control among American citizens. The debate is Monday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at BHSU-RC.

Gene Bilodeau, executive director at BHSU-RC, will moderate the five-member panel, asking a series of seven questions. Following the discussion, there will be a question and answer series for audience members.

"Hosting a panel discussion is a great way to give students and community members an opportunity to hear firsthand different perspectives from very committed individuals," Bilodeau said. "Just as we see at the national level, this is a sensitive topic that thus far seems to have very little consensus of opinion. Our hope is those in attendance will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues and the differing of opinions."

"Governor Daugaard encourages South Dakotans to discuss the issue of guns, so I thought this debate would be a good fit," said Josh Houy, political science and criminal justice lecturer at BHSU-RC and organizer of the event.

Houy added gun legislation is easily a top five issue among the American public, and the panel at BHSU-RC will offer an opportunity for the public to educate themselves on both sides of the debate, as well as ask questions they may have on this issue.

The panelists all have extremely differing viewpoints on gun violence and gun control, Houy said, and their differing opinions will help develop a diverse, well-rounded discussion.

The panelists include:
  • Kristi McLaughlin, executive  director, South Dakota Peace and Justice Center?
  • Julie Parker, South Dakota Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  • Eric Zimmer, BHSU alum and Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Iowa
  • Officer Tim Doyle, Rapid City Police Department
  • Travis Lasseter, veteran, rancher and gun enthusiast who is currently running for the South Dakota House of Representatives, District 30
Alternate panelists include BHSU alums Dave Monington and Mike Miller. Monington and Miller will serve on the panel if one or more panelists are unable to attend the debate.

For more information on the panel discussion, email Josh Houy at

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