A little over a year ago in December 2012, the nation reeled from tragic events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children and six adults.

As Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, bid farewell to students leaving for the 2012 holiday break, he said that we would normally celebrate this time of year with great joy, “but not this year.”

The event galvanized a nationwide debate on guns, as gun control advocates seized the moment to reframe the conversation and gun advocates reasserted their right to bear arms. National attention on the issue waned as the year’s news cycle played out and a congressional law that would have expanded background checks was defeated in the spring.

In light of the tragedy, vigorous communities of both pro- and anti-gun advocates have sprung up online in whatSaul Cornell, Ph.D., the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History and leading expert on the Second Amendment, calls “a new sphere of cyberspace where they can continue to advocate.”

On Jan. 21, Fordham will get involved in the conversation when University departments and offices sponsor a conference, “The Future of Commonsense Gun Regulation: Where do We Go From Here?”

Cornell will moderate the session of panelists who include:

Robert Spitzer, Ph.D., distinguished distinguished service professor and chair of political science at SUNY Cortland, a leading authority on the politics of gun control, the presidency, and Congress.

Kristin A. Goss, Ph.D., associate professor of public policy and political science at Duke University, an expert on the gun control movement, woman’s political activism, and philanthropy.

This session will take stock of the current situation and offer some insight into the future of the gun debate in America. The event will be live tweeted from @fordhamnotes using the hashtag #gunsense.

“It’s been about a year and legislation is stalled at the federal level. It’s all too predictable at the state level, where states with high gun controls got tighter restrictions, but states with high gun controls got more lax,” said Cornell. “The problem is that in a nation where there’s not a unified gun market, what is politically feasible? What are the options, and what need to be done?”

The event is sponsored by the Department of History, Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean of Faculty of Arts & Sciences, and Dean of Fordham College Rose Hill.

For more information contact Kirsten Swinth, Ph.D. at [email protected].

— Tom Stoelker