The University of Calgary has a gun club for the first time in recent history that already has 20 members signed up.

Henry Lung, the founder and president of the U of C's Firearms Association, says although the club will focus on safety it aims at giving like-minded people a place to share their hobby.

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"It's not gonna be like an in-your-face American-style guns are great, et cetera, et cetera," he said. "It's gonna be guns can be safe in the right hands and they can be a lot of fun."

University of Calgary gun club

University of Calgary Firearms Association founder Henry Lung, centre, says there will be social gatherings on campus and trips to local shooting ranges. (Louie Villanueva/The Gauntlet)

Lung modelled the club after a firearms association at Carleton University and says there will be social gatherings on campus and trips to local shooting ranges.

"Just like social get togethers because firearms is just really like any other hobby," he said. "People are interested in stamps, we're interested in firearms, and ... any chance to meet those kinds of people on campus would be very neat."

Ben Cannon, a vice-president with the University of Calgary Students’ Union, says there are more than 300 clubs on campus and so far there have been no complaints about the gun club. 

"We support diversity on campus and that includes a diversity of opinion so we feel a club who wants to bring this debate to campus about firearms they are more than welcome," he said.

Club getting mixed reviews

Cannon said the only way it would stop a club is if it promoted hate.

While many students on the U of C didn't know about the gun club, it seems to be getting mixed reviews.

"But I think the goal he's going in with to educate the people about the safety of gun use is a valid goal but I hope they don't stray away from that," said Tasneem Zaman, a third year student who is transferring into social work.

But Jason Abboud, a third year geology student, thinks it's a terrible idea.

"If it's going to promote gun use and gun usage especially at a university level, that's exactly what we don't need. Especially in light of Sandy Hook and other recent shootings, we don't need to emphasize gun use at all."

Lung says they'll be vigilant about their membership.

"A lot of the school shootings stem from mental health problems and people not being able to find the help they need. We gotta make sure we catch that very, very early on," he said.

Lung says if there are any concerns, he will immediately contact campus security, police and RCMP.