Disa Woodland, Copy Desk Chief~
In light of the recent mass school shootings in the United States, a debate over the circulation of automatic/semi-automatic and high caliber weapons has come to the forefront of political discussion. In order to foster open discussion and understanding among Lynchburg College students, faculty and community members, the Criminology Club organized and held a debate on gun control on April 18, 2018.
The LC Democrats and Republicans were able to participate in the debate. The Criminology Club mindfully crafted four discussion questions which were presented to the LC Democrats and Republicans as follows:
- The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees a “right to bear arms.” Are gun control laws Constitutional? If so, what type of gun control laws are Constitutional?
- Is gun control effective in reducing gun violence and crime? Can gun violence be reduced by decreasing firearm presence and gun ownership?
- Are mass shootings the result of America’s gun culture? Can gun ownership and concealed carry reduce the frequency of mass shootings?
- Should concealed carry be extended to educational institutions? If so, who should be able to conceal carry?
Each side was given six minutes to present their answer(s) and argument(s) for the question, then there was time for a brief rebuttal or sometimes poignant statements such as LC Democrat member Andrew Payne’s: “If you have more voices in your head than bullets in your clip, you probably shouldn’t own a gun.”
The audience was encouraged to write down any questions or comments that they had during the debate, which were addressed at the end.
Carter Elliott, the president of the LC Democrats, said he was glad to have participated in the debate. “I think it’s great to have open dialogue about gun control on our campus. It’s important to hear both sides of the argument.”
LC Republicans president Logan Hancock said, “We appreciate the work that the Criminology Club did to sponsor this debate, which allowed both sides to present their views on gun control. We look forward to working with them in the future to provide a platform for discussion of other hot-button issues.”
The debate was generally civil, though audience participation in openly disregarding the comments of the debaters took away from the overall experience. Like with most political discussions, emotions ran high, but altogether the event was successful in providing an open space for the exchange of information and opinions about gun control.