On Thursday, March 23rd, the College Republicans and College Democrats held a debate on the 2nd Amendment and gun control. On the Republican side, Riley Compton and Maggie Malecki were in favor of less restriction on fire arms; while the Democrats, represented by Veronica Weyhrauch and Katierose Epstein, argued for more restrictions on the sale of guns.
The debate kicked off with each side’s opposing interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. The Democrats opened by declaring that the 2nd Amendment was “worded poorly,” without elaborating. This began a theme of rationalizing gun restrictions, while still claiming that the Democratic Party “doesn’t want to take your guns.” The Republicans began by affirming their belief in liberty and in the right to self-defense.
Half-way through the hour long debate, Weyhrauch expressed the desire to see the assault weapons ban of 1994, which was allowed to expire under President Bush, re-instituted. In response to this assertion, Compton asked Weyhrauch for her definition of an “assault weapon.” After a good deal of silence, she murmured that the amount of rounds that could be fired “automatically” determined whether or not a gun is an assault weapon. The Republicans referred to the definition of an assault weapon from the 1994 ban – pointing out that assault weapons were merely defined as guns having two or more cosmetic features, none of which affected the fire rate, or ammunition capacity, of a gun.
At several points throughout the debate, the Democrats asserted that society should not need so-called “good guys with guns,” because law enforcement had the training to resolve violent situations more safely. The Republicans responded that for most areas, it takes 11 minutes or more for law enforcement to arrive to any given scene. That’s more than enough time for bad guys with guns to commit crimes and escape.
Each side closed with their standard party talking points. Republicans asserted that all humans have a natural right to self-preservation and that a government should never interfere with that right. The Democrats once again assured the audience that they “don’t want your guns,” but that it was still necessary to have “common sense” gun control.
Overall, the Republicans presented themselves more professionally and appeared better prepared. The debate was a successful one in that many who attended surely were able to consider a point of view they previously had not.