Due to the fact that most colleges are liberal, the “Eagle Hour Gun Debate” in the sun Center was not what I was expecting. I was expecting to walk into a room containing mostly liberal activists preaching “guns kill people,” and “save our children not our guns.” However, I was delighted to see an array of people; men and women, conservative and liberal at this discussion.
The discussion went as expected, with Veronica Tita asking general questions about the surface politics of gun control. Once the question had been asked, people raised their hands and politely stated their opinion.
The first question was, “Should all campuses allow open carry,” and was followed by a quick reaction from the conservatives. Their opinions were unsurprisingly along the lines of “we have a second amendment that should be followed,” and “shooters aren’t going to go somewhere that has an armed student body.”
Then came the counterpoints from the liberal side of the discussion with those saying that they would “feel uncomfortable” if guns were open carried on campus and they would rather have open carry than concealed carry because then at least they know “who has the guns.”
The conversation never steered away from small comments about racism either. One participant said, “I don’t think people should be able to carry weapons until the stigma of an African American carrying a weapon is diminished.” This opened up a new talking point for the others but most agreed with that statement.
While there were those who would be considered conservative and liberal at the discussion, I found myself noticing that almost every single person was somewhat in the middle. Each raised opinion would be followed with a counter opinion, but there were no far left or far right viewpoints. Everyone seemed to be willing to compromise for the other party’s views. It was all very nonchalant and I found myself wanting someone to get upset, just to raise some excitement, but no one did.
The reason I haven’t been calling this a “debate” is because it was not. There was no back and forth dialogue between any of the participants and each question usually ended on neutral ground. Yes, this is a small campus right smack in the middle of a conservative state, but this discussion almost made me hopeful that sometime in the near future we may be able to find common ground between political viewpoints.