The largest point of contention in the debate was the mention of the “no fly, no buy” gun control policy, or not allowing people who are on the no-fly list to purchase guns.
First-year Graham Lowder, political action director for the Young Democrats, said common sense says that if you are too dangerous to board an airplane, you are too dangerous to purchase a gun.
Junior Dominic Moore, campaign director for the College Republicans, countered this by saying the policy has serious constitutional problems.
“We should not be taking away people’s Fourth Amendment right to due process because they have been suspected of a crime,” Moore said.
Moore said he thought the debate was a good discussion.
“I thought it was a lot more even-keeled than our national politics, and I think it’s a good way to remind people that we’re here, because we’re a relative minority on campus,” Moore said.
The debate was hosted and moderated by the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.
Sophomore Christina Lim, sergeant-at-arms of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, said last year they held a similar event on their own, and this semester student government reached out to them with the idea of hosting another one.
“We’re similar to both political parties in that we enjoy talking about policies that impact the state and country, but because we hold no political affiliation, we are able to do it unbiased,” Lim said.
Lim said moderating the debate was simple since she knew the questions in advance, and the only difficulty was making sure each participant stayed on time.
The questions asked during the debate focused on national and state policy issues. Each group was given one minute to respond to the question, as well as a one-minute rebuttal to the opposing side’s statement. The debate lasted about 50 minutes, with a total of 11 questions asked. The three organizations agreed on the questions prior to the debate.
Senior Jake Riggs, co-outreach chairperson for the College Republicans, said the debate went well.
“It was good to let students learn about the two parties and let the student body know what the parties actually think,” Riggs said.
Sophomore Viviane Mao, political action director for Young Democrats, said she thought it was a calm debate, but she wished the moderators had offered more back and forth discussion rather than just one rebuttal.
Lowder said he liked that the questions were even to both sides. He said the debate was about visibility for the two parties.
“You don’t really get a chance to talk to this many people about what your party specifically believes,” Lowder said.