Voting is underway to determine a winner in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate on gun rights that took place Oct. 12 in front of a live audience in the Chronicle TV studio. It was the joint project of the Richland Debate Club, Turning Point USA and Richland Student Media. The controversial topic was “Gun control and its Impact on Society.”
Andrew Castillo, president of Turning Point USA’s Richland Chapter debated Brian Miranda, president of the Richland Debate Club. Castillo argued for fewer gun laws and Miranda was for more of them.
The Lincoln-Douglas style debate lasted about 45 minutes. The debaters made opening statements, cross examined each other and delivered rebuttals. Each segment was closely timed.
Miranda opened firmly for the need of government regulation to deal with issues of gun violence. He referred to the recent rampage at an outdoor concert at in Las Vegas and criticized Nevada’s loose gun regulations.
“There is no mandated waiting period to buy a gun. You can bring a gun to a polling place, to a casino and to a bar,” Miranda said.
Miranda expanded his argument for regulations to prevent deaths related to domestic violence.
“An example of that just actually happened in Plano a few weeks ago. A woman was killed because her husband was angry and so he acted on impulse,” he said.
Castillo argued that gun ownership is a fundamental right for citizens and essential for protection. Citing the Constitution he said, “The Second Amendment protects us from government tyranny.”
Castillo also encouraged weapon ownership for self-defense. “In D.C. you had a congressman, Steve Scalise, he was shot at a baseball game. He didn’t have a gun. Why? Because it was a gun-free zone. We need to get rid of them. Because when you’re in gun-free zones you have no protection. Absolutely nothing.”
Castillo suggested that too many government regulations make it harder to solve gun violence. He criticized local leadership for Chicago’s weapons epidemic. He said, “Criminals are not going to listen to laws. Look at Chicago.
He added, “These kids deserve a future and they’re letting the guns go off in Chicago and that goes back to the leadership in that city. I think it’s a disgrace really because you look at Vermont and Wyoming, less gun laws and then low gun death rates.”
Afterwards, professor Geoffrey Manzi said, “I think the rhetorical skills of both participants were clearly exceptional so determining a winner is very difficult.”
Lincoln-Douglas style debates typically name a winner. Students and faculty who would like to participate are encouraged to visit RichlandStudentMedia.com to view a podcast of the debate and submit their opinions on gun control before and after watching the program to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 20. The winner of this debate will be revealed in the Oct. 24 issue of the Chronicle.