Vanderbilt Debate Not the 'Common Ground' on Guns That Was Billed

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College Democrats and College Republicans aren't exactly on equal footing on most campuses, or so it seems. For one thing, leftist students get broad support from the administration and most other campus groups. College Republicans face being ostracized just for existing.


But it seems that at Vanderbilt University, they two groups were able to get together and at least have a civil debate on one controversial topic: Guns. What's more, they supposedly found some common ground.

When I saw that, I got concerned. After all, being a Republican doesn't mean one is automatically pro-gun, as we've seen far too often of late.

But what matters is what they found common ground on.

On Feb. 28, the Advocacy, Debate, and Dialogue Lab for Civil Discourse Education and Vanderbilt Political Review hosted a debate on gun control policy between Vanderbilt College Republicans and College Democrats on gun control policy. It was the first time in several years that the two organizations held a formal debate. The event was sponsored by Dialogue Vanderbilt.

The debate was moderated by Vanderbilt Debate Team Directors M.L. Sandoz and John Koch, who both play instrumental roles in fostering the spirit of open dialogue and debate on campus.  

“No matter how partisan an issue, it is still possible to find common ground, as we did in this debate when both sides agreed that we should arm student resource officers,” Koch said. “It is important to have these debates so audiences can hear from both sides, gather opinions and evidence, and decide for themselves their own position on the issue.” He noted that such formal debates are important because they demonstrate to the campus community that it’s possible to have productive communication with those who have differing opinions.


That's right. They agree that armed school resource officers are a good thing.

Which, frankly, is important considering what's going on in Colorado, but it's still not a whole hell of a lot in the grand scheme of things.

When you think of all the ways anti-gunners want to assault our right to keep and bear arms, keeping guns in the hands of sworn law enforcement officers who just happen to have a school as their beat isn't really a huge win, now is it?

On the upside, these are college students, which means there was a far greater likelihood of the College Republicans siding with their opposites on any number of gun control measures such as assault weapon bans, universal background checks, and red flag laws. 

They didn't.

Yet it's still disheartening to see so few people who espouse a belief in freedom and human dignity--two things Democrats often claim to support without question--actually oppose people having the tools to protect freedom and human dignity.

Those things don't stay purely because government is benevolent and caring. They stay because people are willing to fight and die for them, if need be, and to fight effectively, you're not going to really do it with words or marches if that same government decides those aren't allowed, either.


The right to keep and bear arms is sacred. It's well past time for people to start to recognize that fact.

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