News From Masters
Upper School students engaged in a lively debate about gun control during the first event sponsored by Next Generation Politics, a new club at Masters.
Seniors Amanda Taylor and Thomas Falci, co-presidents of Next Generation Politics (NGP), organized the debate, which took place during the lunch period on November 15 in a Masters Hall classroom. The nearly two dozen participants addressed this question: Should the United States enact more gun laws than those currently in place?
Before the event, interested students filled out a form stating which side they would represent – for or against gun control. Amanda and Thomas also provided suggestions on preparing for the debate, such as having a good understanding of the Second Amendment and familiarity with the current restrictions on guns in the U.S.
Based on the arguments presented, it was clear that the students had researched the issue. Several cited facts and figures about gun ownership, crime and mass shootings in the U.S. to support their respective positions.
In an opening statement, a representative for the pro-gun control side said that those on her side believe that the Second Amendment can be upheld while at the same time, tighter gun laws are enacted. A representative for the other side stressed, “We are against additional restrictions,” not existing regulations, including background checks.
Several anti-gun control debaters noted that the U.S. has become a safer place in recent years as murders and other violent crimes have decreased. In response, students representing the other side of the issue pointed to research showing that mass shootings have steadily risen.
The students also debated whether requiring two additional days of background checks would curb gun violence or instead, hamper the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Guns are literally designed to kill,” said one student. “What’s the reluctance to have just a little more regulation?”
Another asked why citizens needed access to assault weapons if the main purpose of gun ownership is self-defense or hunting to reduce the deer population.
In response, a student on the other side cited statistics showing that the number of deaths attributed to assault weapons is low compared with deaths attributed to other types of guns. “We cannot impose a greater amount of regulation on a population that is not committing crimes,” he argued.
In the future, the club plans to organize debates on other issues, as well as mock elections, mock legislative sessions and a voter registration drive.
“We created this chapter of NGP to definitively establish a safe space for people to develop deeper understanding of their political stances through concrete research and discussion,” Amanda Taylor said.
“Statistics show that the current political climate is more polarized than ever,” she added. “Since politics affect every aspect of our lives, it is often brought up in class discussions when applying what we learn to the real world. Of course, this can sometimes create tension or leave students feeling unheard.”
Through NGP’s activities, Amanda said, “We hope to continue to relieve some of the political tension at Masters and in the world while promoting healthier discussion in general.”