On March 21, 2018 there was a gun discussion on ETSU’s campus and it started off with a bang!

Around 30 people gathered in Culp Dining Room 2 at 6 p.m. They were excited and intrigued about the topic up for discussion: should students be allowed to carry guns on campus.

This debate was a Better Angels debate. Better Angels is an organization that’s mission is to unite Americans of all political parties to work together to depolarize America.

At the debate, anyone in the audience could give a speech and ask a question so that everyone had an opportunity to express their opinions.

“We are trying to find out the truth; we just want to hear your opinion,” said the mediator.

There were four students assigned to start off the discussion one of which is Matthew Patterson. He debated on the affirmative side of the issue.

“Concealed carry permit holders are statically one of the most law-abiding groups of citizens. To deny them the ability for self-defense in one of the most at-risk locations, a college campus, is illogical and irresponsible,” Patterson said.

Another student that started off the debate is ETSU Junior Seth Manning, who debated on the negative side of the topic.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the second amendment and guns on campus. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson both had key involvement in assuring the right to bear arms, but also voted to ban weapons from university grounds years later. Even the most conservative of Supreme Court Justices, like Antonin Scalia, have also supported the notion that places such as college campuses can restrict arms with out infringing on the Constitution,” said Manning.

ETSU Senior Nathan Farnor attended this event to listen to both sides of the debate.

“I was impressed by the level of civility demonstrated by both sides of the issue,” Farnor said.

 “I think it’s an example of what future debates should look like.”

The Better Angels organization believes that when their debate is well done the participants leave feeling a little closer to the truth and with a better understanding of the validity of the opposition, thus creating a stronger community.