Constitution Day Triggers Debate
By Lauren Beeman
Quincy University held its third annual Constitution Day in the Hall of Fame Room.
Through a combined effort by the Political Science and Criminal Justice departments, the forum-style event centered on the topic of gun control on college campuses, which encouraged student involvement and participation through a mock, town hall setting.
Political science professor and Constitution Day co-host, Neil Wright, provided opening remarks for the day, explaining the event’s intention was to introduce students to civic life.
“This forum-style requires students to hear one another out. The university should be a place where we encounter uncomfortable and even offensive ideas where we can evaluate them honestly and where we can make up our own minds,” Wright said.
Students and faculty sat at tables marked by different, representative demographics and organizations involved in the gun control debate, as it exists on college campuses across America.
Represented groups included mock-assemblies of American veterans, the National Riffle Association, Black Lives Matter, campus security, and mental health professionals, comprised of QU students and faculty.
Representatives at each table were asked to respond to the forum-based questions as if he or she was a member of the selected demographics, trying to persuade the board to either allow or ban guns on campus.
This arrangement not only promoted important and often times, challenging dialogue, but also showcased different opinions, perspectives and insights on realistic issues surrounding the second amendment.
According to university professor and Constitution Day co-host, Judy Abbott J.D., the selected topic- guns on college campuses-was inspired by the Active Shooter Forum that occurred last spring.
The Active Shooter Forum raised awareness of armed intruders and mass shootings, and educated QU students about what to do if such a situation were to ever occur.
“I thought it was a good topic to discuss, especially with the recent law that was passed in Missouri, saying you no longer need a permit to carry a gun,” senior, criminal justice major, Brianna Chapman said.
The Missouri Senate Bill 656 passed on Sept. 14 and will now allow Missouri residents to carry concealed without a permit. The bill also lifts other, previously existing restrictions on gun laws in the state. This bill has gained national attention and sparked further debate at QU’s Constitution Day last Friday.
There are presently four states that permit guns on college campuses: Texas, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. Law prohibits guns on university grounds in the state of Illinois.
The also brought out the relationship between QU’s Franciscan values and the right to bear arms. Based on university policy aligned with Franciscan teaching, Quincy University does not condone the use of guns on campus.
For more information on Constitution Day or to watch the event live, visit QU Media’s Facebook page for a full recording and recap of the forum.