Students discuss gun control in after school nonpartisan gun debate, town hall


Anvi Banga

Gun debate participants Andy Semenza (12), Serena Lu (12), Sophia Gottfried (9), Sachin Shah (10), Edgar Lin (12) and Jason Huang (11) take audience questions about their speeches. Today’s event in Nichols Auditorium was moderated by Aliesa Bahri (12), Dolan Dworak (12), Sahana Srinivasan (12) and Jai Bahri (10).

by Rose Guan, Wingspan Senior Staff Writer and Designer

Six students discussed gun control in a nonpartisan town hall and question-and-answer session hosted by ASB and the debate and journalism programs today at 3:15 p.m. in Nichols Auditorium.

In two groups of three, the students presented opening statements, rebuttals and closing statements about the position that the U.S. federal government should curtail gun ownership by raising the minimum age needed to purchase a gun and requiring universal gun licensing.

Serena Lu (12), Andy Semenza (12) and Sophia Gottfried (9) gave speeches affirming the position, while Edgar Lin (12), Jason Huang (11) and Sachin Shah (10) presented arguments negating it.

Audience members could also submit questions to be answered by the student debaters at the end of their presentations, with topics including the Second Amendment and accurate application of regulations. Aliesa Bahri (12), Dolan Dworak (12), Sahana Srinivasan (12) and Jai Bahri (10) helped to moderate the debate and question-and-answer session.

“This nonpartisan, public debate will serve as a mechanism for students to grow as engaged citizens, proficient speakers and informed Americans,” Aliesa said to introduce the debate. “Hopefully, we will all leave this room with a renewed sense of passion for activism as well as a newfound understanding of our ideological oppositions.”

At the end of the event, those over 16.5 years old could fill out forms to pre-register to vote in the upcoming state and national midterm elections. Attendees from the League of Women Voters, an organization that encourages civic engagement, assisted.