Students get fired up in debate about gun control

Students faced off in a collective-style debate over gun control and FGCU’s possibility of becoming a concealed carry campus Thursday, Feb. 25.
The event was held by “Coffee & Controversy,” a new debate registered student organization.

A cloud of topics to debate by Coffee & Controversy. (EN Photo/ Brian Kleeger)
A cloud of topics to debate by Coffee & Controversy. (EN Photo/ Brian Kleeger)

“Our main goal is to foster intellectual and respectful discussion while gathering a variety of perspectives,” said Michael Amen, the event coordinator and club president. “The foundation of critical thinking is a strong understanding of different perspectives and ways of thinking.”
According to the organization’s webpage, Coffee & Controversy aims to “discuss and bring diverse perspective to relevant and controversial issues facing society” via casual debate in an inclusive atmosphere which allows for individuals to “come together regardless of race, sex, religion or political creed.”
“I’ve been to other meetings such as those in libertarian and democratic club,” Amen said. “While they’re all good places to foster discussion, they are all very one-sided and focused on pushing a certain agenda. I want to have a place which encourages free thought without an agenda and allows for people to learn.”
The subject of concealed carry on campus comes in the wake of recent legislative measures pushed by Florida’s congress in order to legitimize the legality of guns on campus.
The faculty senate of FGCU has repeatedly rejected attempts to allow guns on campus, citing recent shootings at several Florida schools as a cause for safety concerns.
Discussion during the debate ranged from the constitutionality of regulatory measures regarding guns to the potential hazards that allowing concealed carry at FGCU may pose to students and faculty.
“We’re the next generation that is on the rise, and we have a whole set of problems which have been passed on from the previous generation, so we might as well start brainstorming in order to create some solutions because we’re clearly at a standstill,” said Farrah Pruskaler, a pre-law philosophy student who participated in the event.
Similar to that of preventing concealed carry on campus, the debate also touched on the topic of gun regulation.
“One of the main issues I have with revoking gun rights is that it sets a precedent of sacrificing liberties for security,” Amen said. “That is never a good idea.”
When asked why he decided to attend the event, Matthew Caicedo, a pre-nursing student, said it’s something he’s interested in.
“I simply enjoy debates and discussions,” Caicedo said.
Coffee & Controversy will be meeting on a bi-weekly basis, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Merwin Hall, room 219. Free snacks and coffee will be offered at the meetings.