Debate considers constitutionality of firearms regulation

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    TCU Young Americans for Liberty hosted a gun control debate Saturday that focused on the constitutionality of government regulation of firearms.

    The debate featured local Democrat and Texas State Representative Lon Burnam and 2nd Amendment activist and National Rifle Association volunteer organizer Scott Harmon. The debate was moderated by Texas Libertarian Chairman Pat Dixon. 

    Burnam, a proponent for regulation of firearms, said if the government has the ability to regulate transportation and the freedom of speech, then it also can regulate firearms. 

    "I think we need to look at where we were in the 18th century compared to the 21st century and find the proper application," he said. "I don't want felons to have guns, I don't want people who are bipolar to have guns." 

    Harmon disagreed with Burnam's stance on regulation. 

    "If the constitution means what it says, Americans should have the right to bear arms," he said. "Americans have the right to self defense. Americans should have all the rights the constitution gives you when you become an adult."

    After delivering opening statements and answering questions from the moderator, both speakers took questions from the audience. 

    One person asked, "Isn't it unfair to make shops run background checks while private dealers at gun shows don't?" 

    Harmon answered that "99 percent of guns that are sold through dealers go through background checks," but said there are some deals that take place in the parking lots of those gun shows.

    Burnam responded by saying that over half of those guns are being trafficked to Mexico. 

    After the question and answer session ended, both speakers gave closing statements. 

    Burnam said his main purpose was to discuss the responsibility the government has to regulate firearms to keep people safe. 

    "I don't believe people with mental illness, kids or felons should have access to guns," he said. 

    Harmon said he believes as the government gets more powerful, it will take away people's rights, and Americans should be prepared.