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Moot Court Students Debate Gun Control in Live Radio Broadcast

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By Karen Guin

UCF pre-law students debated the pros and cons of gun control last night during a live radio broadcast that reached listeners from Jacksonville to Fort Pierce.

Central Florida station WDBO (FM 96.5) partnered with UCF's Department of Legal Studies to sponsor the debate, which pitted teams of students from the university's Moot Court Team against one another in a discussion focused largely on the constitutional right to bear arms.

WDBO aired the "Second Amendment: Locked and Loaded" debate from UCF's Morgridge International Reading Center on the Orlando campus. Nearly 200 campus and community members gathered to observe the discussion.

WDBO News/Talk show host Mel Robbins, herself an attorney by training, served as moderator.

Two teams of four students each participated in the debate - one favoring gun-owner rights and the other favoring gun control. "Each team worked with a local constitutional lawyer to prepare for the debate," said Cynthia Schmidt, head coach of the Moot Court Team and director of UCF's Center for Law and Policy. "They prepared intensively for nine days."

Speaking first was Kyle Ross, a member of the gun-owner rights team and senior majoring in legal studies. He said his team tried to view the topic as objectively as possible, and they concluded that the United States should focus on individuals with mental health issues.

Cameron Marsh, a member of the gun-control team and senior in legal studies and business administration, countered that his team thinks the United States should have a universal background check policy for gun sales, close loopholes in the background check system and limit the number of rounds in gun magazines.

The debate continued for nearly an hour, with each team expanding on these points and raising a few others.

"This debate was both an intellectual and personal challenge and is going to be one of my most lasting memories from UCF," said debater Jessica Sirianni, a sophomore majoring in finance. "I hope we can do this again!"

Schmidt said that WDBO has expressed an interest in collaborating with UCF on a second live debate this year.

Watch the entire debate at http://bit.ly/VA4MFf.

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