Bruin Republicans and Bruin Democrats discussed gun control, the Affordable Care Act and Russian sanctions Thursday night.
Three Bruin Democrats and three Bruin Republicans students detailed their parties’ policy stances in front of a crowd of about 30 in Bunche Hall for their annual political debate.
The two groups first discussed gun control, with Bruin Republicans affirming their support for the Second Amendment and disputing some of California’s gun control legislation.
“These laws don’t make any sense, they’re nonsensical,” said Julia Nista, internal vice president of Bruin Republicans and fourth-year political science student.
Nista added she thinks the laws are inconsistent and that the government should set a uniform standard for gun control legislation.
Bruin Democrats held that stricter gun control legislation is better, citing the declining rates of gun violence in Australia, which has strict gun control laws.
“Gun control is found to be extremely effective when implemented on a national level,” said Jack Price, a third-year history student.
Though both parties disagreed about the extent that gun control legislation should be implemented, they agreed strict background checks for people purchasing guns were vital to protect both the rights and safety of American citizens.
On health care, Bruin Democrats said they strongly opposed repealing the Affordable Care Act. They said a study from the Urban Institute, which researches economic and social policy, found about 30 million people would lose their insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
“Health care is a human right,” said Abbey Chapman, a second-year business economics student. “We have a duty to help the less fortunate.”
Chapman added the United States is the only major industrialized country that does not provide health care to its citizens.
Bruin Republicans argued the Affordable Care Act made individuals lose their health insurance and hurts the economy.
“If you don’t buy health insurance, you get fined,” Nista said. “That’s like government theft.”
Bruin Republicans proposed a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a deferral to private insurance companies as an alternative.
The last topic of the evening was Russian sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama’s administration. Congressional Republicans and Democrats also discussed sanctions recently because reports revealed Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about not meeting Russian officials while under oath for his confirmation hearing.
Though the Bruin Democrats supported investigating President Donald Trump’s administration’s involvement with Russia and keeping the sanctions in place, Bruin Republicans said the sanctions were not achieving their goal.
“We have implemented these sanctions, but they have not affected Russia’s actions,” said Bruin Republicans member Ian Henderson, a third-year political science student.
Bruin Democrats disagreed.
“The only way we can fight (Russian interference), and for the administration to gain the majority of the people’s trust, is to keep the sanctions in place,” said Nasir Ahmed, a first-year neuroscience student.
Both parties said they were open to a bipartisan investigation into the Trump campaign’s contact with Russia prior to the election.
“It is not a partisan issue,” Chapman said. “It is something we should all be worried about.”
At the end of the night, both groups agreed the debate was a constructive conversation about how to move forward in the current political climate. Bruin Democrats and Bruin Republicans said they found the debate to be a productive way to find compromises.