The James Madison College Conservatives hosted a Gubernatorial Republican Town Hall at the MSU Union Ballroom where candidates Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines discussed their takes on a variety of topics.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette did not attend.
Below are a few main takeaways from topics brought up at the town hall.
Gun Control and Mental Health
In wake of school shooting, there has been a debate between gun control and mental health.
Hines said he has seen an influx in the number of mental health problems in his office. What mental issues disqualify a person to own a fire arm has to be dealt with, said Hines.
Mental illness does not equal dangerous people, Calley said. Instead, he said the problem must be dealt with at the source.
"In fact, a person with a mental illness is much more likely to be a victim of a crime, as opposed to a perpetrator of a crime," Calley said.
When guns begin to be restricted based on mental health, Colbeck believes how mental illness is defined becomes important. He used an example of a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, who could be a school resource officer with a firearm. That veteran would be considered to have a mental health disorder.
Calley and Hines sees safety regulations and security concerns should be tailored to each individual school and the choice should be decided by each district.
Opioids and Legalizing Marijuana
Overdoses are an everyday occurrence, and Calley said addiction needs to be treated with a health care perspective and not by handing out prison time. Calley added how America had more people die from overdoses last year than the number of casualties in the Vietnam War.
The doctor-patient should be protected and not interfered with, Colbeck said.
"You control the distribution of the opioids at the source, which is at the pharmacy," Colbeck said. "You have a way of going off and controlling access to the opioids, so that's where I'd prefer to approach it."
The two primary components for Hines is to save lives and help people gain access to treatment for addiction.
While Colbeck understands the freedom aspect of legalizing marijuana, he said he can't support it. It would have an impact on the job market since a lot of companies still require drug test, said Colbeck.
Hines supports the use of medical marijuana, he said. He has several patients who it has benefited. He does not support the use of recreational marijuana at this time.
"Not that it won't ever be legalized, but we do not know enough about it — the interaction with other medications, what dose to give," Hines said. "We just need more research."
Sexual Assault on Campus
Colbeck said he believes women on campus should be able to carry concealed weapons to protect themselves and that gun policies need to be re-examined.
Hines said he had been a victim of sexual assault himself on campus, and he was so ashamed, he dropped the class tied to the incident.
He said he wants to prioritize victims feeling comfortable reporting and being confident that action will be taken. He wants to prevent others from dropping out of classes or school altogether.
Both Hines and Calley agreed the culture at universities need to be changed.
"We should not be expecting people who have gone through everything they have gone through to now be re-victimized again through the discovery process because of lawsuits," Calley said. "I think it is reprehensible, and I can't understand why a school that has a story and amazing history that I have been so proud of my entire life, here at Michigan State University, would still to this day, to this very moment, be fighting like they are in the court room instead of coming to the table and doing the right thing."