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Old April 23, 2010, 02:31 PM   #1
johnwilliamson062
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Very frustrating conversation with a "liberal"

I was talking to a liberal Democrat about gun control. We had several points of agreement.
1. Gun control would be extremely ineffective at stopping criminals from getting firearms as our borders are porous and criminals get what they need.
2. Most past gun control and proposed gun control was targeted at minorities and the poor, which is not fair.
3. Any effect of gun control in limiting gun crime would still have a minimal impact on violent crime as other weapons would be used.

Another point I don't entirely agree on is that the high rate of violence in the US has to do with cultural problems not inanimate objects. I think it has to do with lack of personal responsibility, which i guess might actually be a cultural problem so they are not mutually exclusive although it might seem so at first. With this acceptance comes acceptance that the underlying problem is what needs to be addressed.

He still supports gun control. OK with break action shotguns, some bolt action rifles, "hunting" guns basically. Thinks any non-"hunting" rifle used for competition, such as CMP, should be stowed securely at ranges or something inaccessible to homeowners. He owns several of the "hunting" type firearm.

I have converted him on EVERY logical argument I know of or he agreed with me to begin with. He is familiar with guns and does not consider them magical tools of evil. he has even considered attending knob creek as a friend has invited him several times although he does not think it will hold his interest.

Where do I go with this now? There is no logical way to convert him.

I am going to pull some of the stories off of pink pistols and second amendment sisters or something and forward that to him by e-mail.
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Old April 23, 2010, 04:24 PM   #2
Sefner
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There a lot of people out there like that; hunters who thinkg guns are only used for hunting. If he agrees that certain types of gun are OK I recommend using this argument:

Start with break action shotguns and say "Would you support a break action shotgun that instead of having to break it down, it was a bolt action shotgun?" He might see where this is going but if he doesn't agree then you can point out that this "bolt action shotgun" and becoming proficient at reloading a break action shotgun are no different and thus his "regulation" is arbitrary. If he agrees then you keep going: "OK, so instead of a bolt action why not just move that action down to under the barrel?" By now you see where this is going, you're slowly adding feature/properties to a firearm in order to get him to realize that banning only certain features of firearms is arbitrary. You can do the same with rifles: "Do you think a 20 inch barrel is ok? What about 19 inches? What about 18? 17.5? 16? ... .. 4inches?" Somewhere in there he will say that some measurement is not ok and there you have the arbitrariness... Let's say he thinks 17 inches is ok but 16 isn't. What about 16 17/18ths? 16 and 3/4ths? That's the fallacy with that kind of rationale, there is no real reason for the type of regulation he is suggesting.

Note: Be careful using my first example, it's kind of a logical fallacy itself but it will prove your point.

Another argument is the "best available weapon" theory of self-defense (aka: Don't bring a knife to a gun fight). The theory states that you use the best available weapon. If it's a gun, sweet, if it's a tire iron, ok, if it's a bar stool, swing away, etc etc etc. (I realize it seems common sense, but it applies to things like not carrying a bow and arrow when you could carry a gun, or back in the day carrying a spear instead of a sling and a rock, situational awareness and knowing what around you can be used as a weapon, etc). Applying it here is that criminals will use whatever weapons they have available to them in a kind of "arms race" with legal citizens. Even if your friend's dream came true and every handgun and "assault" rifle was destroyed, criminals would just use his precious break action shotguns and bolt-actions for their crimes because those are the best available weapons to them. Then the government bans those under the same rational he is using (they are too easy to commit crimes with!) and he loses his hunting hobby. Also the criminals switch to knives.

If that doesn't work then you're not dealing with logic and you're dealing with emotion. That's a tough one. you could try stories of self defense (the real emotional ones like women fighting off rapists or being raped and then wanting a gun, of the child who uses a gun to fend off a guy trying to bludgeon his mother's head in, etc etc). Those stories have to be true though, you can't make them up for the same effect.

tl;dr: Try to prove that his regulation is arbitrary and does not sit well with his agreements on crime etc. If that fails you have to turn away from logic
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Old April 23, 2010, 08:15 PM   #3
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Another tactic is to use the example of the UK. They started out severely restricting handguns. When this didn't stop crime, they took it to the next level. Then, as that next level failed to reduce crime, they virtually banned all guns for common use at home. This is where his practice would eventually lead. Anti gunners and gun controllers are never satisfied with one or two wins. They want it all, eventually. Your liberal friend would help them if he could have his way. I'm guessing he'll use the old line about how that could never happen here. I'm betting some people in the UK said the same thing. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Once we accept the idea that some firearms can be banned, then all firearms can eventually be banned.

Another potential ploy is to use this reasoning to get him to think: "If non hunting guns are so dangerous that we should not have them, why do the cops have them? Are the cops more careful or knowledgable about firearms?" Many people believe all cops are well trained in the use of firearms, including semiautomatic rifles and pistols. I beg to differ. Many are woefully inadequate when it comes to knowledge and use of firearms more complex than a 6 shooter wheel gun. That's not meant to be a general knock against cops.
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Old April 23, 2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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If he's the intellectual type, you could ask him to read some of the writings of James Madison. The 2nd amendment wasn't written to protect hunting and target shooting; it's a critical part of our ingenuous system of "checks and balances" on government. This right is our last and most important guarantee of freedom from tyranny.

Madison is the first author of the Bill of Rights (google "Father of the Constitution"). I wouldn't push it; maybe print some stuff and hand it to him to read later. If you print Federalist #46, here's one section that should be highlighted:

Quote:
Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.

http://www.foundingfathers.info/fede...pers/fed46.htm
Also, the recent Supreme Court decision should be required reading: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf
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Old April 23, 2010, 09:14 PM   #5
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There is no logical way to convert him.
This often happens when a person's beliefs are not based on logic.
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Old April 23, 2010, 09:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sefner
That's the fallacy with that kind of rationale, there is no real reason for the type of regulation he is suggesting.
Unfortunately, that sort of argument denies the reality of most every restriction imaginable.

Speed limits? Why 65? Why not 66? If 66, why not 67? Two minutes later, you're saying "Why 120? Why not 121?"

Abortion? Why 2nd trimester? What magically happens between yesterday and today? If it's a human worth protecting today, why wasn't it yesterday? If it wasn't yesterday, why today?


Society is filled with arbitrary (and erroneous) restrictions. That's no way to win the argument.

As John said, his argument is not logic based. Any one who will agree with you on every point of logic and disagree with the conclusion based on that logic is a waste of breathe.
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Old April 23, 2010, 10:02 PM   #7
Sefner
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Originally Posted by peetzakilla
Unfortunately, that sort of argument denies the reality of most every restriction imaginable.
Yeah that's why I said to be careful with it because it is a fallacy in itself and if logic fails then it's kinda hard. You might not win the debate, but you may metaphorically planting the metaphorical seed that he might have no rational basis for his arguments so that one day he may turn.
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Old April 24, 2010, 05:05 AM   #8
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Oh u were finished? Well than allow me to retort.

What does Marcellus Wallace look like


anyway, enough pop trivia.





1. Yes and no. A full scale 'assault' on civilian held firearms, to the point of eradication, would (in theory) be effective at lowering the number of available firearms for criminals to steal. This means the only guns available to them would be the ones already in circulation in the black market and the ones imported illegally. Supply and demand states that the price would skyrocket.

2. Sorry, only past laws I know are hi cap mags and under 18 shot gun. Both of which don't make any sense to me. So on #2 I'll just take your word for it

3. Minimal impact at best. It could quite possibly go up. Especially B&E. If that were the case though somebody's getting the business end of a sandwedge!



I would have to agree that our problems stem from cultural problems. And i agree that it is a lack of maturity that drives this, but I believe people mature due to factors of their environment & culture.


Well that doesn't make any sense. If it's only used for competition then it's the safest gun out of the bunch . Sounds like your friend talks a lot without putting too much thought into what he's saying.

Oh, that's the end of the post? What's the question? Convert him to what?...Oh, about which guns you can keep at home and which should be kept locked up at the range. Ok, he thinks some guns should never leave the range and you believe that they're urs and you should be able to do what you want to with them. Well i'm definitely going to have to side with you for obvious reasons. But-->

Having to stash guns would...cost too much, be too much of a burden on the owner, cost too much for the establishment to insure, be way the hell too much of a problem if done at local law enforcement offices, and just generally be a bad idea from any perspective of reality. Sounds like he just likes to say stuff to ruffle your feathers
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Old April 24, 2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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I'm with Olibobwa. Very briefly:

1) The USA's porous borders are used to export guns, not import them. Banning the sale of guns in the country would lead to fewer guns in circulation here and in Mexico, just by virtue of guns having to be smuggled rather than purchased openly. Unless you're willing to say outlawing drugs makes absolutely no difference on the sale of drugs.

2) The past is irrelevant to the future. If I argued that most past wars were wars of greed, would you argue that warring an aggressive tyrant was also an act of greed?

3) Carries weight. While guns make it easier to attack someone and make it psychologically easier to kill them, you would see wide substitution to inferior weapons (both for crime and self-defense, I might add).
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Old April 24, 2010, 02:32 PM   #10
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There two types of liberals, just as there are two types of people of any political persuasion.

Some people base their opinions on rational data, and some people are just mindless followers who believe anything that comes from a source that agrees with their pre-conceived notions.

If your friend is a thinking person, a good argument is pointing out the fallacies in anti-gun propaganda. A good example is the "statistics" on gun deaths in the US vs those in the UK.

The propaganda will point out that there are less gun suicides in the UK. The rational response is that overall suicides haven't changed - just as many people kill themselves today as before the bans. Only the tools have changed.

The same holds true of murder - murder has actually risen in the UK, only the tools have changed while during the same time period, murder has fallen in the US.

Street crime has risen dramatically in the UK. The UK actually has higher levels of violent crime than the US, overall. You can't really blame that on gun control, because people in the UK were not allowed to carry before the ban. But a few years ago, they also banned carrying of knives and that total disarmament of citizens probably has created a rise in street crime. The criminal knows in advance that his target is totally disarmed.

One of the most telling statistics is what we (in the US) call home invasion. Most burglaries in the UK happen while the occupants are actually home. They know the occupants don't have a shotgun leaning next to the bed, so they come in and help themselves - if the occupant protests, they are beaten, stabbed or if lucky, merely held immobile while they ransack the house. Before the ban, burglars (as in the US) targeted homes when the occupants were out.

Burglaries in the US happen while the occupants are out - bad enough, but at least you don't have to worry about being killed, beaten, terrorized or raped as in the UK.

You can go on all day with that. "Gun crime" is a failed argument. Lowering "gun crime" does not mean lowering murder rates, rape, violence, etc.

Violent crime in the US has dropped at the same time gun laws have been relaxed. Violent crime in the UK has risen at the same time that gun laws have been tightened.

It's a solid argument. If your liberal friend can't connect the dots, then he's incapable of rational thought, and not worth your time.
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Old April 24, 2010, 02:54 PM   #11
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I don't think that's the best argument; our fundamental Right to Keep and Bear Arms shouldn't be tied to the crime rate. It's irrelevant if the crime rates goes up, or if a couple people abuse this right and start shooting. When crack cocaine was getting out of control, we didn't throw out the fourth amendment and start sending SWAT teams door-to-door.
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Old April 24, 2010, 03:58 PM   #12
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I don't think that's the best argument; our fundamental Right to Keep and Bear Arms shouldn't be tied to the crime rate.
Yet, that is the argument that liberals use. At some point, you have to dismantle their argument and demonstrate that their beliefs are based on fallacies.
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Old April 24, 2010, 04:02 PM   #13
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But then who is hurt by cocaine? It drives an addict to commit other actions, but it doesn't enable them.

Gun ownership is only a right because it is good. If it both did not help me to own a gun but did hurt society for guns to be privately owned – by the way it does help me and doesn't hurt society – then it wouldn't be a right. Nobody has a metaphysical permission to do the wrong thing. Thankfully, gun ownership isn't a wrong thing, and there are stats to back that up.

If you try to lock down rational discussion with a resort to "don't tread on me" then who is more illogical? The one with a reason or the one with none?
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Old April 24, 2010, 04:32 PM   #14
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Some people base their opinions on rational data, and some people are just mindless followers who believe anything that comes from a source that agrees with their pre-conceived notions.
Good post.


When I was younger there were many gun control debates with anti-gun liberals. I lost most of those debates. Was able to change the minds of a very few of them. Two liberal female friends did became dedicated life long pro-gunners.

I finally came to the conclusion that debating gun control with a liberal is much like wrestling a big hog in his pen. I now take kids hunting and teach kids to shoot: Working with kids who want to hunt and shoot is a lot easier than trying to change the mind of someone whose mind is locked in stone.
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Old April 24, 2010, 04:58 PM   #15
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At some point, you have to dismantle their argument and demonstrate that their beliefs are based on fallacies.
No, you just have to demonstrate that their argument is irrelevant. You are not required to argue with them on their own terms. Lowering the crime rate could be used to justify anything.

If the crime rate goes up, does that prove that the court system isn't working? Do we ignore the fifth and sixth amendments, skip the trial and send criminals directly to prison? If a lot of people start spewing garbage and criminal disinformation on TheFiringLine.com, do we ignore the second amendment and shut the site down? The same consideration should be given to the second amendment; we should never lose our rights because others abuse their rights.

I think it's better to direct the argument to the historical and future importance of our civil liberties.


Quote:
But then who is hurt by cocaine? It drives an addict to commit other actions, but it doesn't enable them.
Sorry, I don't see your point. My remark was related to our protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
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Old April 24, 2010, 05:05 PM   #16
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Using logical and empirical evidence to make decisions is the way.

However, I must point out that listening to raving loonies that emotionally appeal you is as much a characteristics of some conservatives as well as liberals. I study this stuff and it is a general characteristics of humanity.

To huff and puff, that such is only a characteristic of liberals is to just posture.

It really isn't useful to throw out such general statements tied to political persuasion. To avoid violating our rule structure, I will not do a left, right, middle set of emotionally based faulty reasoning.

So when you put forward your theory of the crime rate in the USA - in your opinion, have you studied criminology, read the literature or just making emotional and nonlogical statements based on how you view yourself as a champion of civilization?
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Old April 24, 2010, 05:09 PM   #17
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he has hunting rifles but is against other form factors ?

Is his last name Zumbo ?
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Old April 24, 2010, 05:13 PM   #18
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The USA's porous borders are used to export guns, not import them. Banning the sale of guns in the country would lead to fewer guns in circulation here and in Mexico, just by virtue of guns having to be smuggled rather than purchased openly. Unless you're willing to say outlawing drugs makes absolutely no difference on the sale of drugs.
Sort of. Many drugs that are imported through through US Mexico border, such as heroin, come from third world sources overflowing with soviet weapons. These shipments are often transported through ports in similar countries. The same illegal organizations now importing drugs could easily throw in guns with their drug shipments. Full auto untraceable surplus AK 47s are available in sub Saharan Africa for less than $100. I believe Norinco is still producing new ones for less than that also. Prices might increase, but nowhere close to the point where criminals would stop buying guns and it might lead to a price drop in illegal full auto weapons once the illegal infrastructure to provide them is put in place.

On firearms exports from US: The only place this has ever really been claimed on a significant scale with out direct government involvement that I know of is Mexico. The claims were 90% of seized guns in Mexico came from the US.
1. It was 90% of the guns the Mexican government seized and thought were from the US and sent to BATFE for them to look at and see where they came from. About 18% of the guns being seized in Mexico.
2. At the time and still today, the DOD was sending small arms to the Mexican government by the TON. Literally. There were a number of cases where Mexican military units recently trained and outfitted by US taxpayers realized the cartels were paying multiple times the Mexican gov'ts wage and defected in mass along with any number of individual defections. Often taking not just small arms, but vehicles, and almost anything else you can imagine. Many of the guns being sent back to the ATFE were FULL AUTO. Full Auto civilian guns in the US are not cheap at all. Those guns were almost certainly US military guns given to Mexican military units which left the Mexican army when the soldiers they were issued to defected to the cartels. I brought this up to several people who could have looked into it and none of them had any interest at all in looking into it or seemed at all surprised by the idea.

Anyone who thinks guns are cheap or more readily available to criminal organizations in the US than worldwide lacks an understanding of the post cold war international arms market.

Stolen guns certainly cross into Mexico from the US, but no more than cars. The cartels don't switch guns or cars every time they get to the border.
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Old April 24, 2010, 05:34 PM   #19
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Why waste your breath? I'll cut and toss bait occasionally, but otherwise I have no intention to convert someone who thinks the police will always be there to protect them. Same story with hunting. Every now and then an anti-hunter will be a vegan. I can at least respect that they try to walk the walk. They usually have nasty breath though and it's not worth the argument for that reason alone.
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Old April 24, 2010, 06:29 PM   #20
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Laser: No, you just have to demonstrate that their argument is irrelevant. You are not required to argue with them on their own terms. Lowering the crime rate could be used to justify anything
You're missing the point. Gun control in Britain, Canada, etc, hasn't lowered crime. The best that can said, is that it's changed the tools used in crime. The more draconian the gun (and now knife) laws have increased in Britain, the higher the violent crime rate has risen.

In the US, over the same period, gun laws have been relaxed, and crime rates have dropped.

At some point, you must show them the fallacy of their arguments. They are basing their position on the data they've absorbed, and you have to show them that their data is wrong.

Of course, that only works with people capable of rational thought. Many people are incapable of logic, so you might as well save your breath with people like that.
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Old April 24, 2010, 06:44 PM   #21
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Any conversation I ever have with a "Progressive", turns into an argument. For the most part, I just don't bother anymore. I don't care if they hate guns, assault rifles or don't believe in shooting coyotes. I just want them to get out of my way. I can't save or convert anyone, I can only hope they don't find out that they might be wrong, the hard way.



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Old April 24, 2010, 08:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
You're missing the point. Gun control in Britain, Canada, etc, hasn't lowered crime. The best that can said, is that it's changed the tools used in crime. The more draconian the gun (and now knife) laws have increased in Britain, the higher the violent crime rate has risen.
kodiakbeer, I'm not missing the point. You are correct, but it's irrelevant. The crime rate will always be too high; if banning guns doesn't lower the crime rate, they will argue that more must be done to reduce gun smuggling, or that poverty is the problem, or that we need stab-proof knives. If the crime rate goes down without banning guns, sociological factor are the reason. You can never win this argument, even if you're right; it doesn't matter how little crime there is, reducing crime will always be the justification for infringing on civil liberties.

I can understand the desire to reassure people who are afraid of guns and also afraid of crime, but by arguing these points, you are just reinforcing the linkage. We do not need to fall into this trap. The crime rate has nothing to do with the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, or any of our civil liberties. I'll say it again, our RKBA is a crucial and constitutionally protected right; this Right is NOT dependent on whether or not it lowers the crime rate.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin, 1755
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Old April 24, 2010, 09:36 PM   #23
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He owns several of the "hunting" type firearm.
What isn't a "hunting type" firearm? Rifles, shotguns, and handguns are all used in varying capacities as hunting arms.

Quote:
Another point I don't entirely agree on is that the high rate of violence in the US has to do with cultural problems not inanimate objects.
If he's in favor of doing everything possible to reduce violent crime rates (although it is not clear that banning classes of firearms will do that), presumably he's in favor of ditching the 4th and 5th amendments?
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Old April 24, 2010, 09:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserSpot
it doesn't matter how little crime there is, reducing crime will always be the justification for infringing on civil liberties.
You speak as though the liberal ideology exists because its adherents are searching for a way to restrict peoples' rights. You know demonizing the Enemy, such as deliberately misrepresenting their intentions to be willfully malign, is a really bad starting point for an educated discussion, right?
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Old April 24, 2010, 11:28 PM   #25
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You know demonizing the Enemy, such as deliberately misrepresenting their intentions to be willfully malign, is a really bad starting point for an educated discussion, right?
Yes I do, and I agree with you. If you're not willing to respect and understand someone's point of view, they will never be willing to see yours. The Brady Campaign is made up of good, well-meaning people trying to do the right thing. There is no a vast left-wing conspiracy to take your guns away. No matter how much you disagree with someone, keep in mind that they are expressing an honestly held opinion from a different point of view.

Of course you should not start ranting about liberty; you will just be dismissed as a paranoid nut-case, especially if it starts with "The tree of liberty must be refreshed ...".
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