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SECOND AMENDMENT AND GUN CONTROL
It's important to remember that America exists as a nation only because its citizens were able to take up arms against a repressive government and win their freedom. Its founding fathers, quite rightfully, knew that the only true way for a populace to remain free from oppressors is for that populace to have the ability to fight back against oppressors. This bedrock principle is enshrined in our Constitution's Bill of Rights.
That being said, the debate over gun control has been warped by Republican rhetoric for a long time now.
The 2nd Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." When gun-control comes up, the NRA screech that the 2nd Amendment shall know no limits. The gun-control advocates have never effectively countered this rhetoric, which is relatively easy to do:
D: Do you think that your neighbor should be able to mount a howitzer in his front yard?
D: Then we both agree there should be gun-control. So the question is, where are we going to draw the line? Howitzers? Machine guns? Sub-machine guns? Assault rifles?
If they're actually nuts enough to say that suburbia should be studded with howitzers, raise the stakes:
D: So do you think that your neighbor should be allowed to build a nuclear bomb in their basement?
D: Then we both agree that there should be arms-control. So the question is, where are we going to draw the line? Nuclear weapons? Plastique? Howitzers? Machine guns? Sub-machine guns? Assault rifles?
If they're actually nuts enough to say that nuclear weapons should be available to every Tom, Dick, and Jane, then they've lost all credibility in the debate.
The trick is to get this debate onto the level of yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. Only loonies believe that freedom of speech should allow people to deliberately create false panic, engage in criminal conspiracies, or perjure themselves under legal oath.
Similarly, only loonies believe that a right to bear arms should allow people unrestricted and unregulated access to nuclear weapons, plastic explosives, or biological weapons.
The legitimate debate, in both cases, comes down to: Where do we want to draw the line?
Right now, it's impossible to have that debate because the issue is systematically reduced to extremist rhetoric. But with a little Socratic dialoguing and a handful of questions you can quickly and effectively strip away that rhetoric.
Once you've done that, you can start talking about the issue rationally. Here are some good questions that get to the heart of the issue:
1. What weapons should private citizens be prohibited from possessing under any circumstances?
2. What weapons should private citizens be allowed to possess only under strict regulations and controls?
3. What weapons should private citizens be allowed to possess only after being properly trained and licensed?
4. What weapons should private citizens have a right to own without limitation?
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