It Is Time For A Meaningful Conversation on Reasonable Gun Laws

I hope that the post title at least captured the attention of my anti-gun readers, and keeps you reading.

Those of you who read this blog know my political views. I'm a  socially liberal, fiscally conservative libertarian, although the pelt of my Wookie suit is not quite so full and glossy as some.

I am a Christian who supports the rights of gays to marry. I am a southern white male redneck who believes minorities and women deserve equal treatment, but I also believe that quota systems like Affirmative Action are covert racism, fostering the notion that minorities cannot succeed on their own merits.

I believe in legal immigration, and I devoutly believe in the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I also believe we should secure our borders, and that there should be an easier avenue toward legal immigration. That does not include blanket amnesty for current illegal aliens.

I believe abortion is a sin, yet I refuse to impose my moral beliefs upon others in the form of laws. I believe religion should stay the hell out of our government, and government should stay the hell out of our religion.

I believe in God, but I distrust preachers. And I believe that most of our Founding Fathers felt the same way.

I believe that any civilized society should take care of its citizens who cannot care for themselves, but I believe government has proven itself incapable of doing so without creating an even larger class of people who won't do for themselves. I believe our government, outside of some very narrow strictures, screws it up more often than it gets it right, and that our system of government is headed for collapse if it continues trying to be all things to all people.

I believe that we owe it to ourselves, and the generations to come, to ensure that does not happen, and that the means to do so is to vote out the politicians who refuse to acknowledge – by word AND deed – that the government cannot keep providing these things for us.

I believe in freedom, and I am a law-abiding man. Yet I also believe that we have too many laws as it is, and that more of them are infringing on our freedoms every day. And there is a limit to how much I will obey. There is a line beyond which I will not be pushed, even by my government.

I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

I believe that Bull Durham was a heckuva movie, obviously.

I also own a whole bunch of guns, including a few of those so-called "assault weapons" many of you want to ban following the horrible events last Friday.

I know that many of you, hoplophiles and hoplophobes alike, come here for the EMS stories and the medical commentary and the humor. And I know that most of the hoplophobes just ignore the firearms posts when they pop up in their RSS feed.

I hope you keep reading now, because it is indeed time for that meaningful conversation on reasonable gun restrictions.

The problem is, for the conversation to be "meaningful" and the restrictions actually "reasonable," both sides have to be speaking the same language. It is difficult to debate facts when one side operates from a position of monumental ignorance. Knowledge replaces unreasoning fear and emotion with rational thought, and that is what I propose to do here.

I say this because I have spent the last week debating gun control on Facebook with intelligent, college-educated and well-meaning people… who are utterly ignorant of the subject.

I engaged a commenter on a friend's facebook thread who basically called me a liar when I stated that many people hunt with AR15 platform rifles. I was about to offer proof of that, when further in his comment I discovered that he also believes that fully automatic weapons are still available to civilians, that you can buy them without ID or background check, and that they are commonly used in crime, and that you can go to gun stores and gun shows in America and buy a rocket propelled grenade. He then went on to state that three of his friends had converted their AR15's to full-auto fire within the past 10 years, and that he had fired these weapons.

So the anti-gun guy from Arlington, VA aids and abets a Federal felony, and consorts with felons. Good to know.

I was unfriended and banned from further debate after that. He continues to rail on about "Why do you neeeeed to own an AR15?" while owning a whole fleet of expensive, vintage ambulances with no airbags or seatbelts, powered by big gas-guzzling V8 motors with no catalytic converter that he doesn't neeeeeeed, either.

Debate with such people is not possible. I am sorry, but you do not get to characterize your points as rational and the restrictions you propose as reasonable if you debate from a position of such monumental ignorance.

So here is what I propose to do: If you don't know jack shit about guns, or you are afraid of them, or if you think tightening gun restrictions is the answer to prevent further events like the massacre at Sandy Hook School, tell us your concerns right here. Tell us why you hold those beliefs. Tell us why you think it is a good idea.

And I swear to you, we will debate you calmly, rationally, and without belittling you. We will treat you with respect and courtesy. We will afford you the courtesy that is NOT extended to Second Amendment advocates who try to debate on anti-gun forums, because invariably the owners of those forums delete or modify pro-gun comments, or shut down comments entirely when their emotional points are countered with facts. Or unfriend you, like my former friend Steve.

I will not do that here.

I am not the first Second Amendment blogger to make such an offer, but I am one of the few that has a substantial non-gun readership. I'll give you a forum here, to debate the issue, and be educated. We may not change your minds on the issue, but at the end of the day, we hope to educate you enough that you are debating a rationally considered moral principle and not one of unreasoning fear based on ignorance.

If you still believe we shouldn't have guns, then at least we can agree to disagree.

We'll do the debate in the comments. If they get to be too long, I'll put up subsequent posts on the subject.

Before we begin, let's set the ground rules:

  1. No personal attacks. That goes for anti-gunners and pro-gunners alike. Insult someone here, get nasty, and you're banned permanently. That goes for my friends as well. If an anti-gunner insults you, you leave the discipline up to me. Do not take the bait. Anti-gunners, you do likewise. You can attack an argument all you want, but attack a person and you eat ban hammer. Personal attacks and misbehavior will see the commenter banned, and their comments held up for public ridicule and mockery. There will be no warnings.
  2. Anonymous comments are allowed. I realize that many commenters do not wish to engage in public debate under their own names. That's cool, as long as your comments are respectful and constructive. If you attack people from a position of anonymity, that just makes you a coward and a troll, even if you're on my side.
  3. Provide facts and figures wherever possible. If we're going to debate, "I feel" is a weak position. Back up what you say with facts and figures if you can. Not all of the facts and figures are going to agree. And be prepared that when some of you quote figures to support your position, your opponents will point out why your apples don't compare to their oranges.
  4. Ridiculous statements beget ridiculous statements. If your debating position is "Guns only have one purpose, and that is to kill! ZOMG! Eleventy!" then you forfeit the right to dismiss as a non sequitur anyone who counters with other everyday objects that kill more people than guns.
  5. No piling on. Pro-gun people are going to outnumber the anti-gun people here. If another commenter has already adequately countered an anti-gun comment with solid facts and figures, refrain from adding your own comment slightly rephrased purely because you want to get your snark on. On the other hand, anti-gunners, if your response to having your points is refuted is little better than, "Uh uh, did not!" then prepare to have someone else enter the discussion. Stubbornly ignoring the facts is not debate.

Those are the rules. Let the meaningful conversation begin!