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Bob Dohse

Consultant,

This conversation is closed.

What gun-control or gun-rights reference is YOUR preferred source of factual information on the subject?

What published gun-control or gun-rights reference is YOUR preferred source of factual information on the subject?

Everyone, it seems, has an OPINION of guns and the limits of their legitimate use within society (if any). But upon WHAT is your opinion based? And WHY is that referenced source important for YOUR opinion.

Please share a published source of your choice, so others might better understand why you chose YOUR opinion.

And please share WHY that information is important to YOUR opinion.

The conversation is in English, but not limited to only the current debate within the United States.

Facts from around the globe are welcomed, but please don't presume that every nation or citizen must accept YOUR nation's laws, culture, or political process.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation in a considerate exchange of information. :-)

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Closing Statement from Bob Dohse

It was interesting to read the different opinions people have on issues related to guns, and also their perspectives which help shape their opinions.

While we might not all agree on every point, I think we demonstrated that it was possible to have an agreeable discussion. That could possibly change in a situation where winners and losers were picked, but we avoided that problem with a TED "question" and not a TED "debate".

Perhaps there's a lesson in this ... that we might possibly be more agreeable citizens if we can somehow (as much as possible) search more for agreement and less for victory. Granted that this is not always possible, it's still a thought to ponder.

If I can keep a gun and find a way to keep my neighbor (who is not a gun advocate) happy, then we both end up happy. Conversely, if I can easily and willingly do something that addresses my neighbor's concerns (perhaps a gun safe to insure safety for children), then we are also both happy.

As a parting comment ... many thanks to Matt MacBradaigh, who provided links to other articles he's written and, thus, shared yet another avenue to exchange information.

And thanks to all for a pleasant dialog without rants and rages.

Warm regards.

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  • May 3 2013: I trust no sources to provide "unbiased" facts.

    This is a bit off the original topic, but I think it is very important.

    I consider it petty and misleading to quibble about the exact meaning of words and phrases in the Constitution.

    Consider the first amendment:

    "Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
    the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
    grievances."

    The language of the first amendment plainly states "no law." But SCOTUS has upheld exceptions with respect to each of the above rights, in some cases because rights can and do conflict. For example, it is illegal to perform religious human sacrifice. The Constitution must be interpreted in a way that is practical and meaningful for the current times, and not according to our current conclusions about the framers intentions, as though any amount of historical research could determine their actual thoughts. The framers had no single intention. The Constitution was the product of compromise.

    The second amendment must be interpreted within the context of the current times. The framers could not possibly imagine modern weaponry, and could never have had any intentions with respect to regulating modern weapons. SCOTUS must do the best it can, with its very limited wisdom, to decide each case in the context of modern society and modern technology. People will continue to be killed by guns because freedom has a price. The decision is, how much freedom is worth how much killing.
    • May 3 2013: Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your input here.

      I would note that these ideas - that there have been restrictions legally upheld & that the weaponry that exists now didn't exist in the 18th Century - have been addressed by the Court.

      The 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) restricted firearms, which ended up the subject of the 1939 U.S. vs Miller. The Court upheld the restriction, in that case on short-barreled shotguns (SBS) on the rationale that a SBS would not be found in a military or militia unit. Instead the Court ruled that "weapons in common use at the time" are protected by the Second Amendment.

      D.C. vs Heller concurred with the Court's earlier assessment on both "weapons in common use at the time" and upholding restrictions on "dangerous and unusual weapons" that are regulated by the 1934 NFA. In Heller the Court also addressed the issue of modern weapons:

      "Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivo­lous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not in­terpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding." (p.8) www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

      Even to those that were not in existence at the time of the founding is what the Court says. Weapons in common use is the standard by which they legitimize protected use.

      The Court also addressed the meaning of "well regulated" (see comments below).

      That is not to suggest that the Court hasn't upheld restrictions - it clearly has, including in Heller. But they are clearly defined, as is what is clearly protected.
      • May 4 2013: Perhaps I was not clear, because you are making my main point, that the Court has and will continue to make rulings based on the current context of changing times. The most important characteristic of a good judge is wisdom. When balancing one person's right to carry a weapon, against another person's right to live without fear that their children will become victims of that weapon, there is no simple answer.
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          May 4 2013: Thanks for the responses and thoughts to consider, Barry.

          I'd add to your last comment that the Supreme Court uses the standards of strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny for simplifying the determination of these cases.

          Although there is no simple answer to the overall social questions concerning gun use, there are relatively simple standards for the scrutiny the courts apply to Second Amendment cases.

          Perhaps one of the bigger issues surrounding the Second Amendment is determining which standard applies ... strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny. That affects the burden of proof the lawmakers must use in defending a Supreme Court challenge ... which brings us directly to the facts necessary to make the case.

          Thanks, again, for raising a challenging point of discussion.
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          May 4 2013: The Cornell Law School's definitions of Intermediate Scrutiny and Strict Scrutiny ... the two standards used by the Supreme Court in Second Amendment cases.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/intermediate_scrutiny

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/strict_scrutiny
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        May 4 2013: Thanks, Matt, for sharing more primary source information and links.

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