FOR: Max HarwoodToo many choicesTo reduce gun control laws and encourage citizens to possess firearms would be a foolish and dangerous mistake. The presence of guns increases the chances for violence and murder. If citizens carried guns on a regular basis we would not see a safer society, but rather a society of fear and unwarranted deaths. Encouraging everyone to carry a gun for protection implies that our society is ridiculously dangerous. If everyone carried a gun, it would unnecessarily increase general anxiety and fear of our nieghbors. How would you feel knowing that if you bothered someone they could kill you? If everyone carried guns, there would be an increase in senseless murders. In our daily lives, we are not always capable of making a rash decision regarding someone’s life. Take road rage for example. Just a couple of years ago, a California resident was arrested after in an act of road rage – he threw another driver’s dog into on-coming traffic where it was brutally slaughtered by cars. What if that man had had a gun? He probably would have shot the other driver. Strong emotions lead to irrational decisions. Add guns to the equation, and you have a recipe for disaster. Should everyone have guns? Certainly children should not carry guns, but then were leaving our youth vulnerable; kids would be the only ones unprotected in our society. And what about mental stability? How can you judge if someone has the mental capacity and judgment to decide at any given moment whether a situation warrants lethal force. To lessen gun control and encourage the use of guns for self-defense is to say that all people at all times are intelligent and responsible enough to know when it is appropriate to take kill another human being. I doubt that this is the case. Many can’t drive without causing accidents, many need magazines to tell them how to eat healthy, and many even have trouble deciding what to wear in the morning. If we have trouble making these trivial choices, are we really going to be able to make the right decision about taking someone’s life? Loosening gun control would be unwise and ineffective. To make a safer and better society, we should increase gun control, and we should also increase education and community building projects and programs. All guns not used for hunting should be banned. Semi-automatic guns and handguns have no purpose other than to kill other human beings. Adding fire to fire only makes a larger fire. More guns just mean more guns: more violence, more dead people. If we want a safer society, we need to make an effort strengthen our community and increase education. It would be wiser to get to know our neighbors and understand why we don’t want to kill them rather than trying to find comfort in knowing that we can kill them.AGAINST: Rick Valenta & Ryan WalkerDo you own a gun?The recent armed robbery at FUDA, which at least one UVM student was present, got us thinking about the second amendment. We get the general impression that most people at UVM who are opposed to guns have never fired or even seen a real gun other than on television/movies or in a video game. After shooting with friends and getting into marksmanship, we feel fully comfortable around guns and the serious responsibility involved in owning a firearm. As with any niche hobby, shooting is not something that people who are unfamiliar with it really understand. Guns are not inherently bad. They are inanimate objects imbued with purpose and meaning by people. These meanings range from target shooting, to self defense, to hunting, and military use. If they did not exist now, they would be re-invented. The fact that the government of the United States trusts its citizens to legally own and operate firearms both for pleasure, and more serious things like personal protection, speaks much to our government and to our founding fathers. The main problem associated with guns is their misuse by criminals and the occasional individual who abuses his freedom. This is an inherent problem with civil liberties: if you allow people to be free, a small percentage of people will abuse that freedom; be it drugs, motorcycle helmet laws, guns, alcohol or cars. If you continue to take away more and more freedoms for fear of abuse, we will be left with none of the core values that our country was founded on. More government intervention means less civil liberties, less civil liberties mean less individual freedom. Unlike driving – which is a privilege – our nations founding fathers, who drafted our constitution, deemed owning a firearm a right, not a privilege (though exceptions now exist). Why do modern liberals think that they have the right to dismiss this constitutionally protected right? We must also remember that the framers intended the right to bear arms also a defense against a tyrannical government. This is something most student radicals should be able to relate to. Thomas Jefferson said, “No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Do we want to live in a world of little freedom, where life is a boring and anesthetized experience because we are no longer free to take risks? It comes down to personal responsibility, maturity, and accountability for our actions. As well as the acknowledgment that freedom brings inherent risks, and awesome possibilities.