Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gun Control: Necessary for safety or harbinger of harm?

There is a topic that has yet to be discussed in any detail on this blog and it is the idea of Gun Control. Claire McCaskill and others recently voted to keep people with concealed-carry permits from taking their permit and gun across state lines. I think that through the 14th amendment and the 2 amendment, it is common sense to see that law-abiding citizens who pass certain tests and have a background check should be allowed to keep their firearms with them at all times.

Seriously, if somebody at Virginia Tech had been packing when that gunman opened fire, maybe only a fraction of the students who were slaughtered would have been. Not even the security guards there were allowed guns.

It is not the gun that does the killing. Its the person who pulls the trigger.

SJ always likes to point out that when the 2nd amendment was written, there was still a prevailing sense of vulnerability among the several states due to our youth as a nation. People wanted to be able to protect themselves from invading forces. But what difference does it make if your home is being invaded by a Redcoat or a burglar? Do we not still have reason to want protection? Are we not a free and independent people? Can we not demand the right to defend ourselves and our loved ones and property from wrong-doers?

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the government went around stealing people's guns...for their safety! That is ludicrous! How are we expected to be safer without arms for defense?

I feel like the right to bear arms is pretty much stated verbatim in the Consitution, yet liberals and other gun control advocates twist themselves into knots to interpret that there is no right to own a gun! I don't understand. If the liberals who read this blog would like to share their reasoning, I'd sure like to try to understand.


  1. I definitely agree with you, and not just because my dad owns a shooting range, which is also where I work. If we can't have guns, then that puts law -abiding citizens in danger. Even though the common gun-owning citizen would turn in their firearms if called to do so, criminals sure wouldn't. This leaves us vulnerable and unable to defend ourselves.

    I don't know if I've worded this well enough to make sense, but in short, I agree with you. A gun won't kill anybody, the person behind it will.

  2. So your saying that someone should be able to take a class and have a background check and if they pass both they are able to have a permit for a gun. Yea I defiantly don’t agree with you on that one. Everyone has a clear background before they become a criminal right. Well what if some day a person gets into a fight or is initiated into a gang and they pull that gun out and use it on someone. They are no longer a citizen, they are a criminal now but they were issued a gun because they were just a regular citizen just a few days ago. This is how most regular citizens become criminals because of stupidity of others allowing this. Issues directed toward violence can be handled a lot different then turning towards killing someone. I don’t understand how anyone could feel safe around someone with just a permit for a gun. I know I don’t. The world is sketchy these days, and you never know who could just walk up and put a gun to your head.
    I do believe though a person should be able to have a permit to have a gun in their house just in case a burglary or something else would happen and they need to protect their family. That gun should be kept in the house and the house only. Once people take it out of their home they have a higher risk of using it not for protection but for revenge.

  3. Imagine you're the gang member, ok? You walk up to an elderly couple or a couple of young women headed down the street looking for an easy mark. You know that since the BRILLIANT minds in your government have banned the right to carry guns, those nice, innocent folks won't be armed. You have nothing to fear.

    On the other hand, imagine you're the bad guy thinking about robbing or assaulting those people, but in your area, the government not only has made it legal to carry, but has encouraged the citizenry to educate themselves about proper self defense. Now you don't know, one of those women might be packing a 9mm in her purse.

    I know its purely hypothetical, but your statement that you feel less safe around law-abiding people just because they have a weapon is ignorance. As Emily pointed out, the honest people will follow the law and not carry their guns, or just not own them. The criminals won't.

  4. Scott L. - nice hypothetical and in the utopian world you claim I live in.

    Let's try this scenario - A man drops his wallet. I see it and pick it up, but can't get his attention. I run up to him and catch him. I tap him on the shoulder, but he is paranoid because he believes he is in an unsafe neighborhood. He immediately thinks I am going to rob so he pulls out his concealed weapon and shoots me.

    Another scenario - the robber in your second scenario needs money right away, but doesn't know if I am carrying a gun. So he shoots me and takes my money. If he thinks I don't have a gun, he pulls it out, threatens me, takes my money, but doesn't shoot me.

    There is no causation proof that the right to carry lowers crime. Some studies say yes and others say no. That is inconclusive.

    In a country ruled by the rule of law, I am not a believer in vigilante justice. The right to carry hinges on that premise in my view.

  5. Also - as I stated in my most recent post - WHERE IS THIS RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE listed in the Constitution?

  6. "Also - as I stated in my most recent post - WHERE IS THIS RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE listed in the Constitution?"

    Wow, so the government has to tell me that I have the right to defend myself?

  7. Jon, you just got there first.

    SJ, knowing the Constitution and it's history as well as you do, I am shocked you would make such a ridiculous statement.

    The Constitution does not list out ALL of our rights; it does not give us rights. We do not get our rights from Government. The Bill of Rights merely expressly outlines several of our rights that the government CANNOT ABRIDGE.

    See amendment 10.

    If this is to remain a State issue, so be it. I'll live in a state that allows me the right to self-defense.

  8. So, are you looking for one of us to say the Ninth Amendment? I mean, it recognizes rights held by the people even if they're not listed in the Constitution.

    SJ, you're a brilliant guy and you're telling me that you need to see a 28th amendment that says you have the right to self-defense?

    As the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I think that the right to self defense is much greater than just applying it to the issue of guns. You can defend yourself by many other means.

    Do you not consider self defense a common or natural law, a human right?

    I for one think self defense need not come as a law from the government but is inherent in humanity.

  9. OK, I find this very interesting. When it comes to the right to privacy, conservatives (including yourselves) tell me the Court is making up rights. And now, you tell me that rights exists that are not in the Constitution.

    Wardo - "Wow, so the government has to tell me that I have the right to defend myself?"

    Then why do you get so upset when I argue that the right to privacy is the same thing?

    Isn't a right to privacy, which in other words means the government has no business interfering with decisions between my doctor and myself (I'm sorry but I couldn't help myself using your words to defend abortion), in my church or in my home, a natural human right and the cornerstone of a limited government?

    I'll give you self-defense if you give me privacy.

    Why am I going to guess that you won't see it this way?

    Scott L. - "The Constitution does not list out ALL of our rights; it does not give us rights."

    You just used my argument for the right to health care (i.e. life) on this issue. How can you say this when it comes to guns, but not when it comes to access to health? When it was health care, you screamed here that this right was not in the Constitution and, therefore, not a right. Now it's different? I'm sorry, but I see your philosophy as inconsistent. You want an argument only when it supports what you want.

  10. Wardo - "So, are you looking for one of us to say the Ninth Amendment? I mean, it recognizes rights held by the people even if they're not listed in the Constitution."

    I guess you don't want me to comment on how this argument supports privacy and reproductive rights do you?

  11. "Do you not consider self defense a common or natural law, a human right?"

    I do, but your view here does not support the general conservative philosophy of strict intepretation of the Constitution. I have no problem with the Court applying the Constitution in ways that allow for current intepretation of society. If you want self-defense fine, but please stop labeling only liberals as activists then.

  12. Many of your examples of what you believe to be are rights are not.

    I do believe in the right to privacy, insofar as it pertains to myself, my property, so long as I am not abridging anyone else's rights to the same.

    For example, I believe that I have the right to protection from unreasonable search and seizures. That is, police must have a warrant and reasonable suspicion in order to search my house or my car or my person.

    I believe that I have the right to my medical records. I do not think government should be able to come in between my doctor and myself.

    However, for liberals, this privacy is extended to decisions regarding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

    This is where I draw the line on the right to privacy, because your rights end where another's begin. You cannot deny that baby its natural right to life. I understand that medically, there are rare instances where carrying a pregnancy to term could result in the death of the mother, and ONLY in those cases do I acquiesce and allow the abortion. In that instance, we have one life who is already established and we have a duty to protect that life if at all possible. If the only way to do so is by aborting the pregnancy, then so be it. Otherwise, that baby has the same rights to life as you or I, and we have a duty to protect that right as a society.

    This is the rub that conservatives have on Roe v Wade. We're upset (at least I am) not so much that the SCOTUS determined we have a right to privacy, but that they extended that right over the right of another (the baby).

    SJ, again, I will stand by my argument that

    right to life =/= right to affordable healthcare paid by the taxpayers

    I will say that right to pursue happiness == right to access healthcare in the same way that I would have the access to any other legal product or service in the marketplace.

    You are trying to argue that we all have a Natural right, bestowed by God, to have the highest quality healthcare available.

    There is a difference! That healthcare is being provided by people who have incurred mega debt and spent 6-8 years of their life in very intense study. The providers take on huge liability risks with their $200,000 per year malpractice insurance premiums, run a small business which provides jobs, and pursue their own American dreams. It is akin to saying that you have a right to own a house because you need shelter! You have no such right! We do not have rights to material things! We have only rights to pursue them, to protect what is ours. There is no right to equal outcome, merely a right to the opportunity, free from interference by others.

  13. I need to reiterate a point about rights.

    The two most important rights we have that our Founders wanted to ensure would be protected are the right to life and the right to private property. Private property is almost equal to life in many of their writings and indeed, it is the cornerstone of a strong, stable Republic.

    That being said, here is my proof that you have no right to healthcare.

    You do not have a right to MY STUFF.

    I am the doctor. I provide healthcare. My services cost me time and money. Just because you need my services does not mean you have a natural right to them.

    I am the farmer. I grow food. This costs me time and money. You do not have a right to MY FOOD.

    You have no right to something which belongs to someone else.

    My friends, that last bit is really the crux of the difference between the liberty loving capitalist, the individual prizing conservative, and the centralized planning statist; the liberal.

    I believe the money I earn (or books I write, or things I produce) are MINE and that the government confiscates them through various fees, taxes, etc. I willingly pay these taxes as a part of my citizenship, and I demand to see them spent wisely.

    The Statist believes that ALL MONEY IS GOVERNMENT'S and that THEY ALLOW us to keep some portion of our earnings.

    The root word of Communism is commune. To each according to his need, from each according to his ability. Karl Marx wrote those words.

    That is the main difference in our outlooks SJ. You think that we all have a right to demand someone else's stuff. I see their private property as their's alone.

    Private Property is what this whole debate is about.

  14. Funny how you think a non-citizen has the same rights as a citizen. If this issue were about immigration, you would argue that the non-citizen has no rights. However, when we are talking about the non-citizen being a fetus (read the Fourteenth Amendment - it defines citizenship as being born), now the non-citizen has rights. Now I am confused.

    I do not believe we all have a right to demand someone else's stuff. I just think we need to make sure everyone has the same opportunity. As we discussed at lunch, I think we need to give everyone the opportunity. It doesn't mean they take advantage of it, but I want a society where everyone has no one to blame but themselves for their failures. We do not have that now.

    Interestingly, you talk about rights of one trumpiung the rights of another. I don't think you view smoking bans in the same light.

  15. Well, there's an awful lot going on here. Let's start with the guns. The second amendment says that "the people" have the right to bear arms, keeping in mind the need for a "well regulated militia." If you don't understand these words, then you need to go back to high school. The founders were perfectly aware of the language in the first amendment. Remember, that's the one that comes before the second. If they wante to say, "Congress shall pass no law restricting gun use," they would have said it. Logically, since they had access to the words, and since they didn't use them, I'll assume that they didn't mean it. Now, going beyond the Constitution, which isn't always right and often requires the interpretation of people like John Marshal, Willian O. Douglas, William Brennan and John Paul Stevens (ok, I've left out many great liberals, but let's start there), we should simply outlaw guns. Oh, I know, when guns are illegal, only outlaws will have guns. However, if you can wake up and get beyond bumper sticker slogans, let's face it, many of us don't have guns and yet, we live long lives. I have never held a gun, but no one has found me yet. I'm probably more likely to be hit by a bus than by a bullet. However, if you want to hide under the dining room table with a rifle, be my guest. We all know that guns won't be outlawed, though I'd sure prefer it. Get a dog!

    As for citizenship and immigrants, let me quickly say that Scott J is right again. Conservatives are so thoughtful when it comes to a motionless cell that might be wiped out in a murderous rage by a doctor. However, when it comes to a Mexican, the time for drastic action becomes a necessity. You don't need a Constitution to see that someone has lost it.

  16. I am a law abiding citizen of The United States. I am also a current CCW holder in the state of Missouri. I have had my endorsement for the past 4 years. I have not once used my firearm for any reason. I have never brandished it, I have not fired it (except for at the range) and I don't plan on using it unless my or someone elses life is in danger, to prevent a kidnapping, or to put a animal out of its misery.

    I know you are saying that that all sounds good and dandy, but not all people think like I do. That point is true, but who really knows what impact the Conceal Carry law has had on crime since we as a country have politicians who make the numbers "work for them" so their point seems more feasible than their opponent. But can we say that the law has not worked. How many insances can you recall hearing that someone with a CCW endorsement has shot someone, or better yet can you recall the number of times you have heard of a shooting in which some criminal has shot someone. You've heard of the latter thousands of times, but the prior not as much.

    Ponder this: if the firearm had never been invented, would we be having this discussuion?

  17. SJ,

    I applaud your idealism, yet disagree with your prognosis. True, not every person in America gets born in the same neighborhood, nor has a stable, two parent family that encourages educational excellence, nor any number of other opportunities that some have that others do not.

    Life is not fair. The world is a mean, cruel place. But it's a lot more "fair" in America than anywhere else on the planet. We have so much more opportunity for education, healthcare, career advancement, income name it, we got it.

    Your solution for "making it fair" seems to be to hand everyone the same "equal" load of crap healthcare that will befall us if Obama gets what he wants.

    Please, for the liberals on this blog...

    What about Obama's healthcare proposals do you like? Why would you all SUPPORT his plans?

  18. Mark,

    The moral equivalences that you draw between ILLEGAL immigrants and unborn children are ridiculous.

    The latter is totally innocent and will be born into the world a human being.

    The former is breaking our law and costing us, as a country, billions annually.

    The two are not the same.

  19. Trying fancy symbols seeing if they work

    [quote]The world is sketchy these days, and you never know who could just walk up and put a gun to your head.[/quote]

    I feel like even though Shortyshyt3728 is arguing in favor of gun control, this statement pulled from her argument I feel is the epitome of why gun control is bad and why concealed carry is favorable.

    I remember saying the same thing once many years ago when I was first learning about politics, saying that well if we allow for people to own guns, we won't know who could just pull a gun out on us.

    Sadly, regardless of the law or not, we are not sure who might pull out a gun on us regardless anyway. Seems to me the only way to insure knowing who has the gun would be to have one yourself.

    BTW, people with clean backgrounds that pass the test for concealed carry do not suddenly join a gang and go shoot up banks.

  20. Scott L -

    Mark nor I were making a moral statemet. Trust me, both of us have studied moral development until we can study it anymore.

    All we are making is a legal argument. The 14th Amendment defines citizenship in a way that does not protect the unborn. We are not agreeing with abortion. In fact, no one has ever argued for more abortions. Just because something is legal does not make it moral. Anyway, don't conservatives argue that we shouldn't legislate morality?

    My opinion on the morality of abortion (opposed) should not bias my opinion on its legality. For me, an inherent right to privacy trumps almost everything for me (and I have to admit in the gun debate also). What one does as a private citizen is nobody else's business. This includes a women's right to privacy as it pertains to her own body.

  21. "if the firearm had never been invented, would we be having this discussuion"

    Good question STL_MAR - I can't help but think back to my sociocultural development studies. In this theory, we have tools all around us. A tool is something that will allow us to get a job done (it is more complex than this, but this is good enough for my point).

    Now, tools are neither moral nor immoral. YouTube is a tool of internet communication. It does not matter what YouTube is, however, it is important for the user of the tool. This tool can be used moral or immorally by the user, but it is not YouTube acting. Same thing with the hammer. It can be used to build a new home (good) or used to kill (bad).

    I pose this question then: Since a gun is a tool, can someone come up with an example of a gun being used morally outside of the realm of hunting for food? None of this debate has been about the use of guns for hunting, so I want to remove it from the discussion and discuss the morality of the tool known as a gun.

    I would like to point out before Wardo, Lski or Scott L. use it that the use of gun in self-defense is not a moral use. It might be an acceptable use, but the killing of another human violates the natural moral code that guides us as a species. Killing someone in self-defense has always been considerd an acceptable immoral action because of the nature of instincts (which developed long before the invention of firepoweder weapons by the Turks).

    Just a thought.

  22. Gun Control is a very serious topic. Unless a person is properly trained to use a gun, people should not be able to have one. This basically means-if you are not a police officer or in the army, you should not have a gun. We all know the quote: “GunsDon’t Kill People; People with Guns Kill People”. I am a firm believer in that quote. I think that it is too easy for people to get guns. Look at how many school shootings there have been. We are making it too easy to have people get their hands on guns. I do not think that guns should not even be allowed to be in homes. There are too many deaths. If you turn on the news, there are several deaths every day. Here are some statistics I found from a website about children and guns.
    • More than 10 children, and teenagers 19 and under, are killed by guns EVERYDAY, and many more are wounded.
    • 77% of murdered juveniles 13-19 are killed by firearms 39% of households have a gun, 24% are handguns Annually 1,409 children and teenagers have taken their own lives with guns
    • Guns kept in the home for self protection are 22x’s more likely to kill a family member or friend than to kill in self defense
    Here is the website.
    What is telling us? We are making it too easy for children to get guns. Guns were sold at K-Mart for crying out loud. Look at the numbers of school shootings: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Wickliffe, shooting, Amish school shooting, Buell Elementary shooting (elementary school), and many more. Wikipedia has a list of the school shootings and the number of people that were murdered. Now, not all of them were started by children, but a number of them were either started by children or young adults.
    My theory is that if we would get rid of guns, less people would be killed. Guns are a dangerous weapon, and unless you are properly trained to use them then you have no business using a gun. A lot of people said that if I keep the gun and bullets in separate places, then it will be fine. All they want to do is protect their family, but it could end of ruing their family. Children are very curious, and will stop at nothing to find to them. Next time you bring a gun into your house think this: Is it worth possibly losing a child?

  23. I agree that Americans should have the right to carry. Whether it lowers crimes or not if the gun is legal then it is able to be tracked as opposed to an unregistered gun. Crime is going to happen no matter what. Innocent people and criminals will carry whether it is legal or not.

  24. "In fact, no one has ever argued for more abortions." - SJ

    This is not true. Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed the plan behind abortion when she let it slip that abortion ought to be legal so we can basically keep a control on certain populations that "we don't want too many of". She didn't specify which population to which she was referring, but as the vast majority of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in urban areas, in predominantly BLACK neighborhoods, perhaps you can draw a conclusion as to which population she meant. And you lot want to say the conservatives are the racists.

    "This includes a women's right to privacy as it pertains to her own body."

    One correction on something you said earlier. Its not really the Conservatives who argue against legislating morality...we're the ones with faith based initiatives. We're the ones who understand that the strongest unit in our Republic is the nuclear family, complete with Mom, Dad, brother and sister. We're the ones who push so hard against abortion, knowing in our hearts that it is the murder of the most innocent among us. Conservative thought brought us the Defense of Marriage Act. That sure seems like wanting to push a certain morality in my view.

    But what's so wrong with wanting to legislate morality?

    Morals are not something that can be redefined. When one is said to be a moral person, there are some very natural conclusions made about him quite instantly.

    He is honest, kind, helpful. He protects the innocent. He does the right thing, even when it is hard or nobody is watching. A moral person will not harm others unless in defense of himself or his loved ones. Typically, a moral person is seen to be someone who won't cheat on his significant other.

    Legislating morality seems to me a pretty good way to protect the virtues and values that built this nation. I'll admit, it can only go so far, but a moral nation is a strong nation.

  25. "We are making it too easy for children to get guns."

    Whatever happened to being a proper parent and teaching your children to respect guns for the weapons that they are?

    Anyways, fortunately, your ideas are unconstitutional.

  26. I do/do not believe in the right to carry a fire arm. THOUGH our government needs to do a better job in keeping those guns out of the hands of certain people. And there needs to be rules about where u can and cannot take your firearm.

    Psychological, background, and drug screening is just a number of the test that I believe people should be forced to take in order to be able to carry and even purchase a gun.

    I also believe that you cannot and will not fire that firearm unless you are
    A. at a shooting range
    B. on private property where it clearly states everywhere that it is private property
    C. if you are in immediate danger or your family is.

    I do not want my red neck neighbor to be firing his gun anytime he pleases out in the woods behind my house.

    I also do not want to walk in a mall and see everyone “packing”. The U.S. is not that un-safe that you need to carry a gun everywhere you go.

    I do not have a gun nor do I plan on getting one. If you do not feel safe enough to go out in public without “packing” maybe you are not psychologically stable enough to carry a gun either!

    It is our right to carry a gun, as stated in the constitution we have the right to bear arms. Yes we are not at war with other states, and yes I know some red coat is not going to come in my house and kill me for not loving England.

    BUT I really could care less if I’m in the park and see some man/woman “packing”. It will not make me feel safer nor will it make me feel like I’m threatened.

    Gun Control is just another topic that confuses me but also really makes me think about how un-safe people believe they are.

    I have read everyone’s comments if they think you should be able or not to be able to carry a gun. I still do not see enough argument in either case to decide on a side. This is one topic that I guess I’ll just have to stay neutral on and HOPE the government will, if passed, make certain places and people not allowed to have guns.

  27. We are a society that accepts war and violence because we are raised to do so. Look at the type of toys and video games that are available to children. Look at what we see on TV. It does seem somewhat confusing to me that the majority of people in the US practice a religion and almost every one of these religions say not to kill. However, we accept violence and aggression as part of our value system and teach our kids that it is OK to raise a gun or fight in some situations because we are protecting our right to defend ourselves. We accept and try to understand too much when a kid goes to school and shoots his/her classmates. "The child has psychological problems" or "The parents abused him" or "He was unfairly treated by his classmates", etc. etc. We accept these reasons because we accept violence and war, whether it be the death penalty, gun control, killing people for money, or killing someone for self-defense. If it is reasonably explained under our law system, it is acceptable. I think gun control would not even be an issue if we can be certain that all people are responsible, but history has proven that we are not. We cannot just trust that the people we allow guns to will use it under the situations that society has deemed “OK” to use them.

  28. I think that people should be allowed to have guns for protection if they have a background check and take a safety class. But I do not think that allowing anyone to carry a gun around for self defense is very smart.

    Say someone pulls a gun in public... everyone else around them has a gun too for self defense, so they pull theirs out. It is just going to turn into a shooting range when people start shooting.

    I do not know how citizens can protect them selves in a gunman situation but I do not think everyone carring a gun is very smart either. But I do wish somebody could come up with a good plan because I don't like bein scared to go out at night or go out in a bad neighborhood. Pepper spray can only protect you so much and only when your right next to the person.

    Something needs to be done but i don't have any ideas.

  29. I do think that citizens should have the right to carry a gun for self-defense. In our time and society, violence is something that happens. Sadly, it actually occurs quite often. Every night on the news, there are always stories of people being shot. It is also very common in movies and video games. I agree with "emr" that those who wish to carry a gun must have safety classes and proper training. I also think they should have to go a background check. If someone has had felonies/ troubles with the law, he or she should not be able to carry a gun. I feel these types of people are more prone to violence, and we do not need that in public areas.