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Round 1. intreped v.s. Valhall: Gun Control

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posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 05:10 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Gun control laws are an important issue and the current laws are not strict enough."

intreped will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
Valhall will argue against this proposition.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debater posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image may be included in each post. No more than 5 references can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

[edit on 21/1/05 by MacKiller]

[edit on 22/1/05 by MacKiller]




posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 07:40 PM
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Thank You Mac for setting this debate up. Bows to one of my favorite ATS people on the other side of this debate, Val.

This topic of gun control is a highly charged one. First off I want to state that I am a gun owner myself and I think that "firmer" gun laws would be a good thing. This is NOT a 2nd amendment issue, I do NOT want to take anyones guns from them. It is the issue of how arms are aquired and stored that is the issue. Sure, you could rely on everyones good sense but how many accidents happen that could be prevented by legislation to make firearms safer.

Dangerous items are regulated by the government, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, why shouldn't we do ALL we can to make firearms as safe as possible? Once again I am saying that I am NOT in favour of taking the citizens arms, OR THEIR RIGHTS, away. I am advocating SAFER arms laws that will strengthen any gun owners arguement against restrictions. The laws in place now are a start, we must hone them further to achieve safer gun OWNERSHIP.

Over to you Val.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 09:26 PM
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I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this debate and thank all who gave me the opportunity. Much respect to my extremely capable opponent, Intrepid.

Guns are inherently unsafe. The sole intent of a gun is to discharge a projectile at a velocity adequate enough to penetrate a target. In the case of firearms, with the exception of competition or training, that target is usually either an animal or a human. Safety of guns has been addressed, and legislated. There are laws governing the minimum required age to obtain a gun, the training requirements to qualify to use a gun, background checks to ensure the purchaser’s history does not preclude ownership of a gun, and waiting periods for handguns to delay possession in times of passionate anger. There has been legislation that has placed locks on guns, and that regulate the transportation and shipping of guns. And laws constrain the carrying of guns on a person without a further licensing process and more stringent background check. Further legislation for the sake of “safing” an inherently unsafe device would result in further infringements on the right to “bear arms”.

The question is not whether the laws attempting to enforce safety of guns are firm enough, but whether the current gun control laws are adequate, or strict enough. But since it has been shown above that the futile attempt to make an unsafe device safe through legislation has been repeatedly attempted, it can also be shown that further attempts in this arena would result in infringement of the ability to purchase, possess and bear (use) arms. For this reason, it does become, at the fundamental level, a question of the second amendment.


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.


- Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

The obvious intent of the Second Amendment was to ensure an armed militia to stand against an invading force. It can also be argued, based on what the Founding Fathers had removed themselves from in England, and what they hoped to constitutionally prevent happening in their "New World", that this armed militia would be available to stand against any internal oppressive government as well. Since a corrupt government, once installed, inherently cannot control its own malfeasance, the Second Amendment was a preemptive measure taken to tie the hands of any possible oppressive administration that could ultimately attempt to usurp the ability of the populace to defend the rights of the nation as a whole against either an external invading force, or the corrupt, oppressing internal government itself.

There has been great debate, both in and out of the legal system as to what right the Second Amendment preserves. It will be the point of this side of the discussion to show that the Second Amendment doesn't as much preserve an individual's right to possess firearms, as it prohibits the government from infringing on the ability of the individual to be armed for the sake of the nation. In other words, where there may be inherent individual rights implied elsewhere in the constitution, the right to bear arms and protect oneself and one's country is an explicit right named to be protected from government restriction - for the good of the nation as a whole. It is for this reason that the Second Amendment must be viewed as an amendment focused at “the good of the many” versus the good of the few. And it is for this reason that further restricting gun controls, even for the sake of the safety of the few, cannot be allowed to restrict the intended defense of the many.

It is also the intention of this argument to show that any gun control restrictions cannot, constitutionally, issue from the federal government level, but must be relegated to the state level or lower. It will be shown that when the intention of the Founding Fathers, as reflected in their own words, is taken into account, there is a threshold of gun control measures that can be taken at the state or local level for which once crossed can no longer fill the requirement of an armed militia for the good of the nation. And finally, it will be shown that we border on that threshold at the state level, that the federal government has over-reached its constitutionally defined boundaries, and that instead of being in the position of requiring further gun control measures, should have all federal gun control laws repealed on the basis of unconstitutionality – including any directed at safety issues that result in encumbering the citizen’s right to purchase, possess or bear arms.



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 04:42 PM
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Once again let me say that I do NOT see this as a 2nd Amendment issue. I am NOT advocating the removal of arms but the control of arms.


Originally posted by Valhall
The question is not whether the laws attempting to enforce safety of guns are firm enough, but whether the current gun control laws are adequate, or strict enough. But since it has been shown above that the futile attempt to make an unsafe device safe through legislation has been repeatedly attempted, it can also be shown that further attempts in this arena would result in infringement of the ability to purchase, possess and bear (use) arms. For this reason, it does become, at the fundamental level, a question of the second amendment.


Merriam Webster defines "control", as I intend it as: 2 a : to exercise restraining or directing influence over : REGULATE b : to have power over.

Who is the control I'm aiming at here? The gun owner. You are right Val, a gun is "an unsafe device". Let's make it safer by putting forth legislation to make gun owners control their arms better. See why this is NOT a 2nd amendmet issue? I am not advocating the removal of arms.

Let's not deal with murders and suicides as they are going to be done with or with out a firearm. Those are not the issue, what about accidents? Scary stats here www.kidsandguns.org...

How do we accomplish this control? TRIGGER LOCKS! I am all in favor of legislation to make gun owners have complete control of their guns by mandating that ALL guns be stored with trigger locks. With a lock in place, a fiream is little more than a club. Still "an unsafe device" but requiring far more effort for it to be lethal.


Originally posted by Valhall
There has been great debate, both in and out of the legal system as to what right the Second Amendment preserves. It will be the point of this side of the discussion to show that the Second Amendment doesn't as much preserve an individual's right to possess firearms, as it prohibits the government from infringing on the ability of the individual to be armed for the sake of the nation.


I have heard it said that, "The 2nd Amendment right is the right to guarantee all other rights". On this we have an accord. However our approach to this is different. I am advocating that safer firearms are actually taking verbal ammunition away from those that would like to eliminate guns. Keeping the status quo, or eliminating existing laws, actually adds to the disarmmament arguement. Even if it was a 2nd Amendment issue, which I do not believe it is, this type of legislation would actually bolster the position of said Amendment.



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 07:54 PM
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The first objective of my argument was to show that the Second Amendment must be viewed as an amendment focused at “the good of the many” versus the concerns of the few, and that further restricting gun controls, even for the sake of the safety of the few, cannot be allowed to restrict the intended defense of the many.


"We must train and classify the whole of our male citizens, and make military instruction a regular part of collegiate education. We can never be safe till this is done."


-Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1813.


"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."


- George Mason Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

It is upon the founding fathers’ words that we must rely to divine their intent. The above quotes are but a couple of the myriad statements made by the writers and defenders of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that point at the intent to arm all citizens for the sake of the good of the nation.

As stated in my opening statement, there are a number of safety-oriented laws on the books today, including trigger locks. It should be noted that the trigger-lock ordinance of the City of South Miami was ruled "null and void" because it was so restrictive to the citizen's ability to keep firearms accessible for self defense. Reducing a firearm to "little more than a club" voids the sole intention of the device, and that very intention protected by the Second Amendment - to arm the citizenry for immediate defense. If the intent of the Second Amendment had been to arm the citizen, and the ready militia, with clubs and plow shares it would have stated so, but as it is, United States vs Miller has ruled the bar to be that of weaponry "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.'' A club would most definitely not qualify as an effective weapon for a ready militia in today's environs.

My opponent chose to put forth statistics on accidental gun deaths that involved children. Though this tends to bring forth empassioned reactions, it should be pointed out that even when taking the larger claims of daily accidental child deaths (i.e. those reported for 18 years or below) due to guns (statistics from 1996-2001), these deaths represented approximately .0000015 % of the total population of the U.S on any given day. Clearly, to take further actions reducing the ability to bear firearms in defense would be a matter of placing the concerns of the few above the needs of the many. And when we see that the same link shows that 40% of American households possess firearms, this makes the matter even more negligible in the larger picture; and the true intent of the Second Amendment.

Gun owners who do not properly store and safe their weapons can be sued for negligence, or "producing anenticing hazard" in civil court; penalized; or imprisoned under child endangerment laws, and public endangerment laws. There is no need for further "gun control" laws to force gun owners to properly handle, store and use their weapons.

I firmly disagree with my opponent. This most definitely is a Second Amendment issue. There is no need to pass further laws that would result in the encumberance of the ability to bear arms in defense because of a misplaced sense of concern for "safety issues".

1. Florida Trigger Lock Law Ruled "Null and Void"

2. U.S. Constitution: Second Amendment

3. My opponent's link



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
As stated in my opening statement, there are a number of safety-oriented laws on the books today, including trigger locks. It should be noted that the trigger-lock ordinance of the City of South Miami was ruled "null and void" because it was so restrictive to the citizen's ability to keep firearms accessible for self defense.


This disagreement between the NRA and anti-gun people has gone on for so long that neither are willing to consede a single step. Much like the hockey strike/lockout it has become so personal that reason is thrown out the window. '"null and void" because it was so restrictive to the citizens to keep firearms accessible for self defense'? I would like to know how? How long does it take to unlock a trigger lock? Not long by the looks of them.

www.triggerlock.com...

This is just more political posturing that prevents possitive gun control. I would think that having a trigger-locked gun would be more accessible as it would not have to be locked in a cabinet to be safe. Take the combination lock, that could be opened in 5 seconds and kept in a bedside table. It would take you considerably longer to get to and open a cabinet. As use for a millitia, the gun would be unlocked before you were out the door. If a child finds this, it would be highly unlikely they would be able to open it.


Originally posted by Valhall
My opponent chose to put forth statistics on accidental gun deaths that involved children. Though this tends to bring forth empassioned reactions, it should be pointed out that even when taking the larger claims of daily accidental child deaths (i.e. those reported for 18 years or below) due to guns (statistics from 1996-2001), these deaths represented approximately .0000015 % of the total population of the U.S on any given day.


My objective here was not to evoke "empassioned reactions" but to put forth a logical arguement for trigger locks. If it saved only 1 child it would be worth it but I believe that trigger locks would all but elliminate accidents completely. Isn't that logical?

I can see NO downside for gun control of this sort. Then again, I don't see this as a 2nd Amendment issue, just a logical solution.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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I have not stated at any time that trigger locks are not good ideas (they are). I have pointed out that trigger lock laws are in place in states and/or cities where the citizens have passed them. That's the correct method in which these matters must be dealt, at the state and local level. There can be no federal law passed that deals with how, when or where a U.S. citizen can possess a firearm. It is unconstitutional. I quote from FindLaw:


Whatever the Amendment may mean, it is a bar only to federal action…


So the question of any federal trigger-lock law is, simply, out of the question. In fact, all current federal laws (such as those banning automatic weapons) should be struck down for unconstitutionality. If the majority of people in a given location have voted to ban automatic weapons in their jurisdiciton, so be it, but the federal government cannot constitutionally mandate that decision to them.

If the Federal government wants to promote the use of trigger locks, they can do so in a manner that does not legally restrict the gunowner. For instance, provide a tax incentive to every gun manufacturer who sells their firearms with accompanying trigger locks. There can be no federal law that is at the same time constitutional and effects the purchase, possessing or use of firearms.

Furthermore, even if the trigger lock laws are pushed down to the appropriate level of legislation (state or local), the enforcement of these laws is very problematic and would lead to further unconstitutional acts. Since the trigger lock is in place only when the firearm is not being used, exactly how will compliance be determined? Will there be searches of the night stands of all registered gun owners? Will these searches take place without probable cause and simply because the gun owner's name is on a list? Again, unconstitutional. And who will perform these searches? the ATF? an agency that is yet another unconstitutional federal move into the citizen's right to possess any firearm his local populace has deemed acceptable?

No. For safety's sake, or any other sake, there should be no federal laws concerning gun control. All current federal laws regarding such are unconstitutional and should be repealed. Further restrictions to the gun owner at the local level as far as trigger lock laws are unenforcable and unneeded.

If the concerns of children are the driving force behind the desire to see a higher use of trigger locks, the federal government can take positive actions through tax incentives or government subsidies to the gun manufacturers, or tax incentives to the gun purchasers when a gun is sold with an accompanying trigger lock. No gun control laws required.

1. Find Law



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 02:11 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Gun control laws are an important issue and the current laws are not strict enough."

It doesn't matter to me Val if it is implemented at the State, Federal or municipal level. Trigger locks are a logical form of control, that is not invasive in any way to the gun owner with the exception of those that are not "going to let the government tell me how to use my firearms". That is what it really boils down to. I was amazed, although not surpised, at all the rhetoric on this when I was searching for this debate. Sites saying things like, "I put a lock on my gun and a perfectly good $550.00 gun is turned into a paperweight". HOW? A turn of the key or the sequencing of the number tumblers, which takes little time, an that "paperweight" is magically transformed into a weapon that is "inherently unsafe".

It is obvious that a significant amount of owners will not put locks on their weapons. Why? Littlle more than they don't want too. Legislation is needed to make these unsafe weapons safer. BTW Val, if you are NOT using your gun, what are you doing with it? Nothing! Why is locking it a problem then? You are interfering with nothing.


Originally posted by Valhall
Furthermore, even if the trigger lock laws are pushed down to the appropriate level of legislation (state or local), the enforcement of these laws is very problematic and would lead to further unconstitutional acts. Since the trigger lock is in place only when the firearm is not being used, exactly how will compliance be determined?


A fair question. Random searches are not acceptable. However I think that heavy penalties, fines or jail, for people injured or killed by guns not secured would be sufficiant. The message would be sent. It's pretty hard to say your weapon was secured after it has been discharged.

Logic, not emotion, for or against gun laws, should dictate that this ONE small thing be done. If this were implemented I think that the issue, "Gun control laws are an important issue and the current laws are not strict enough." would be moot. I would have had to concede but one more step is needed, then they will be strict enough.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 02:58 PM
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Let us ask Gloria Turner and Bobby Doster if a mandated trigger lock would have adversely affected how they could use their firearms today when they were held up by two would-be robbers. Let us ask Gloria and Bobby if things would have turned out differently had they been forced to take the time required for "A turn of the key or the sequencing of the number tumblers".

Let's see, from their own account of what transpired today how much time was available to remove a trigger lock:

www.cnn.com...


"She said she tried to open the register, but one of the men told her she wasn't moving fast enough and tried to shoot her husband. He missed -- and his gun jammed.

At that point, Bobby Doster pulled out a .380-caliber handgun and shot one of the suspects. Gloria Turner then went for a 9 mm pistol she keeps near the register.

"All hell broke loose," she said. "I was trying to shoot and dial 911 at the same time."

Both suspects took cover behind the store's meat counter as the owners opened fire. Gloria Turner said she doesn't know how many bullets were fired, or how many times the suspects were hit."


Trigger locks affect the owner's ability to rapidly bear their firearm and defend themselves and others in harms way. This event today, where two possible victims walked away alive, shaken, but unharmed, and two would-be felons died - never to threaten another citizen's life again, is the epitome of how important it is that the citizen be able to defend themselves and other citizens via the unencumbered, constitutionally protected right to bear arms.

My opponent states that the argument found on pro-gun sites that “I put a lock on my gun and a perfectly good $550.00 gun is turned into a paperweight” is some how vacuous, but he himself admitted no less when he stated “With a lock in place, a firearm is little more than a club.” Would Gloria and Bobby have been able to club their way out of the nightmare they were suddenly thrust into this morning?

As I have stated previously there are public endangerment laws, child endangerment laws, and negligence clauses, that already cover when a citizen does not take responsible actions in safe-guarding their weapons. In addition, I have pointed out that the trigger lock issue can be approached in a positive and incentivizing manner by the federal government. It can be approached in gun safety classes and literature. There is no requirement for a trigger-lock law, and there cannot constitutionally be one issued at the federal level. And any such law issued at the more appropriate local level can be seen , both in the case of the Miami law being ruled "null and void", as well as today's incident at the Shoats Grocery Store, to represent a constraint to the gun owner that could render them incapable of defending themselves, or other citizens.

Benjamin Franklin stated: "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Once again we return to intent of the Second Amendment which was to put the defense of the many ahead of the concerns of the few. What little safety and what few individuals would be protected from accidental gun deaths which can be addressed in non-legislative manners and can already be punished by a plethora of endangerment and negligence laws, is not worth the liberty removed from ALL U.S. citizens when the Second Amendment right to bear arms in their defense is restricted.

A law that is not required, is a law that should not exist. A law that cannot be enforced, is a waste of legislation. A trigger-lock law is not required, and cannot be enforced constitutionally. Fines for negligence, public endangerment, child endangerment, wrongful death, and manslaughter already exist and each have precedent of being applied when a gun owner is negligent in the safing and storage of firearms.

The current gun control laws are, in fact, more strict than the constitution allows. There need be no more encumbrance on the U.S. gun owner.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 06:20 PM
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Gun control is an emotional topic, especially in the US. Between, "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands" and "Ban all firearms", there has got to be a logical balance.

My opponent has claimed this is a 2nd ammendment issue by showing failed legislation which was indeed unconstitutional, the attempt to ban automatic weapons and sawed off shotguns. What does legislating trigger locks have to do with the "right to bear arms"? I have shown that it may be better to have a trigger lock on so that the weapon could be stored closer to the user, not locked away in a cabinet.

Oh, yes, the events that happened today to Gloria Turner and Bobby Doster. I am refering to weapons that are NOT in use. A trigger lock in this instance would not be prudent; however, if this was not a closing statement I would like to point out how many accidental injuries or deaths happened today due to unsecured fireams. My guess would be more than 2.

One may ask how laws are enforced? How do they punish drug users, drunk drivers, etc? This is not Minority Report so we can't enforce laws before the fact. What we have to look at here is the goal, keeping hundreds of innocent people, many kids, alive by increasing the control the owner has with his/her firearms. I have shown that many people would not do this willingly, the onus must be put where the control should be in the first place, the owner of the weapon. The only way possible is to legislate it.

One last time, a stored gun is doing nothing. Release from a lock takes seconds. If the weapon is NOT in use, does logic not dictate that it be stored as safe as possible? Logic, not emotion. Not a stiff back. Not asking for a ban. The middle ground where most truth is found.

Thanks to Val for a good debate, Mac for setting things up. I hope that the judges and those following this debate enjoyed it. Over to you Val.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 07:39 PM
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I would like to thank the committee, and the academy…and my worthy opponent.

Restricting the ability of the U.S. citizen to bear arms in defense of their fellow citizens is against the Second Amendment. This is a fundamental right of the nation as a whole that must be preserved from federal restrictions. The Second Amendment preserved this right for the sake of the greater populace as a pre-emptive measure to insuring any internally oppressive administration couldn’t subdue the individual citizen's right from defending himself or fellow U.S. citizens from harm - whether it came in the form of criminals, invading forces, or the administration in place at the time. It is within this intention the Second Amendment must be viewed as an amendment to preserve the good of the many versus the concern of the few.

The Second Amendment most definitely restricts any federal laws pertaining to the citizen’s right to possess and bear arms.

Furthermore, if gun control laws are issued from appropriate levels per the constitution, state and local governances, there is still a line uncrossable within the confounds of the Second Amendment. The citizen must be able to freely "possess and bear arms" per the Second Amendment. In both the case of the Miami city law regarding trigger locks "null and void" due to its restrictions on gun owners in their ability to rapidly bear arms against threats, and the signal event occurring today at Shoats Grocery Store in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s evident that trigger-lock laws are restrictive on the citizens’ abilities to defend themselves and their fellow citizens.

There are unconstitutional laws on the books now. Any law that issued from the federal level, irrespective of whether it deals with safety issues, or types of guns allowed, are unconstitutional. All gun control laws must eminate from the state level or below; but those laws cannot encroach upon individual citizen's abilities to defend themselves or other citizens.

Gun safety is an important issue. Gun owners must always be aware of the right, and the responsibility that has been placed in their hands. Any gun owner who doesn’t safe his weapons, train his children, or take proper precautions for the public, should be punished when someone is hurt or killed because of his negligence. There are laws in place for all instances of neglect in these areas. Current child endangerment, public endangerment, negligence and wrongful death avenues cover the gun owner who does not act responsibly with regard to the awesome powers within his control. Federal moves to promote trigger locks can be made through incentives toward either the gun makers, the purchasers or both.

There is no need for trigger-lock laws. The current gun control laws are too strict. All federal laws should be repealed on the grounds of unconstitutionality, and any state or local law that encumbers the citizen from rapidly defending himself or his fellow citizen, repealed.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 10:40 AM
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Off to the judges we go!



posted on Jan, 28 2005 @ 07:10 AM
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Results are in!

Valhall wins 6 - 2
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Well, my choice for winner would be Val.

In the debate, I thought she wrote a powerful argument and had excellent supporting information to back up her position. I think she made a strong case for the Second Amendment, and the fact the owners should be trained better rather than further Government legislation on the matter.

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I vote for Valhall.
She was very clear in her position. She used facts, provided links and clearly expressed her stance.

Intrepid seemed hung up on trigger locks and didn't have any additional reasons for his stance.

Valhall's position was broader and she touched on several reasons for her position.

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Valhall takes it!

Though Intrepid put up a good debate, Val as always, is just too well researched. Her points of debate included both original thoughts and well researched legal topics, presented in a way that is not the ususal rhetoric on the subject. Well done.

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Great debates to the both of you. Valhall advances to round two!



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