Gun owners debate in wake of Aurora tragedy, as gun sales skyrocket

Friday, July 27, 2012 - 11:36am

When you put a pro- and an anti-gun control person in the same room, you know what's bound to happen. But what happens when two gun owners debate gun control?

Turns out, there can be just as much disagreement.

The elephant in the room in the wake of last week's Colorado movie theater shooting is the debate over gun control.

Gun control is not an either/or proposition. Most would agree that at least some degree of regulation is necessary, so the real question is where to draw the line: At what point does regulation become an unreasonable encroachment on our Second Amendment rights?

CNN selected two iReporters with differing views on gun control to go head-to-head in a debate. Both live in Washington state, one of the 48 states where carrying concealed weapons is allowed.

Michael Kunda is an anti-hunting gun owner. He carries a gun for protection while filming bears and other large mammals in the woods of Alaska and Canada. At home, he carries a gun to protect his family from intruders.

While he owns two pistols, a shotgun for his videography work and two assault rifles, he supports stricter gun control. He suggests establishing a bullet registry as well as outlawing large-capacity magazines and Teflon bullets.

Kunda refers to himself as a reluctant gun owner, and says he would prefer a world without guns. In fact, he would turn all his guns in if everyone else did the same.

"I firmly believe fewer crimes of spontaneity or impulse would occur if there were fewer guns. But I recognize I am being unrealistic and idealistic," he said. "It takes a societal change to get rid of the gun fanatic mentality anywhere in this world, and that kind of a change is not possible as long as the notion of 'freedom' is associated with gun ownership."

A ban on guns isn't the answer, at least not from David Douglas' perspective. He believes there is a good system in place for gun control and says changing the law wouldn't change what happened in Colorado.

His reasons are personal: As a former convicted felon -- he was convicted of burglary and possession of drugs -- he was stripped of his right to bear arms. Douglas says his run-ins with the law and his loss of gun rights demonstrate the legitimacy and stringency of gun control in America. He now works as a substance-abuse counselor.

"The process that I went through, 15 years of not being able to possess firearms and then the process to petition the courts to get those rights back, was worth it," he said. "Worth it in the sense that it showed me that it is a privilege in our nation to be in possession of firearms. Now, looking back, there is a pretty good system in place for who can and who cannot possess firearms after certain crimes are committed."

Douglas and Kunda are two of the hundreds of iReporters who have shared their views on a variety of hot-button political issues in the iReport Debate, an eight-month project that invites voters to make their voices heard this election season.

The project started with iReporters sharing which issue matters most to them. The top-voted issues determined the topics for the head-to-head debates, and will shape the questions that CNN ultimately takes to President Barack Obama and likely Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney.

Watch the video and let us know who you think won the debate by voting on this page and leaving a comment below. Or, if you'd like to share your views on the economy, upload your thoughts to iReport via video or text.

The best video respondents could get a chance to be in an iReport Debate.

 

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