Loud & Clear: Opinions Abound On Whether There’s A Middle Ground On Guns

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Photo: Gun In Holster, Roseburg, Oregon
Michael Johnson wears a firearm as he waits outside of Roseburg Municipal Airport for President Barack Obama's arrival in Roseburg, Ore., Friday, Oct. 9, 2015.

Many people responded to our discussion on guns with three Coloradans -- all with different perspectives -- to see if we could find some agreement on gun ownership, assault weapons and the Second Amendment.

In a sample of the back and forth on our website, Alex Pesterfield, wrote:

"Yeah there's middle ground: get rid of most gun laws...go after actual criminals and beef up criminal control. Its not real gun owners doing the shootings."

That drew a response from Constance Holland, of Grand Junction:

"Alex, you should take a look at domestic violence statistics. You say go after criminals - what about the number of people who aren't criminals until the first time they shoot someone in anger or during a mental break?"

Pesterfield replied:

"So no one can be trusted huh ? No one can be trusted to drive? No one can be trusted not to build a bomb? No one can be trusted to not stab some one with a knife? By your logic no one can be trusted and the only people who can (which is laughable) is the government,"

And Ian Boersma added this to the discussion:

"Alex - the crux of the matter is: in a moment of extreme anger, we bypass the thinking part of our brain (the cortex) and go straight to the older, more primitive 'survival first' part of our brain - the limbic system. Thus, there is no critical thinking going on in these moments."

John Robert Sweet, of Palmer Lake, questioned our middle ground premise:

"That's like asking if there's a middle ground on the First Amendment. i.e. 'Can't you curtail your free speech some more..in order to make for a safer more stable society?' That's not the way freedom works -- giving up rights for perceived security is nearly always a bad idea. We have dozens of gun laws already and the vast majority of gun crime occurs in cities with the strictest gun laws."

And this comment from David Congour, on the Second Amendment and modern weapons:

"What if the founding fathers were to see the type of carnage that is happening in mass shootings in our times, with weaponry they never anticipated? Would they have come up with different language; it's hard to say, but it's reasonable to assume that they would have thought longer (and harder) about the wording."

Congour also wrote about his concerns about the safety of people keeping guns in their homes for self defense:

"Ten years ago, I brought my three children (6, 8, and 11 years old at the time) over to a friend's house. While I was sitting on his couch, my six year old son walked into the room and pointed a handgun at my eldest daughter (they'd just had an argument), and then he just lowered the gun and brought it back and put it into my friend's small safe that he kept by his bed (thank god he is not a hothead!). We never determined whether the safe was open (my friend said it wasn't), or if my son had seen him enter the combination. At any rate, I nearly lost two of my children"

And, finally, this tweet from Gretchen Tweed, who was concerned that all our guests were men:

@gfrancestc Thanks for feedback Gretchen! No moms but three dads. Would LOVE more of your thoughts on common ground: rwarner at cpr dot org.