On Civil Discourse, Gun Permits and Hate Mail…

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13:  Journalist John Stoss...

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As referenced in an earlier post, I appeared on Fox Business News’ Stossel program to argue against closing gun registries and concealed weapons permits. It was a lively, interesting exchange, far more entertaining than I had anticipated. Well, it’s been running all weekend, and I can time it by the hateful e-mails I get 🙂

How disappointing! And how reflective of today’s intellectual climate, in which an exchange of ideas instantly becomes transformed into a lowest-common-denominator hatefest.

Perhaps this is why: I said on the show, and will repeat again, that licensure is an extension of state power, and thus is a public act. What’s more, the arguments against public information here run on two equally misguided assumptions: (1) that guileful, cunning criminals, the likes of which have to date never been documented, will use FOI to plot sweeping burglaries against homes bristling with weaponry and (2) that some right of privacy emanates from the Second Amendment.

Neither is a discussion that Fox Business News’ weekend audience wants to have in a civil way. But hey, I’m a big boy, so I am more than open to a non-emotional (“Because they SHOULD be closed!”) argument that an entire category of public information should be closed, on policy grounds.

As I wade through the hate mail and personal attacks, I will await that argument.


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