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Do guns at Obama rallies threatren violence?

It may be lawful for demonstrators outside President Obama's appearances to be armed with guns, but it’s wrong, argues Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. "Our freedoms rest on a moral consensus, enshrined in law, that in a democratic republic we work out our differences through reasoned, and sometimes raucous, argument," he writes. "Free elections and open debate are not rooted in violence or the threat of violence. They are precisely the alternative to violence, and guns have no place in them." Besides, he adds, the gun-toters are making us look "foolish and lawless" in the eyes of the world, and he doubts that conservatives would have welcomed armed, angry leftists at public events for Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. He concludes: "Will some group of responsible conservatives, preferably life members of the NRA, have the decency to urge their followers to leave their guns at home when they go out to protest the president? Is that too much to ask?"

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