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Our friends at USA TODAY think we gun rights advocates are unreasonable not to concede to what they call "reasonable compromises" regarding gun rights. We call it "experience."

Gun owners tried "reasonable" for 50 years. The result was layers of bureaucratic restrictions that turned paperwork errors into felonies while leaving violent criminals untouched. Experience teaches us that it is reasonable to refuse to negotiate restrictions on rights with people whose clear objective is to eliminate those rights.

OUR VIEW: 3 examples of destructive one-upmanship

Our late father, Neal Knox, warned gun owners more than 30 years ago that compromising principles in the name of being "reasonable" just means losing slowly. Our own history and the history of other pro-rights movements have borne his warning out.

Should gay people be "reasonable" and give up the marriage idea?

Should African Americans "compromise" on "separate but equal" accommodations?

Are women unreasonable when they expect to get paid the same as a man?

We don't think it is reasonable to be subject to a felony charge if we give, sell or even lend a gun to a friend without filing government paperwork. We reasonably distrust government mandates for guns with "safety technology" that police consider unsafe.

We think it is also reasonable to oppose any presidential nominee who has worked against an enumerated constitutional right. We think it's very reasonable to look at gun rights in places such as columnist Dick Metcalf's home state of Illinois, and refuse to accept more infringement on a right the Constitution says "shall not be infringed."

We reasonably point out that paperwork schemes have never met their stated goal of reducing crime while diverting scarce resources away from real law enforcement.

History has taught gun owners that the reasonable thing to do is to decide for ourselves what is reasonable and not leave the definition to those working to disarm us. It is especially reasonable for gun owners to elect politicians who share that reasonable view.

Jeff Knox and Chris Knox run The Firearms Coalition, an information and analysis group focused on supporting grassroots lobbying efforts.

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