To prepare children for citizenship, we should try to teach them how to debate and how to use simple logic. The argument analysis is not that difficult, but if one is never taught how to do it, catching up on your own is often impossible.
For example, the pro-gun argument never calls for allowing private citizens to own bazookas, hand grenades, tanks and shoulder-launched missiles. Why? It is because these weapons are just too destructive and therefore too dangerous to trust a private citizen with. Therefore, the terms of the debate should be where the line lies between weapons that are too destructive to own. No one would argue that tanks do not kill people, but people in tanks kill people, and we should just sell the tanks to your neighbors? Yet the pro-gun lobby is continuously able to switch the terms of the debate to a silly comparison with kitchen knives. Why? – I wonder if this is because we don’t teach our citizens to see the most basic rhetorical underpinning of a debate.
In more recent times, these sorts of skills are promoted by the media literacy advocates, rather than by old-fashioned logicians and debate club enthusiast. I don’t think it is important in which context people learn to recognize baloney. They should learn it somewhere.
And if the debate concentrates properly on the definition of a weapon that is too dangerous to own, it would produce different results. For example, the question of caliber of a weapon comes to light, as well as the magazine capacity, and the speed of reloading and firing. All of those are still debatable issues, of course. But at least those would be productive debates where reasonable people can agree and compromise. Should hunters, target shooters and self-defense enthusiasts be recognized? Yes, but their argument has to be honest, too. How big of a hole in your target do you need to make it feel good? Does it have to be more than .22? Can you take care of your self-defense needs with a non-lethal gun? Do you need to be able to shoot half a mile range for self-defense? Do you really need to fire at those birds every half second? Can you all sacrifice just a little for public safety?