The Instigator
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6 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Assault Weapons Ban

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,177 times Debate No: 64329
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing AGAINST the proposed "assault weapons" legislation promoted by Diane Feinstein.

If you accept this debate, you are expected to complete it.

Thank you, and here are my opening arguments.

1. The ban would not reduce crime. We have already had an "assault weapons" ban in 1994 and no academic study has shown it to have reduced violent crime.

2. The ban affects guns based on their appearance, not their functionality.

3. The ban is misleading in its name, as it affects NOT machine guns, or other military weapons. It affects legal, civilian, SEMI-AUTOMATIC versions of these guns.

4. The ban is unconstitutional, as it would affect a huge number of legal civilian firearms used almost EXCLUSIVELY for lawful activity. These guns are protected by DC v. Heller decision.
(This point is not very important, but it is the reason the ban never would have lasted.)


For the assault weapon debate it is important to mention what is definite as an assault weapon, so we understand what it is exactly that we are trying to debate. According to the NRA-ILA, "Assault rifle by U.S. Army definition, a selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power. If applied to any semi-automatic firearm regardless of its cosmetic similarity to a true assault rifle, the term is incorrect." Understanding this, the term refers to a weapon, which the trigger is held down and sprays many bullets. This type of weapon is highly unsafe and can cause serious injury. As a result, a safer option would be the pistol because it is smaller and there is a less likely chance for an accident. The purpose of the ban would be to increase overall gun safety of individuals, which would keep more lives safe. Regarding your 4th point, it would not be unconstitutional to regulate the criteria for bearing weapons. By regulating the 2nd amendment, it is not being changed because citizens would still be allowed to bear arms just not all types.

Debate Round No. 1


"Understanding this, the term refers to a weapon, which the trigger is held down and sprays many bullets."

The type of weapon my opponent seems to be referring to is a fully automatic firearm. Fully automatic firearms have been heavily regulated since 1934, with the National Firearms Act, which makes it mandatory to register any fully automatic weapon with the ATF, undergo extensive background checks, pay $200 as a tax stamp, and get permission from local police to own one.
Fully automatic weapons were effectively banned in 1986, with the Hughes amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. This made it a felony to manufacture any new machine gun for civilian ownership. Registered NFA machine guns already owned by civilians could still be kept and transferred, each time with the full process of getting a new one before 1986. But at present, since it is illegal to make any new ones, these weapons fetch extraordinary prices, in the range of $20,000 for a registered M16.

Since 1934, how many crimes do you think have occurred with legally obtained fully automatic weapons by civilians?
The answer is exactly zero. Fully automatic weapons are really not suited for crimes commonly perpetrated by civilians, and are ridiculously expensive. Keep in mind criminals are usually poor and desperate for cash, and will use cheaply made guns, primarily handguns.
Legally obtained machine guns are NEVER used in crimes in the united states.

The term "Assault weapon" does not apply to fully automatic weapons at all in any firearms legislation, be it the 1994 Assault weapons ban, or Feinstein's proposed 2013 Assault weapons ban. These bans would not change the ownership status

So what does the term refer to? It refers to SEMI-automatic weapons which have a few meaningless features, such as a pistol grip, an adjustable stock, or a barrel shroud. None of these actually make a gun more dangerous, but they might make it look a bit scarier.
But what does semi-automatic mean, exactly? It means that for every time you pull the trigger, the gun fires one bullet, and reloads another. Then you have to release the trigger, and pull it again if you want a second shot. And again, and again until you feel like stopping or your magazine is empty. It's rather like the handgun my opponent described as a safer option. Clearly, there is a difference between these rifles and fully automatic rifles, which continue firing round after round ("automatically") at very high rates, up to and beyond 10 bullets per second, while you simply hold down the trigger.
While these weapons can be unsafe in untrained hands, they are an EXTREMELY rare form of death by accident. Almost any other household item has killed more people in accidents than these guns.

Fully automatic does not equal Semi automatic.

My opponent brings up an interesting point in regards to the purpose of the ban. It is stated by politicians to be for the purpose of reducing crime, but the point of safety is not often argued.
Statistically, most firearm accidents occur in hunting, where the direction of fire is not as defined as on, say, a shooting range. This means the accident will most often involve a long gun of some kind.[1] But since we have already made it clear that the ban refers to certain arbitrary sub-types of semi-automatic rifles, which are very common, it appears the ban would be irrelevant, as the type of rifle is not important in these types of accidents. i.e, it would occur whether the hunter was armed with an AR-15 or a winchester 70.

The DC v. Heller decision established that firearms commonly owned for lawful purposes by civilians were indeed protected by the 2nd Amendment. The AR-15, for example, is one of the most common rifle types in the country, and is used in only a tiny fraction of gun crimes.

My summary of points so far:

The ban does NOT apply to machine guns, which are already essentially banned for purchase and are never used in crime.

The ban classifies firearms based on arbitrary features that do not affect the functionality of the firearm.

The ban would not increase safety of decrease gun crime.

The ban would be unconstitutional.

[1] Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control, Gary Kleck , Aldine de Gruyter 1997, 293-324


Regarding your statement, "The ban does NOT apply to machine guns, which are already essentially banned for purchase and are never used in crime." First, I would like for you to tell me, which source justifies this definition you asserted because I have my source but I do not see yours. Second, I was not saying that assault weapons are frequently used in crimes. I was making the point that the overall safety of the pistol is higher than the overall safety of the assault weapon. Since the pistol is the better option of a gun, there is no reason to want an assault weapon because it not only decreases your own personal safety but also the safety of those around you and people are entitled to their own personal safety within reason.

In addition, I understand that the assault weapons are heavily regulated but there still is no reason that a larger and more dangerous assault rifle should be used instead of the smaller and less dangerous pistol. This would be interfering with the safety of others.

The final issue that I would like to discuss would be that the ban would be not unconstitutional. The 2nd amendment is the right to bear arms. If we ban assault weapons, then people will still have the right to bear arms. That right is no being changed. The outcome of that ban would be limiting the choices of guns that can be used. However, the 2nd amendment would still be in place.

The main issue that I would like for you to discuss in the next round is the reasons that there needs to be assault weapons instead of just the standard pistol. I do not understand or see the reason that is preventing people from agreeing to sacrifice a specific set of guns.
Debate Round No. 2


I cannot stress enough that this debate is NOT about machine guns or actual military weapons. [1]

Machine guns are not affected by "assault weapons" bans, only civilian semi-automatic weapons are affected. [1]

Machine guns are in effect, already illegal and are NOT used in crime. [1]

"Assault weapon" does NOT refer to machine guns (fully-automatic weapons. [1]

My opponent states that pistols are safer than "assault weapons". I would appreciate his elaborating on exactly why, and providing a source.

My opponent states that pistols are a better option of a gun. This is a matter of opinion and the usefulness of a firearm varies from situation to situation. i.e. an AR-15 is far better than a pistol for control of feral hogs in Texas, while a pistol may be better for home defense in an urban area.

"In addition, I understand that the assault weapons are heavily regulated but there still is no reason that a larger and more dangerous assault rifle should be used instead of the smaller and less dangerous pistol."

Firstly, "assault weapons" are NOT what i am talking about when I say "machine gun". Machine guns are heavily regulated, "assault weapons" are just rifles, and are regulated as such.
Again, please to explain and provide a source stating "Assault weapons" are more dangerous than pistols.

If we were discussing the First Amendment, would you believe that we can interpret it as applying to only certain books, newspapers, or religions? i.e. "You are free to practice any religion you want, but it has to be one from this list of approved religions.
I believe the answer would be no. The second amendment cannot be arbitrarily restricted, as was ruled in DC v. Heller. Common firearms that are commonly used legally, are protected. My opponent may disagree, but the Supreme court is what determines constitutionality.

The reason for people's opposition to this ban is that AR-15's and the like are very commonly owned, excellent firearms, and are barely ever used in crime. We don't want our firearms to be taken away for no good reason.

Would you be okay if we said you aren't allowed to own this particular car, because your neighbor's car is just as good and you can buy one of those? Absolutely not, that would be absurd, because nothing good comes from you getting a different car. Same thing with these rifles. We already had a ban on them before, and it did not work.[2] So no good comes from such a ban other than a stepping stone to taking away more guns.



(keep in mind that the ban is understood as working if and only if it reduced violent crime rates. Taking away law abiding people's guns does not constitute success.)


Bart_Simpson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3



The term "assault weapon" is defined by the legislators as the following:

" A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any 1 of the following:
(i) A pistol grip.
(ii) A forward grip.
(iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.
(iv) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher.
(v) A barrel shroud.
(vi) A threaded barrel."

Keep in mind that "grenade launchers" and "rocket launchers", in this definition, DO NOT refer to actual bazooka type weapons. Grenades and rocket launchers are ALREADY ILLEGAL. The ban targets small notches in a gun barrel which would allow such a launcher to be attached. No one has ever used a grenade or rocket launcher on one of these rifles to commit a crime in the United States, or anywhere outside of a war zone.

As we can see, the term is not being used to refer to machine guns, or other military weapons. It specifically refers to semi-automatic civilian weapons.

Now, I would greatly appreciate my opponent's answer to this question:

What characteristic found in the above definition makes a firearm functionally more dangerous?

A pistol grip? Which is a piece of plastic near the trigger?

A forward grip? Another piece of plastic on the barrel?

An adjustable stock? Which moves slightly to allow the gun to be held more easily?

A "grenade launcher" notch? Which, really serves no purpose but to look cool. Has never been used in a crime.

A barrel shroud? Which keeps hands safe from a hot barrel?

A threaded barrel? Which makes maintenance slightly easier?


Bart_Simpson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4



My opponent understood when he accepted this debate that he would be expected to complete it.

I still await an explanation of what makes an AR-15 more dangerous than any other semi-automatic firearm.


Bart_Simpson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by paulbrevik 3 years ago
UndeniableReality, if everyone in the country would simply look up semi-automatic rifle, this debate would not exist. :)
Posted by UndeniableReality 3 years ago
Thanks for the info. I just looked up semi-automatic rifle and realized I thought it was something completely different. That makes sense.
Posted by paulbrevik 3 years ago
UndeniableReality, semi-automatic rifles are used in many legal activities, such as target shooting, self-defense, or hunting. Contrary to popular belief, actual shooters will not simply shoot 10 times at a target to guarantee a hit, they will carefully aim, fire, and check their shot before shooting again. Doing so called "rapid fire" is inaccurate and a waste of ammunition and money.
Posted by UndeniableReality 3 years ago
As a non-American, I'm just curious. What legal activity is performed with semi-automatic weapons?
Posted by UchihaMadara 3 years ago
would accept if I wasn't already doing a gun debate.
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
Assault weapons ban is a smoke and mirror ploy of the democrats.Any weapon is an assault weapon. From rocks to atomic bombs.Democrats hate weapons in the hands of people who would point them at them if they tried to do a Hitler takeover. That is their dream. Government in control of everything and everybody.The second amendment is the only thing that keeps them at bay. It certainly is not honor. That is not in their DNA to have any honor.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture