Banning all firearms in the US would be detrimental to society
Debate Rounds (3)
Here are a few
1) Gun Control Facts." By James D. Agresti and Reid K. Smith. Just Facts, September 13, 2010. Revised 2/7/15. http://justfacts.com...
2) http://www.frontpagemag.com... (the article is the script of the video on the webpage)
Let's exchange views and see each others side of the debate.
Good luck to my opponent in his first debate on this site!
As clarified in the comments section, I'll be using this round to present my opening argument.
For this debate, I'll only present a single contention against the resolution -- that banning firearms would significantly reduce homicides in the US, and therefore be decidedly beneficial to society.
Let's start with some general statistics: in the United States, the country with the highest rate of legal gun ownership on the planet, 67% of homicides are committed using a firearm . This fact alone makes it highly unlikely that access to guns has no effect on homicide rates, because such a claim relies on the ludicrous assumption that if guns were not available, *all* of those murderers would simply switch to other weapons in order to commit their crimes. This view is absurd because if it were true, other developed nations with low rates of gun ownership would still have very similar homicide rates to ours, yet this is far from being the case :
It is evident that on average, countries with low gun ownership don't have *nearly* the amount of homicides that the US has. So we can conclude that murderers do *not* just switch to other weapons when guns aren't available. In other words, guns facilitate violence in a way that no other weapon does. Guns provide a relatively quick, easy, and detached (compared to stabbing or beating someone to death) way to kill, which means that the presence of firearms makes it much easier for tense situations (e.g. heated arguments, robberies, accidental trespassing, domestic abuse, street fights, road rage, etc) to escalate into fatal encounters. This has especially big implications considering that 79% of homicides in the US occur between family, friends, and acquaintances , 60% of homicides occur at the victim's home , and almost 40% of homicides stem from mere *arguments* . This shows that the majority of homicides are impulsive in nature and occur in domestic settings-- they would most likely not have happened had there not been any convenient access to lethal force (i.e. guns).
So on the basis of a few objective facts and some theoretical reasoning, it can be concluded that allowing civilian gun ownership is responsible for a substantial portion of homicides in society. But that's not all -- the conclusion that guns facilitate violence is corroborated by large number of professional statistical studies which do a much more thorough job of avoiding pitfalls such as faulty causation by controlling for various relevant external variables. Most of the following quotations either reference or come from peer-reviewed papers which were published in reputable journals:
--- "Using a validated proxy for firearm ownership [survey data], we analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten year period (1988-1997). After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide." 
--- "Given the number of victims allegedly being saved with guns, it would seem natural to conclude that owning a gun substantially reduces your chances of being murdered. Yet a careful case-control study of homicide in the home found that a gun in the home was associated with an increased rather than a reduced risk of homicide. Virtually all of this risk involved homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.” .
--- "This paper uses a unique data set [gun sales as a proxy for gun ownership rates] to demonstrate that increases in gun ownership lead to substantial increases in the overall homicide rate. This is driven entirely by a relationship between firearms and homicides in which a gun is used, implying that the results are not driven by reverse causation or by omitted variables. The relationship between changes in gun ownership and changes in all other crime categories is weaker and typically insignificant, suggesting that guns influence crime primarily by increasing the homicide rate." 
--- "Studies [from the Violence Policy Center] show that the mere presence of firearms in [domestic violence] situations -- no matter who actually owns the firearms -- increases the risk of intimate partner homicide five times more than in instances where there are no weapons present." 
--- "[A] study, by Professor Michael Siegel at Boston University and two coauthors, has been peer-reviewed and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health. Siegel and his colleagues compiled data on firearm homicides from all 50 states from 1981-2010, the longest stretch of time ever studied in this fashion, and set about seeing whether they could find any relationship between changes in gun ownership and murder using guns over time.... 'age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanization, poverty, unemployment, income, education, income inequality, divorce rate, alcohol use, violent crime rate, nonviolent crime rate, hate crime rate, number of hunting licenses, age-adjusted nonfirearm homicide rate, incarceration rate,and suicide rate' were all accounted for... The result was staggering: ...A one standard deviation change in firearm ownership shifted gun murders by a staggering 12.9 percent" .
In conclusion, all lines of evidence examined thus far go overwhelmingly in support of the notion that allowing civilians to own guns leads to a significant increase in homicide rates. A ban on firearms would obviously result in a huge decrease in gun ownership, and by extension, a lot of lives being saved, thus rendering such a ban to be beneficial. The resolution is negated.
 http://en.wikipedia.org... (citation #2 has a link to a UNODC data table)
 http://tinyurl.com... (books.google.com)
 Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997.American Journal of Public Health. 2002: 92:1988-1993.
 Arthur L. Kellermann et al., Gun Ownership As a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home, 329. New England Journal of Medicine. 1084, 1087 (1993)
 J. C. Campbell, J.C.,Webster, D., Koziol-McLain, J. and et al. (2003). Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study. American Journal of Public Health. 93(7).
Firstly, you have to realize that it is unfair to compare the United States as a whole to other countries, because unlike other countries, different areas of the United States have different laws regarding guns. I believe that it would be more fair to compare cities in the US with different gun laws.
We can start with Detroit, Michigan. Upon review, it seems to have very strict gun laws. First, they have "to take and pass the "Michigan Basic Pistol Safety questionnaire". Then they have to apply for the Ten Day Handgun Purchase Permit to buy the gun and make sure they find and buy the gun of their choice within ten days, otherwise they have start the process all over again. When they make their purchase, they have to fill out a Michigan Pistol Sales Record form and make sure the pistol has a valid firearm Safety Inspection Certificate.
Once the citizen has purchased their firearm, they have 10 days to take the gun to the local police department, have the sale recorded, and a new Safety Inspection Certificate issued in their name. Otherwise, they are considered in violation of the law and could be arrested on a misdemeanor gun violation.
Federal laws also require a background check if you purchase a gun from a licensed dealer with a Federal Firearms License. Note that each and every legal gun buyer in Michigan, and particularly Detroit, must be approved by the local police at least twice each and every time they purchase a gun and undergo a background check by the federal government." 
Now, we'll analyze their gun murders per capita. Detroit has 54.6 murders per 100,000 people. That means that Detroit has more murders per capita than Venezuela, who places second in the world behind Honduras.
Let's compare Detroit to a city in Texas, the national beacon of gun rights. Plano, Texas, to be more specific.
"There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Texas. with proper licensing (Concealed Handgun License) you may carry a pistol or revolver on your person so long as it remains concealed. Long guns (rifles / shotguns) do not have to be concealed, but must be carried in a manner not calculated to cause alarm, and do not require a license. With the passage of the Motorist Protection Act you may now readily carry handguns, loaded and within reach, so long as you conceal the firearm. Long guns (rifles / shotguns) do not have to be concealed and may be loaded and within reach.""Texas abides by Federal law which at this time has no restrictions on so-called "assault weapons" such as semi-auto AR15, FAL, G3 / HK91 rifles." There is also no limit on how many bullets a gun can carry 
Plano, Texas has 0.4 murders per 100,000 people, and nearly every household has multiple firearms. 
In fact, in a list of gun murders per capita in various US cities, no Texas city shows up in the top twenty. . 2nd place on this list is New Orleans, Louisiana, who hasn't had a Republican in mayoral office since 1872 (long before the 2nd amendment was called into question) . New Orleans would also beat Venezuela . Baltimore, Maryland places 4th on the list with 34.9 gun murders per 100,000 people.  The Maryland Constitution contains no provision protecting the right for individuals to bear arms.
You also failed to mention that civilians possessing firearms also save lives. For every accidental death (802), suicide (16,869) or homicide (11,348) with a firearm (29,019), 13 lives (390,000) are preserved through defensive use 
4) http://en.wikipedia.org... (see the reference sites)
If I made any technical errors in the formation of my argument, please notify me in the comments section.
I'll use this round for rebuttals.
I would like to start off by clarifying that my comparison of USA's homicide rates to other countries' homicide rates was not meant to be taken as evidence in and of itself; I am well-aware of the problems with cross-sectional evidence. I only brought it up as support for my point that murderers do *not* simply switch to other weapons when guns aren't available, thus implying that the 67% statistic alone serves as a good reason to vote Con.
Re: Detroit vs. Plano
1. A comparison of just two cities is not *nearly* large enough of a sample size to extrapolate the results to the rest of the nation. Last round I cited a study which analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide rates across ALL 50 states, over a 10 YEAR period. That is a far, far more comprehensive evaluation of the effect of gun ownership on homicide rates, and thus its results should be weighed more than the results of Con's paltry two-city comparison.
2. High rates of gun ownership are not the only things which affect homicide rates; in fact, their impact is dwarfed by factors such as arrest rates (i.e. the efficacy of the local police force) and poverty levels, which Pro seems to have completely ignored. Plano is quite literally one of America's richest cities, with a median household income of $79,234 and a miniscule poverty rate of just 4.3% . Compare that to Detroit, with a median income of $25,193 and a poverty rate of 26.1% . Not only that, but whereas Plano has a widely-acclaimed police force known around the nation for its efficiency , Detroit has a whopping 36% of its murders go unsolved, and therefore unpunished . With such enormous disparities in far more important crime-causing factors, it is incredibly unfair to blame the difference in homicide rates on stricter gun control laws.
3. The so-called "strict gun control laws" which Pro cites are actually completely ineffectual, so it is to be expected that they would not succeed in mitigating Detroit's astronomical homicide rates. The main reason for this inefficacy is that none of the said regulations apply to private gun sales -- e.g. gun shows, online markets, straw-man purchases, etc. So regardless of restrictions on buying guns, criminals can still very easily acquire guns due to the enormous loopholes in American gun control laws . Moreover, laws on a local level are inherently flawed because there are virtually no barriers on simply purchasing guns outside of the locality and bringing them home... It is wholly unsurprising that gun control laws fail to work.
Of course, one may ask, if gun control laws don't work, then why should we expect a gun ban to? A total gun ban *would* work, because it would stop firearms manufacturers from producing new guns and remove the majority of guns already in circulation (via a buyback), thus virtually eliminating the supply of firearms throughout the entire country. This would mitigate the threat of criminals conveniently acquiring guns through domestic private dealings. It would also be unfeasible for anyone to obtain guns from outside the country because both of our closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, have very few legal gun manufacturers of their own -- currently, Mexico's criminals get the vast majority of their guns from the US . The point is, that it would be enormously more difficult and expensive to obtain guns illegally than it is in the status quo, thereby basically nullifying the chance that criminally-inclined people will be able to get their hands on firearms.
Pro's source is simply wrong about the number of defensive gun uses (DGUs) per year. He cites a random pro-gun blog that makes a reference to researcher Gary Kleck's survey, reporting about 2.5 million DGUs annually. However, this validity of Kleck's results has more or less been destroyed. It suffers from numerous problems which are endemic to telephone surveys, such as false positive bias and small sampling size. The National Crime Victimization Survey, which included controls to account for these flaws, reported the annual DGU number to be about 108,000 . Compare that to the number of times guns are used in violent crimes -- 467,000 . It is evident that the benefits of widespread gun ownership do not come even *close* to outweighing the harms.
== Conclusion ==
Pro's comparison of Plano to Detroit proves absolutely nothing due to the enormous fallacies associated with it. His defensive gun use argument actually works against him, as far more reliable sources show that guns are used in violent crime over 4 times more often than they are used for self-defense. On the other hand, I have provided solid reasoning and a broad assortment of academic studies to demonstrate that high rates of gun ownership *do* lead to increased homicide rates, and have further elaborated in this round on the efficacy of gun bans in reducing gun ownership for "law-abiding citizens" and "criminals" alike. The resolution is negated.
 https://www.ncjrs.gov... (pg.10)
Allow me to explain. In his Round 2 argument, Con stated-
"The so-called "strict gun control laws" which Pro cites are actually completely ineffectual, so it is to be expected that they would not succeed in mitigating Detroit's astronomical homicide rates."
Let"s remind the voters what the topic of this debate is.
"Banning all firearms in the US would be detrimental to society"
My opponent took the Con side, therefore his goal is to prove that banning all firearms would either have no effect on, or help crime rates in the United States. Assuming that Con is correct in saying "The so-called "strict gun control laws" which Pro cites are actually completely ineffectual," one would get the idea that banning firearms would have no effect on society, therefore not hindering or helping crime rates. This notion, while seemingly rational, is actually absurd, as the idea relies on there being not one legal gun owner, of America"s 88.8 for every 100 citizens , has successfully defended him/herself.
I was not aware of how extrapolated criminologist Gary Kleck"s study was, but we can conclude, regardless of how far left or right we are, that at least one person has successfully defended themselves with a firearm. Pair that with Con"s statement, and you have a clear example that the presence of firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens does help society.
I"m not stopping there, though. Many supporters of gun control laws have endorsed "gun free zones." Unfortunately, gun free zones suck.
In fact, "on October 9, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) released a revised report showing that 92% of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones.".The quote from page ten of the study is below-
"Since 2009, only 8 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in places where civilians are allowed to defend themselves."
This can only mean one thing- gun free zones don"t work.
Gun free zones are ineffectual for one simple reason. They rely on the idea that murderers will follow the rules. The people who made gun free zones had to be thinking that a madman with an assault rifle will be thinking: "Oh okay. There are no guns allowed there, so let me go kill people in a place where I'm allowed to." It's a crazy notion, and it works in nobody but the criminal's favor.
What does this leave us with, then? We have the statement that gun control laws are "actually completely ineffectual" (thanks, Con) and the proof of that in Mr. Lott and the Crime Prevention Research Center"s study).
When we put these together, we see several ways that banning all guns could go-
"We could become like the United Kingdom, who"s handgun ban resulted in this statistic-"The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year - a rise of 89 per cent. In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold. In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled."  Also, anyone who hunts for their own food is pretty much screwed.
"All of America could become one big gun free zone, and suffer not only domestic attacks, but more terror as well. Look at the Westgate Mall shooting in Nairobi, Kenya. The shooting resulted in 68 tragic deaths. Kenya bans both open and concealed carrying of firearms by civilians. This, of course, did not stop the terrorists. Also, anyone who hunts for their own food is pretty much screwed.
"Maybe we get lucky. Con is right and the gun laws do nothing to change our current state. Well, except those who could have defended themselves in a situation like Westgate Mall or Century 16 now cannot, and are killed. This constitutes as harming society. Also, anyone who hunts for their own food is pretty much screwed.
"All the gun manufacturers go out of business and become poor. If Con is right, this will also raise murder rates, as he stated in his Round 2 argument that gun ownership rates are "dwarfed by factors such as arrest records and poverty levels." With this in mind, we can (sarcastically, of course) assume that all gun marketers will illegally sell firearms (spiking arrest records), as well as go around killing people, as Con seems to suggest that all poor people do. Also, anyone who hunts for their own food is pretty much screwed.
"Con"s best case scenario- all guns are out of the hands of civilians and in the hands of police. Unfortunately, murders are still committed with knives, blunt objects, etc. as they already are. We can base good police response times on that of the "widely-acclaimed police force known around the nation for its efficiency" of Plano (Con is on a roll!). Plano"s police force has an average response time of 7:30 . That"s more than enough time for someone to beat your brains out of your head and make a clean getaway. Also, anyone who hunts for their own food is pretty much screwed.
And as for Con"s response to ethan1522 in the comments section, regardless of where you get the animal you"re about to eat, it had to be killed at one point, and I wouldn"t recommend attacking a deer with a blunt object. Many Americans actually hunt for their own food 
Oh yeah, and Con"s "study which analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide rates across ALL 50 states, over a 10 YEAR period" is from the 80"s. Is that really relevant to today? Well, I"ll let the voters decide.
Also, as 16kadams pointed out Con"s Round one graph is about as effective as most gun free zones. He forgot to include places like heavily gun controlled Honduras , which has roughly 19 times our murder rate 
USA: 4.7 murders per 100,000 citizens.  Honduras: 90.8 murders per 100,000 citizens. 
Conclusion: Firearms are used to not only kill innocent people, but to
"Put food on the tables of those who hunt either for a living, or for their own benefit.
"To defend people against a tyrannical or oppressive government
"To fight against domestic crime
"To fight against foreign terror
"To protect yourself when you can"t wait 7-10 minutes for the police to arrive
The point? If Con"s own argument is correct, then he loses. He says that gun control laws are ineffectual, thus proving that society would not be helped.
PS: Mother Jones is biased. When I fact check your source, I shouldn't get a pop up saying "don"t let Republicans buy our democracy." Please use more centrist sources. Also, my bullet points and apostrophes are becoming quotation marks for some magical reason. I don"t know why.
1.)Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies. "Small Arms Survey 2007"
2.)http://www.breitbart.com... (the study can be accessed from this website by clicking the phrase "CPRC showed") I don"t know how to get the PDF URL. The PDF will be referenced as source #3
3.)The aforementioned PDF
8.)"Intentional homicide count and rate per 100,000 population, by country/territory (2000-2012)" (XLSX). Global Study on Homicide - Data: UNODC Homicide Statistics 2013 (statistical overview). Vienna, Austria: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.
Thanks to Pro for the debate.
I'm a bit confused by Pro's disorganized rebuttals, so I'm just going to address each of the individual points he brought up one by one...
Re: Ineffectual Gun Control
Pro seems to completely ignore the distinction I made between a gun ban and the gun control laws I criticized. Like I already extensively clarified, current gun control laws are ineffective due to the loop-hole which exempts private dealings, the means through which the vast majority of guns used in crime are obtained. A gun ban avoids this weakness by virtually eliminating the country's total supply of guns, thereby making it nearly impossible for the average criminally-inclined person to obtain a gun. So no, Pro's strategy does not work; my attacks on current gun control laws do not apply to a gun ban due to the fundamental differences between the two.
I never made the claim that not a single American has ever successfully used a gun for self-defense... I argued that guns are used 4 times more often in violent crime than they are in self-defense, and therefore, based on a utilitarian calculation, they are clearly a net detriment to society.
Re: Gun-Free Zones
Obviously if someone wants to do a mass-shooting, they'll target a place where the victims are less likely to fight back. However, this has no bearing on the efficacy of a gun ban because if guns are banned, the criminals won't have guns either. Local gun-free zones cannot stop someone on the outside from bringing in a gun and using it to cause harm to the unarmed victims. On the other hand, making the entire country a gun-free zone (i.e. implementing a gun ban) *does* prevent outsiders from doing so (for the most part) because we have established structures for border security. Moreover, as I've already observed, our closest neighbors (Canada and Mexico) have very few gun manufacturers of their own, so guns would have to be illegally imported from more distant places; this, along with how risky the smuggling in general is, would undoubtedly make the price of illegally buying a gun be astronomically high, and given how elastic the demand for guns is ["a 1 percent increase in the price of handguns lowers the quantity demanded by 2-3 percent," http://www.jstor.org...], the threat of guns being brought into our national gun-free zone to be used for harm would be quite miniscule. Gun bans do *not* assume that murderers will follow the rules; what they do is force a substantial portion of murderers and would-be murderers to follow the rules by denying them easy access to lethal force.
Re: Gun Control in UK and Kenya
Firstly, the United Kingdom has an enormous loophole in its gun control laws -- allowing guns to be obtained by virtually anyone as long as it's ostensibly for "hunting" [http://www.theguardian.com...]. Secondly, *both* of the sources which Pro cites attribute the increase in crime not to the new gun control laws, but to highly ineffective policing. For those reasons, we cannot accept Pro's UK data as evidence against the efficacy of a gun ban. As for Kenya, it has other problems which account for its high violence rates, such as an extremely corrupt government and virtually non-existent law enforcement [http://www.heritage.org...]. Moreover, Pro has no way of knowing whether or not armed civilians being present would have changed anything in those mass-shootings; as Pro himself noted, 8% of mass-shootings have happened in public areas where guns were not prohibited...
Re: Plano's Police Force
While response time is certainly important, most crimes are not resolved by catching the criminal in the act; they are resolved by the police examining the evidence at the crime scene and then going to catch the criminal so that justice can be served. The Plano Police have a reputation for being successful in doing this, and thus many criminals are deterred from trying to commit crimes in the first place, as is reflected in Plano's ultra-low crime rates.
Re: Gun Manufacturers in Poverty
Pro says that gun manufacturers going out of business would result in widespread poverty, but that is simply false. Only about 220,000 people are employed in the firearms industry [http://www.theblaze.com...], so the economy can easily adapt to that. With guns out of the picture, people will likely start looking for other forms of self-defense (e.g. pocket knives, pepper spray, martial arts training, advanced home security systems, etc) so new industries will end up growing and providing jobs for the displaced.
Most animal products are grown on farms and killed through butchery... guns are not needed for that. And as for the extreme minority of people who hunt for food on a daily basis, Pro has failed to demonstrate that they have no other way of obtaining food. And by the way, it *is* possible to hunt using just sharp objects.
Re: Hemenway Study
Considering that Pro has cited Lott's work, which is from a similar time period as Hemenway's, I fail to see how he is in any place to be bringing up the issue of research possibly being outdated. The fundamental effect of gun prevalence on homicide rates does not just magically change over the course of a few decades.
Re: Other Uses of Guns
It doesn't matter how many ways guns can be used beneficially if the frequency of detrimental use outweighs the frequency of beneficial use by more than 4 times. It's basic cost/benefit analysis...
== CONCLUSION ==
I have dismantled all of Pro's miscellaneous contentions and refuted his attacks on my arguments. My reasoning and academic studies clearly demonstrate that high rates of gun ownership *do* increase crime rates, and as I have explained several times now, a gun ban *would* be effective in keeping guns out of the hands of the criminally-inclined, thereby substantially reducing homicide rates and rendering such a ban to be decidedly beneficial. The resolution is negated. Vote Con!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources because con uses more. RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by kasmic 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: rfd in comments
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