The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Be it resolved that no gun laws should be passed restricting the right to bear arms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 869 times Debate No: 30943
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." -The Constitution of the United States
Because a clear reading of the Constitution forbids such, I affirm the the resolution
no gun laws should be passed restricting the right to bear arms.



1. 2nd Amendment Says "Shall Not Be Infringed":

The 2nd Amendment says the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Who could live with that? Would you want grade school children to be able to take weapons of mass destruction to school? Is it okay to take sarin gas into the subway? Should your least favorite religious denomination get to stockpile cruise missiles, ICBMs, suitcase nukes, mustard gas, military quantities of LSD, and weaponized anthrax? Should drug dealers arm themselves with grenades and machine guns? Unless you answer yes to all of the above questions, you favor infringing the right to bear arms.

The 2nd Amendment unambiguously says that should all of the above should be legal.

That would be intolerable. We can't live with it. So, apart from a little lip service, we properly ignore it. Changing it would be good, to bring the law into conformity with practice. Doing it the other way, bringing practice into conformity with the 2nd Amendment as written, that would be crazy.

2. The Original Justification for the 2nd Amendment:

The idea was that if the country were invaded, all the men of fighting age would grab their muskets and come to the defense of their country. Each man's domestic weaponry was to serve as military weaponry. A well-armed and well-trained citizenry was to serve as the nation's defense.

For that to work today, one of your neighbors would need a couple of Abrams tanks, another would have to own a battleship, and you'd need a runway for that stealth bomber parked in your back yard. Not practical. The kind of guy who now shoots up a schoolroom full of kids would be able to do too much damage in that kind of world.

Today's well-regulated militia is a professional standing army.

The original justification for the 2nd Amendment just isn't practical in today's world:

- We citizens don't have the weapons necessary to defend the country.

- If we did have them, we would do intolerably greater damage to ourselves than we actually do with the weapons we're allowed today.

- Our professional standing army obviates much of the need for armed citizens.

Therefore, not only would the 2nd Amendment be intolerable if enforced, its justification no longer applies.

3. The 2nd Amendment Doesn't Justify Access to Small Firearms:

The 2nd Amendment says anybody can have any weapon. "Shall not be infringed."

If we only let people have certain select weapons, then that right isn't based on the 2nd Amendment. Something else is going on. Our right to bear small firearms must then have some other basis.

I posit that there is a right to defend ourselves and our property, an unenumerated right protected by the 9th Amendment. We have a right to own equalizers. This isn't part of my argument. It's just an example, one idea of how such a right could be defended. You can disagree with this idea and still vote Con.

But you should agree with this: The right to own small firearms---to the extent that such a right exists---is not based on the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment says "shall not be infringed," which is obviously not what's going on. If the 2nd Amendment were in play, the BATF would just be the BAT.

4. Weighing Benefits and Harms:

So, if our right to bear small firearms isn't based on the 2nd Amendment, what is it based on? The government weighs the benefits and harms of weapons ownership.

On the one hand, we may not agree with their decisions (apparently we can take knives on planes again, but not bottled water) but we wouldn't want it any other way. We don't want children taking weapons of mass destruction to school. We don't want the Westborough Baptist Church to have a weapon that jams transmissions of the Jerry Springer Show. We do want someone to decide which weapons are, on the one hand, powerful enough to serve for defense and hunting and sports, but, on the other hand, not so powerful as to be unsafe in circulation.

Somebody has to make that call. We reserve the right to gripe when we disagree the call, but somebody still has to make that call.

5. Benefits and Harms of Small Firearms:

Public slaughter of school children and theater goers seems to be getting more popular in our culture. Therefore, it seems to me reasonable to limit access to high-capacity rapid-fire guns. I can defend myself with a six shooter. Some people might prefer faster guns with more rounds, but we have to, as a society, weigh how fast and how many rounds is reasonably safe.

Given the increasing frequency of the public slaughter of strangers, somebody has to draw a line. Semi-automatic guns with thirty-round clips are not sacrosanct. If the legislature decides that banning such guns will save enough lives without making citizens unduly vulnerable to predators, that won't be an unreasonable decision.

Personally, I'm for it. I think if you shoot ten kids you should have to reload. Every time.

6. The Resolution:

The resolution is that no gun laws should be passed that restrict the right to bear arms. That means that, even if the harms of some guns outweigh the benefits, we shouldn't restrict those guns. That's not a reasonable position.

Our gun laws are a hodgepodge of rules that don't make a lot of sense. For instance, your gun can't be .50 caliber unless it uses black powder. One very powerful gun was legal until somebody started using it to blow open safes. Our current statutes aren't sacred; they weren't handed down by gods. There's no reason that they shouldn't be adjusted as circumstances change.

Pro isn't going to be able to prove that our current laws are perfect, or that they can't be improved, in some circumstances, by increasing restrictions on some kinds of guns.


- We couldn't tolerate the 2nd Amendment as written.

- Our current gun laws are clearly not based on the 2nd Amendment.

- There is nothing perfect or unchangable about our gun laws, no reason not to change them as circumstances warrant.

- Sometimes, increasing restrictions may provide a net benefit to the public.

Therefore, it is not true that we should fetishise our existing set of gun laws by treating them as unalterable even when alteration would benefit the common weal.

Therefore, the resolution is refuted.

Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 1


NUMBER_1RED_SOX_FAN forfeited this round.


Forfeiting a round is worth a conduct point. Particularly so since he set up the debate with 72 hour turns, and then spammed me with a request that I post early in my turn, and then didn't post at all during his turn.

Please extend all my arguments.

As I said, there may be times when circumstances recommend additional restrictions on guns. Here is an additional example: Fully automatic guns are currently illegal, and for good reasons. Among other reasons, the police don't want to have to go up against them. But semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks behave just like full-auto guns. If there are good reasons for full-auto guns to require special licences, then there are good reasons for rifles with bump stocks to be similarly restricted. The new technology warrants a new restriction.

Here's a good youTube of one such bump stock:
Review: Slide Fire Solutions SSAR-15 Bump Fire Stock

Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 2


I apologize for not posting my round on time and for asking for a post early in my opponents turn. I regret that it may cost me a point, but it is deserved.

In regard to my opponent’s first contention, I am not arguing that people should own nukes, missiles, and the like. But I am arguing is that under the current law, the government MAY NOT take away those rights at all. However, in regards to his comment about the drug cartels, laws already exist banning those items, yet the cartels have those items. Did the law stop THEM?

Now, on to his second contention; He says that the original justification for the second amendment is that “the country were invaded, all the men of fighting age would grab their muskets and come to the defense of their country.” He is correct and, except for the part of the musket, that is STILL the justification for it.

My opponent has defeated his own argument with his own argument.

And on to his third contention; he references the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). He says that if the second amendment were in play then it would just be BAT. In this case, I agree with him. The problem is that the second amendment is not in play. The whole problem with the current situation is that we have too many bureaus, departments, and czars with power over our right to bear arms.

To this fourth contention I say that if you look at the third contention and see that his argument about the right “not coming from the second amendment” is false. The fact is that the second amendment is not in play, but should be.

And finally, to his fifth contention, he said that “Public slaughter of school children and theater goers seems to be getting morepopular in our culture.He hit the nail on the headwith that statement. He pointed out the way to fix the problem. The problem is not the guns; the problem is the people. You should focus on the mental health laws of the nation, not the gun laws.

In conclusion, my opponent has pointed out that the second amendment is not being practiced today. He pointed out the exact problem with the current politics of this nation. Today’s debate is about whether or not The Constitution is the law of the land or not. However, it is quite clear that it is the law of the land.

For this reason, you should vote Pro.



Can We Tolerate the 2nd Amendment as Written:

If we honored the 2nd Amendment as written, people would be able to own nukes, weaponized anthrax, flamethrowers, mustard gas, etcera. Who could legally own weapons of mass destruction? Everybody, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Westborough Baptist Church, the Black Panthers, and the Crips and Bloods. This would cause intolerable death and chaos. Therefore, we cannot afford to honor the 2nd Amendment as written. We can't do it.

How does Pro respond when the above is pointed out? He says, "I am not arguing that people should own nukes, missiles, and the like." He's not arguing that they should own them? He is definitely arguing that they should be allowed to own them. But we can't, as I have pointed out, allow them to own them. It would be intolerable. The cost would be far too high.

In other words, when it is pointed out that Pro's plan is fatally flawed, he says, in effect, "Let's talk about something else." He cannot defend his plan, and he does not try to. He just changes the subject.

Pro's Own Plan for Infringing the Right to Bear Arms:

Pro undertook to prove this resolution: "no gun laws should be passed restricting the right to bear arms." I pointed out that that's not a reasonable blanket policy: sometimes, in some circumstances, it may be reasonable and necessary to impose some restrictions. What is Pro's response? He says that we should keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. In other words, he names a specific time, right now, when we should infringe on specific people's right to bear arms. He disagrees with his own resolution. He rejects and refutes it.

If you agree that we shouldn't let crazy people have have whatever guns they want, then you should vote Con. Don't vote Pro, because Pro is against his own resolution. Vote Con because we are all of us (at least all of the non-crazy among us), including Pro, are against crazy people having an uninfringed right to bear arms.

Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither side came to grips to with what it means to "infringe" the right to bear arms. The Supremes have ruled that some reasonable restrictions do not infringe the right, just as libel laws do not "infringe the right" to free speech. The Supremes ruled that the 2nd Amendment cannot remove the right to own the weapons in common use for self-defense, hunting, and other ordinary purposes. So nukes can be restricted, but not handguns. Con didn't define what he meant by "not infringed." He should have asserted the legal definition. Con took broadest interpretation possible and claimed an easy win. Pro could have recovered by asserting that the legal definition was implied by the 2nd Amendment context, but he flubbed the response and just argued, too late, that Con's interpretation was not hat he meant. Arguments and conduct (for the forfeit) to Con.