The Instigator
Pro (for)
84 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
28 Points

Bluesteel v. Mikal, Resolved: The US should adopt a ban on assault weapons similar to Australia's.

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 16,323 times Debate No: 67727
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (125)
Votes (16)




First round acceptance only. BOP is shared.
Debate Round No. 1


== What is my advocacy? ==

The resolution says I can propose an "assault weapons" ban similar to Australia's. "Similar" means "resembling without being identical." [1] "Assault weapon" is a term of art that is defined differently depending on the proposed legislation; "assault weapon" is not synonymous with "assault rifle," but rather includes "semiautomatic shotguns" and some "semiautomatic handguns."[2] The TEC-9 pistol is considered to be an "assault weapon."

I propose a ban on all fully automatic guns, a ban on semi-automatic self-loading long guns (rifles and shotguns), and a ban on all high capacity magazines (that can hold over ten bullets), including those used in pistols. Using a high-capacity magazine converts a pistol into an assault weapon. [4]

Australia's gun control policy went far beyond my proposal, although it did include a ban on "semi-automatic self-loading . . . longarms" and on pistols with "a magazine/shot capacity that exceeds 10 rounds." [3]

As an aside, my definition of "assault weapon" is very different than the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban" that occurred in the U.S. My definition is more consistent with the proposed 2013 Assault Weapons Ban, which would have banned all high capacity magazines, including those used in pistols. [4]

The military and police would be exempted from this policy.

== Buyback ==

The ban is easy to implement as far as new weapons: manufacturers are prohibited from making prohibited assault weapons in the U.S. and are prohibited from importing them into the U.S. However, for the guns that are already out there, the U.S. would need to implement a compulsory buyback program similar to Australia's. People who own prohibited guns are required to sell them back to the government for their full value.

Australia bought back 650,000 semi-automatic long guns for $230 million. [5] In the U.S., there are 28 million semi-automatic rifles (and an unknown number of semi-automatic shotguns). [6] Extrapolating from Australia's experience, a buyback in the U.S. would cost about $10 billion. To put this in perspective, $10 billion is 0.15% of the total federal budget, and President Obama has deficit spent approximately $5 billion a day. [7] Ten billion dollars is only two days of deficit spending. The U.S. could deficit spend the buyback or just cut spending elsewhere. The U.S. could save $68 billion by eliminating pork barrel spending from the defense budget. [8] For example, the Senate recently approved the production of ships that the Navy said it didn't even want merely because the shipyards were in influential Senators districts. $10 billion is easy to fund, even though it sounds like a lot of money.

== Criminal punishment ==

In Australia, illegally trafficking in banned guns can be punished by life imprisonment. [3] Mere possession is punished more like a misdemeanor, which might include only a fine. However, in the U.S., we have civil forfeiture laws, so if someone was caught with illegal guns at any time (even if they were pulled over for speeding), the government could seize the guns without compensation.

== Net Benefits to My Proposal ==

(1) Fewer mass shootings

After a mass shooting occurred in Australia in 1996, killing 35 people, the country enacted its current gun ban. Prior to this legislation, Australia had 13 mass shootings, almost one per year. [9] In the decade since the ban, Australia has not had a single mass shooting. [9]

Why are assault weapons (with high capacity magazines) so necessary for mass shootings? Philip Cook, a professor at Duke, explains, "A high-capacity magazine in effect turns a semiautomatic firearm into a weapon of mass destruction." [10] The Aurora shooter, for example, used a 100-round magazine. More bullets means you can kill more people. In general, mass shooters miss three out of four shots. [10] A gun with a mag-size of 10 will kill 2-3 people, whereas a gun with a mag-size of 100 will kill 25 people before the shooter has to reload. Reloading is a serious problem for mass shooters. In the Tucson mass shooting, Jared Loughner was tackled as soon as he attempted to reload his 33-round magazine.

One study analyzed 62 mass shootings over the past 30 years. However, for 26 of those shootings, the type of gun or magazine used was unknown. Of the remaining 36 mass shootings for which there was data, 31 involved guns or magazines that would be banned under my proposal. [4] So approximately 86% of past mass shootings would not have been possible under my proposal.

In addition, in incidents where assault weapons or high capacity magazines were used, 151% more bullets were fired and 63% more people were killed. [11]

Leveling the playing field. Gun advocates often talk about how concealed carry of handguns can save lives. However, when mass shooters have assault rifles, the playing field is not even. Assault rifles generally have 4 times the bullet velocity of handguns and have larger capacity magazines, so in a firefight, an assault rifle is far superior to a handgun. [11] The Army uses M16 Rifles instead of pistols because they are a superior weapon. In a mass shooting, if there *is* an armed civilian, that person has a better chance of stopping the shooter if the shooter is only armed with a pistol. For example, in 1998, Andrew Wurst attempted to shoot up a middle school dance using a pistol, but was stopped when the owner of the banquet hall pulled a gun on him. The outcome may have been different if Wurst had a more high-powered gun than the banquet hall owner did.

(2) Crime

High-capacity magazines were used in 26% of all shooting crimes. [12] Drive-by shootings and similar crimes become much more difficult with smaller magazine sizes. My proposal could decrease the homicide rate by as much as 26% by making certain types of shooting crimes much more difficult.

(3) Mexican cartels

Over the past few years, between 70 and 87 percent of the guns being trafficked to Mexico originated in the United States. [13] Most of these weapons were from "straw man" purchases, meaning that they were purchased legally in the United States by someone who intended to traffic them. [14] The cartels in Mexico have used American-made guns to kill 120,000 people since 2006. [14] The President of Mexico has pleaded with us to implement more stringent gun control laws in order to stem the flow of guns into Mexico.

In addition, Professor Dube of Amherst did a study that concluded that the expiration of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (in 2004) resulted in an additional 238 deaths per year along the Mexican border. [15] As I stated above, the 1994 Ban covered far fewer weapons than my proposal, yet it still had a significant impact on gun deaths in border towns. Since the cartels prefer high-powered/high-capacity weapons, my proposal would significantly ameliorate the violence in Mexico because it would eliminate an easy source for such guns just a few miles north of the Mexican border. If the sale of "assault weapons" (as I define that term) were illegal (and punishable by up to life in prison), it would be much more difficult and much stupider to traffic guns to Mexico.

Because my proposed assault weapons ban would save lives, you should vote Pro in today's debate.

== Sources ==

[1] Google ("define similar")
[9] See Daily Show clip, starting at 2:58


I accept the terms except classifying handguns as an AW. Almost no bans have ever outlined handguns as AW's and the ones that did, overturned the ban later to allow handguns (even one with LCMS) to be used given the proper paperwork. Since the resolution defines this debate as adopting a policy similar to Australia, we can clearly see that handguns are not banned in Australia and are allowed (even ones with LCMS) given the proper paperwork and checks.

C1) Ineffective

Banning assault rifles will have little to no effect. The only argument that can be made for pro is mitigation of mass shootings. This is a weak argument, as countries with strict gun laws in Western Europe have higher rates of multiple victim shootings when compared to the US [1]. Pro may argue AW’s are semi-automatic, which have a higher rate of fire then, say a hunting rifle. Therefore, AW’s kill people more efficiently. This argument is ignorant as to how firearms actually operate. Many weapons not considered ‘assault weapons’ are semi-automatic, and are often used in sports like hunting[2]. If anything, AW’s are less deadly than many hunting rifles.

That however will not stop criminals from getting guns. This law generally applies to anything with a ban, but it opens up the black market and underground traffic for the thing that is banned. Take prostitution and drugs for example. These activities will still occur regardless of whether a ban is in place or not. The benefit of having both of these legal is that with proper regulation, you can control it better. When something is banned the demand is still there, but the supply is now limited. This in turns opens up a black market to get access for the demand in question [3]. The same line of logic applies with assault rifles. If there is a ban criminals will still be able to obtain them easily. It may reduce and limit their chances of getting them by a miniscule amount, but they still will be able to obtain them.

I refer you back to the 1994 assault rifle ban which ended in 2004. Studies have been released regarding the effectiveness of the ban, and nearly all of them found the ban did nothing to reduce crime [4]. As you would expect banning AW’s reduced weapon crimes in the specific targeted area. Meaning the gun types that were banned saw around a 17 percent decrease in crime but only with that type of gun (AWS). This is a minimal achievement at best, but the amount it was reduced by was offset midway and toward the end of the ban by the use of other guns with large capacity magazines [4]. The normative 17 percent decrease, was offset by nearly a 40 percent increase of other types of guns with LCMS.
The study goes on to say this

“The ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. “[4]

An earlier version of the study concluded the same way, noting “the weapons banned by this legislation were used only rarely in gun crimes before the ban… The ban’s impact on lethal gun violence is unclear. The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims” [5].

Indeed, not one peer-reviewed study supports the notion that AW bans reduce crime. In fact, there is evidence that the AW ban may have increased crime. States that continued with their own assault weapons ban saw fewer decreases in crime when compared to states which abolished the ban. States with the ban saw an average 2.4% decrease in the murder rate, whereas states who had no ban (after 2004) saw murder rates fall by 4%. In fact, some of the few states that saw increases in crime were the states which had bans [6]

I will even direct you to a study that gave a positive effect of the ban. As I stated earlier, the amount of murders and crime that occurred by AW’s were reduced. Most of the numbers fluctuate around 9 percent to 18 percent. This study cites that the assault rifle ban reduced gun homicides by around 6.7 percent [7]. The same study then goes on to note that the evidence is not strong enough to conclude any meaningful effect. It also states the reduction from the AW ban does not account for the increase in subsequent gun deaths from other types of gun with LCMS.

A – Grandfathering

Even with all the information that I have already established, this is not even considering the fact that almost any ban would have to grandfather in the AW’s that are already in circulation. There are nearly 20-30 million guns in public circulation which are labeled as AW’s by a ban’s standards. Meaning even if a ban stopped new guns from being produced, there are still those near 30 million guns in private ownership already that will be grandfathered in.

C2) Examining the Australian buy back

Since the resolution is about whether or not the US should adopt a policy similar to Australia, I would like to review some of Australia’s policies, buybacks, and gun bans. The first thing I want to examine is their buy back and gun ban. Since a buy back is the only effective measure in countering the amount of Grandfathered guns, I would like to examine the Australian one along with their ban to see how effective it actually was.

Australia’s buy back, in 1996-1997, reduced the firearms supply from 3.2 to 2.2 million guns. The buyback targeted long guns such as semi-auto rifles, shotguns, pump action shotguns, and a small portion of military grade rifles. Immediately after the buyback was finished, gun ownership levels began to increase, and the levels went back to what they were before the buyback. If the number of firearms are important in determining death rates, we should have seen a decrease in crime directly after the buyback, and an increase as the number of guns were building back up. However, there was an increase in crime directly after the buyback and a decrease in crime as the gun levels were building back up [8][9]. The Australian laws failed to reduce, in the long term, the amount of firearms in circulation. This indicates that there is no possible way that Australian laws could have affected crime rates. If anything, those statistics support the notion that firearms reduce crime, not increase it.

C3) Guns do not increase crime rates

Let’s assume any buyback system was to remove all of the rifles in circulation. No rifles would be used in crime. In 2011, rifles were used in 323 homicides [10]. So, at maximum efficiency, there would be 323 fewer homicides per year. Rifles, however, constitute a tiny portion of homicides. In total, there would only be a 0.025% decrease in the total homicide rate assuming the buyback was 100% effective.

C4) Mass Shootings

One thing most people that are pro assault bans will try and point out, is that assault weapons cause more damage in mass shootings and are the primary cause of deaths in mass shootings. As I stated earlier that is only true with fully auto guns and not semis. Semis rely on how fast you can pull the trigger so a pistol can fire just as fast as an ar-15 in some cases.

Not only that but pistols are used nearly 3x more in mass shootings than rifles. From 1984 to today 22 shotguns have been used, 29 rifles, 23 revolvers (pistols), and 77 semi automatic handguns. That means over the past 30 years handguns were used in 100 deaths in mass shootings, which is 3x the amount of rifles and shotguns, and even if you combined rifles and shotguns and consider them both assault weapons, it is still double the amount of deaths from pistols alone. [11]


Debate Round No. 2


== Rebuttal ==

R1) What is an assault weapon (AW)?

Mikal says that he doesn't accept that a pistol can be an assault weapon, but nearly every single source agrees that the TEC-9 is an assault weapon. The TEC-9 is a *fully* automatic pistol. The term "assault weapon" has more to do with the weapon's destructiveness, not with the length of its barrel. One gun manufacturer makes a pistol version of the Uzi submachine gun that can be converted to fully automatic. It's hard to argue that a slightly smaller Uzi is not an "assault weapon," given that the Uzi was used by the Israeli military in tactical assault missions. There is not some arbitrary length cut-off for assault weapons, such that a pistol cannot be one. I specifically did *not* make the resolution specific to "assault rifles," but that's what Mikal is trying to force me to argue. "Assault weapon" must be interpreted as a broader term than "assault rifle" because "weapon" is a broader category than "rifle."

In addition, Senator Feinstein's proposed 2013 "Assault Weapons Ban" defines a pistol with a high-capacity magazine as an assault weapon. If your pistol can fire 30 bullets, it is an assault weapon for the purposes of this debate. However, you can make your pistol "not an assault weapon" by getting rid of your high-capacity magazine. You don't have to get rid of the pistol entirely. Mikal says that Australia does not ban handguns. I agree that they do not ban handguns, but they do ban high-capacity *magazines* for handguns, which is my proposal. I am not proposing a handgun ban.

Debate Theory. This is a "plan" topic, which was supposed to give me some leeway in what I am allowed to propose. Mikal can't dictate what my plan is, especially when he *dropped* my contextual definition which said that "assault weapon" is a term of art. [Source 2, Rd. 2]. My source said that "assault weapon" is actually a meaningless legal term created by lawmakers; it is not a term used outside the context of gun control legislation. "Assault weapon" means whatever a particular gun law defines it as. Many states define "assault weapon" differently under their laws. The 2013 "Assault Weapons Ban" would have defined "assault weapon" the same way I am now, so what I have proposed is perfectly reasonable.

Furthermore, I told Mikal I was going to run a high-capacity magazine ban before he even *accepted* the debate. My definition is not abusive because Mikal knew what he was getting into by accepting.

R2) Ineffective

First, Mikal says that mass shootings are more common in Europe than in the U.S. His source doesn't say this. It just says that Europe has had some horrific mass shootings despite strict gun control laws in *some* of its countries. Notably, the source mentions that a single mass shooting has happened in England, which has the strictest gun laws. However, the semi-automatic rifles used in England's mass shooting were owned *legally* by a UK citizen who managed to get them approved as part of a hunting license, which is a huge loophole in the UK law. [1] In fact, my proposal goes further in some ways than the UK's gun ban because the UK allows 1.7 million citizens to have semi-automatic weapons under its lax "hunting license" loophole. [1] I would simply ban all semi-automatic self-loading rifles. Hunters could still use rifles where bullets are hand-loaded into the chamber one at a time. If anything, a single shot rifle is more "sporting" than using a semi-auto to gun down a bunch of deer.

Next, Mikal says that people could still get assault rifles on the black market, just like people get drugs and prostitutes. However, first, the punishments I've proposed are a lot harsher than for drugs or prostitution. Drug pushers and prostitutes rarely get life imprisonment for selling their wares, whereas sellers of illicit firearms would face life imprisonment. If you're going to do something illegal, selling drugs is probably a better bet than selling illegal guns under my regime. Second, it's possible to get uranium on the black market, but that doesn't mean owning it should be legal. Illegality makes it a lot more *difficult* to buy. The same would be true of assault weapons. As Mikal's own Source #11 points out, nearly all mass shooters purchased their guns legally. We should therefore make it a lot harder to purchase assault weapons. Currently, it's not *impossible* to purchase assault weapons in Australia (there is a black market), but they've made it a lot harder for mass shooters to do so, given that they have had zero mass shootings.

Third, Mikal says the 1994 Ban failed because although it *did* decrease the use of the *banned* guns in crime, people shifted to other types of guns with large-capacity magazines (LCMS). However, turn this argument against him; Mikal concedes that a ban reduces crimes involving the *targeted* guns. My ban targets all high-capacity magazines. People would be unable to shift to using "other" legal guns with high-capacity magazines because they would *all* be illegal. So Mikal concedes that my ban would reduce crime because *all* LCMS would be targeted and bans do decrease crimes using the targeted gun. This also takes out his "black market" argument because the 1994 Ban resulted in a significant decrease in crimes using the banned guns, which proves that criminals did not find these guns easily accessible on the black market.

Mikal next claims that allowing assault rifle ownership somehow reduces crime. However, these cross-state comparisons are extremely problematic because (1) comparing California to Montana is comparing apples to oranges since they differ on so many other metrics, and (2) as Mikal pointed out later, rifles are used in too few crimes to get statistically significant results from such a comparison. Furthermore, Mikal fails to explain a causal mechanism; why would assault rifles ownership (e.g. compared to pistol ownership) reduce crime?

R3) Grandfathering

Mikal posted his round approximately 10 minutes after I posted mine, meaning he pre-wrote it. "Grandfathering" has no relevance to this debate because I argued for a compulsory buyback. It would still be illegal to own an "assault weapon," even if it was manufactured before my ban went into effect.

R4) Australia's buyback

Mikal says gun ownership increased back to normal levels after the buyback. That is to be expected: gun owners want to own guns. However, after Australia's law went into effect, someone who owned a semi-automatic rifle would instead have to go buy a pistol with a magazine size of 10 or fewer bullets or a non-self-loading hunting rifle. Mikal never says what *types* of guns were purchased after the ban went into effect. His argument doesn't prove the ban was ineffective.

R5) Rifles are not used in homicides

Mikal says that rifles are not used in homicides and cites the FBI data to show that only 323 homicides involve rifles per year. However, first, the FBI data excludes about half of all mass shootings from its dataset for no apparent reason. [2] For example, for some reason, the FBI did not include the Sandy Hook shooting in its dataset. [2] So the 323 number is way too small. Second, Mikal ignores my argument that 26% of all homicides involved a high-capacity magazine (including handguns). Third, 323 deaths *per year* is still a lot. To put things in perspective, we would spend tens of billions of dollars to stop a terrorist attack that could claim 323 lives. Why not spend the same on preventing mass shootings?

R6) Are pistols used more often in mass shootings?

With this argument, Mikal is ignoring the fact that most mass shooters use multiple weapons (e.g. a rifle/shotgun and a pistol). For example, the Aurora shooter used both an assault rifle and a Glock pistol. Mikal's dataset included only 62 total mass shootings, so if 22 shotguns and 29 rifles were used, then long guns were used in up to 82% of the shootings.

In addition, many of the pistols used in mass shootings had high-capacity magazines (my source said up to 83% did). The Columbine shooters used a TEC-9 pistol with a high-capacity magazine. Assault weapons most definitely facilitate mass shootings. It's hard to deny that.



R1) Assault Weapons

I concur with bluesteel that assault weapons are generally defined by how the law defines them. There is also a general consensus on what assault weapons are. Saying I am not allowed to contest what an assault weapon is , opens up a pattern of infinite regression. Meaning bluesteel could define an assault weapon as anything he wants, or in any way that he wants.

Assault weapons -

Under Australia's own policies handguns are classified under a different category than assault weapons -

(See Above) By consensus I mean there are certain things that are generally considered to be assault weapons, and per the resolution we are debating assault weapons. Things such as barrel shrouds, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, or an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip could be classified as an assault weapon. If he is referring to the latter, then I would concur that is an assault weapon, but that is not the pistol that is generally used in massed shootings. As I stated if he is allowed to dictate what an assault weapon is, that alters the definition and he could classify it as anything opening up an infinite regression. With that he could classify a single shot pistol as an assault weapon.

Our conversation was originally that of assault rifles, until during a convo we had last night when I mentioned about pistols and mass shootings (I mentioned my last source). When I gave him the numbers he did hint that he *may* run that LCMS are assault weapons, and I said I would contest if he did. Hence here we are.

R2) Ineffective

Bluesteel argues our source does not prove that Western Europe has higher mass shooting rates. However, it argues that some of the worst multiple victim public shooting incidents occur in Western Europe. It also noted how most mass shootings occur where it is impossible to own a firearm. It also noted, “Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here” [1].

He also argues his system would reduce the amount of semi-automatic weapons. Guns have two effects on crime. They increase crime when in the hands of criminals, and decrease crime when in the hands of law-abiding citizens through defensive use and deterrence. His whole argument relies on the idea that the negative effects outweigh the positive effects. The best criminologist and their evidence suggests that the effects, for the most part, cancel each other out. In many cases, firearms seem to reduce crime rates [2].

Bluesteel notes how the targeted firearm death rate decreased. However, the overall death rate was unchanged. It does not matter if a targeted decrease occurs, if the overall rate remains the same, the law reaped no benefits.

R3) Grandfathering / Compulsory Buyback

He says grandfathering guns is not relevant but I entirely disagree. This assumes a few things, that people would in fact follow through with the buyback and or the buyback would be effective. America is entirely shrouded in gun culture. Issuing a mandatory buyback over here would be far different that issuing a mandatory one in other countries. You would literally get no effect, and people would feel as if you are taking away their freedom. You would not get the desired effect of the buyback. Basically you would be wasting money to issue a program that would not do what it’s intended to do. People would just keep their weapons, and then you would still have all the guns being grandfathered in. This is not even considering that America has nearly 310 million guns in private ownership [3]. Australia only has around 3 million in private ownership [4]. This is nearly 100 times the amount of guns, and the same is true with other countries. We have far too many guns, and we have to much of a gun culture to expect a compulsory buyback to work properly.

R4) Rifles and Homicides

I’ll take it that he concedes the study from the FBI as accurate, other than disagreeing with it about not including mass shootings. I am not saying that is entirely accurate but let’s just crunch numbers for fun. Only 900 people have died from mass shootings in the past 7 years [5]. Now let’s get an average on this. If you take 900 and divide it by 7 years, you come up with nearly 128 deaths yearly from mass shootings. Add the 128 to 323 and you get 451. That is if mass shootings are not included at all. If you notate that bluesteel said “it only includes about half”, we can cut that number in half. Then it would be 323 + 64 which = 387. Then you would have to factor how many of the guns in the shootings that are not included in the FBI report are from assault weapons and which are not. If you follow the same percentage and ratio it would only be about 20 more rifle kills. Meaning instead of going from a 0.025 total homicide rate decrease, you would go to around a 0.032. Both of which are so small that it virtually will have no impact at all on homicides or crime. I am challenging his definition of pistols and LCMS being included in AW’s but even if we were to grant him his specific definition of pistol, even then it only goes up to around 0.051. Most are semi auto pistols and don’t fall under the criteria which he himself set (which I’m contesting)

He then poses the question why not spend money to stop deaths? Because if you examine the buybacks, and compare it to the compulsory buyback and ban that he is proposing, it will never do what it’s suppose to do. I send you back to my round 1 studies where the buyback decreased gun rates for a year, which climbed right back up to the same amount before the buy back. In addition to that after the buyback crime rates increased when there were less guns, and decreased as more guns fluctuated back into private ownership. Meaning the proposed ban that he is modeling his plan off of supports that more guns decrease crime.

R5) Pistols used more than assault weapons

I’m glad he brought up the aurora shooting. Because most of the kills from that shooting were actually from the pistol. If we review the shooting itself the shooters ar-15 (assault rifle) jammed and he was forced to switch between a glock and shotgun [6]. Even if I award him, which I will that a shotgun is an assault weapon most of the deaths came from the glock. Again if we are now classifying a glock as an assault weapon, to fit the needs of this debate we are playing into the infinite regress which I stated at the start of this debate.

R6) Australia’s buyback

He argues that it is possible new gun owners merely bought lower capacity magazines and ‘less deadly’ weapons. This is merely conjecture. In the 4 years after ‘deadly’ weapons were supposedly removed from the hands of the people, there was a 19% increase in firearm related murders, 69% increase in home invasions, and 21% increase in home invasions. New Zealand, a country very similar to Australia, has much more lax gun control policies than her neighbor. New Zealand’s crime rate has remained similar to that of Australia’s over the past 25 years, suggesting that gun control is not a large factor in crime rates [7].

A study published in Contemporary Economic Policy concluded Australia's gun laws have not reduced the crime rate. The study notes, “there is little evidence to suggest that it had any significant effects on firearm homicides and suicides”[8].

You get two conclusions from this data. Either buybacks do not decrease ‘deadly’ weapon ownership rates, or assault weapons have no effect on crime. Either way, those conclusions refute any argument that restrictions on high capacity weapons will reduce the overall crime rate.


[2] Gary Kleck " Point Blank Guns and Violence In America" 1991
Debate Round No. 3


== Rebuttal ==

(1) Definition: "Assault weapons"

Mikal says there are generally understood things called "assault weapons." The source he links to is Connecticut's definition of "assault weapons." First, notably, Connecticut includes a bunch of pistols as "assault weapons," including the Wilkinson Linda Pistol, which is merely a semi-automatic pistol with a 30-round magazine (so its only distinguishing feature is a high-capacity magazine). Second, every state defines the term "assault weapon" differently (a point Mikal drops), proving it is up to the lawmaker (me) to define the term. Third, Mikal drops that the proposed 2013 "Assault Weapons Ban" included a ban on *all* high-capacity magazines, so my definition is reasonable.

Mikal then says that Australia classifies handguns differently than assault weapons. However, Australia does not use the term "assault weapons"; it is an American term. And the source Mikal linked to (Wikipedia) says that Australia has different categories of *permits* (Class A is for longarms, Class H is for handguns). The source says nothing about what Australia considers to be an "assault weapon."

Mikal also drops the argument that it's only fair that I get to choose my own plan. He says it is infinitely regressive because I can define anything as an assault weapon, but I am limited by the term "weapon" and by the fact that Australia has to have done something "similar" to what I propose. And if anything, by banning more things, I've given Mikal more arguments to run against me, so it's not exactly unfair, especially when Mikal knew these arguments were coming prior to even accepting the debate.

(2) Ineffective

As I said before, Mikal never proves that gun bans are in effect across Western Europe. England has the most restrictive law, but scholars have recognized that pretty much anyone who claims they want a gun for hunting can get one in England. The UK mass shooter had an entire arsenal of guns that he claimed he needed for hunting; it's a huge loophole that doesn't exist in Australia. In addition, Mikal's source includes mass shooting deaths in countries like Italy, which allows anyone over 18 to own a gun, so his source doesn't prove gun bans are ineffective in stopping mass shootings. Very few countries in Europe completely ban guns; they just require licensing.

Mikal claims that more guns mean less crime. First, he drops the argument that crimes rates in different states aren't comparable. Crimes trends in California (which had an assault weapons ban) are very different than crime trends in Wyoming (which did not). Wyoming is much more rural, for example. A legitimate study would need to control for such demographic factors. Mikal also drops that his dataset is too small to be statistically significant. Also, only seven states banned assault weapons, and they happen to be some of the most high-crime states (e.g. New York and New Jersey), so you'd expect their crime rates to increase faster than the rest of the nation.

Mikal claims it is generally proven that "more guns = less crime," but the seminal John Lott study supposedly proving this was specific to concealed carry of pistols and showed the largest effect was on *robberies* (not home invasions) because robbers are more wary of robbing someone (in person) who might be armed. In contrast, burglars try to steal your stuff when you're not home, so they don't plan on running into you, and they'd be equally scared of being shot by an assault rifle or by a handgun (the latter of which you can still own under my proposal). In addition, there are also plenty of studies proving that "more guns = more crime," specifically that concealed carry laws increased the rate of violent assault by 8%. [1]

Mikal claims that his study of the 1994 Ban proves that all bans increase crime rates, but his study specifically said that people substituted to using other types of guns with *high-capacity magazines.* His study proves that high-capacity magazines are *really important* in crime. If there are no guns with high-capacity magazines that people can legally substitute to, a ban *would* be effective. Mikal's own study proves that once a certain gun is banned, people find it very difficult to find that gun and use it in crime, which is why they have to look for substitutes. And guns with low-capacity magazines are not a good substitute for high-capacity ones.

(3) Grandfather/Buyback

"Grandfathering" means that guns purchased prior to the ban would still be legal to own. That's not the case. Mikal claims that because American culture is so pro-gun, people would not sell their guns back. However, Australian gun owners were also vociferously pro-gun, as you can see if you watch Part 3 of the Daily Show series linked above (starting at 2:39, to 4:00) ; yet they all ultimately turned over their guns. A lot of the guns in the U.S. require a background check and a permit, which creates a record of ownership, so if the owner doesn't sell the gun back, the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) will just come and seize the gun, and the owner will get nothing. Getting $500 is better than nothing.

Furthermore, 100% compliance isn't necessary to see a large effect. *Selling* the guns would carry a very stiff penalty, so mass shooters would still have a hard time finding assault weapons to buy even if some gun owners illegally kept them for private use.

Mikal keeps claiming that the gun ownership rate climbed back up again in Australia, but it was people buying *different types* of guns (ones that are legal under the ban), as Mikal's own Source #9 from last round says ["the new guns were not military-style semi-automatics," they were "single bullet" hunting rifles]. Mikal claims that somehow the crime rate went *up* due to Australia's ban, which is untrue. The firearm homicide rate fell by 59% since the ban was implemented in Australia, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65%. [2]

Mikal later claims his sources show a 19% increase in firearm-related murders right after the ban, but ironically, Mikal's source (John Lott) can't seem to make up his mind. Mikal's Source #9 (from last round), i.e. John Lott, actually showed a sharp decline in the firearm homicide rate following the ban (it's the dotted line and the ban happened in 1996).

In addition, as Mikal pointed out already, rifles are rarely used in homicides, and although the rifle ban started in 1996 in Australia, the ban on high-capacity magazines didn't kick in until 2002. [My source #3, Rd. 2]. On Lott's other chart (Mikal's Source #8), you can see that the decline in homicide rates in Australia actually started in 2002, when the ban on high-capacity magazines commenced.

(4) Rifles used in homicides

Mikal next claims that mass shooting deaths are insignificant when you compare them to the overall homicide rate. However, mass shootings are a horrific event that are akin to a domestic terrorist attack. We would be willing to spend billions to prevent a terrorist attack that killed 300 people, so we should do the same to stop mass shootings. I doubt Mikal could look the parents of the Sandy Hook victims in the eye and tell them that their children were just another homicide statistic in the grand scheme of things. Mass shootings are horrific and often occur in schools (e.g. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech). They are qualitatively different than normal homicides.

Also, assault rifles and high-capacity pistols are not just used in mass shootings, as I proved in Round 2. Extend my Round 2 contentions.

(5) Rifles vs. pistols in mass shootings

Mikal claims that the Aurora shooter switched to a Glock, which killed most of the people, but notice Mikal never provides a source for this claim. When the Aurora shooter's assault rifle jammed, he actually switched to his semi-automatic assault-style shotgun, not his Glock. [3] Most of the victims were shot with the shotgun. [3] Such a shotgun would be banned under my proposal.

In addition, if the assault rifle hadn't jammed, more people would have undoubtedly died from the 100-bullet magazine. [3] Only 12 died in Aurora, despite it being a crowded movie theater, compared to 35 deaths in Sandy Hook. Aurora could have been a lot worse, and we can't count on the assault rifle jamming the next time a mass shooting happens.



R1) Assault Weapons

I agreed that a lawmaker was allowed to define the term, nor did I contest it. I also stated that it had to be practical. He did mention he *may* run an argument around pistols, but I also mentioned I would contest it if he did. The reason I stated it was an infinite regress, is because if you change the definition to fit the purpose of this debate virtually anything can be classified as assault weapons. Even fists are considered deadly weapons under the law in some cases. The point I was making is that he is citing one proposal and ban, and saying that is just cause for him to argue it in his plan. It ignores the fact that a vast majority of bans do not encompass LCMS in them. So to that extent we are playing semantics and trying to alter the definition to fit our purpose, which results in an infinite regress.

Just a notation though, if you view this source -

and look at the deaths from pistols, almost all the pistols fall out of his own criteria even if he is awarded a ban on LCMS. I still think that is stretching the definition and I would urge everyone to consider the same, but be aware even if you award that to him most of the shootings are from 9ms , revolvers, and 9m glocks. This also is separate from the fact that he is pushing a ban on the magazine and not the gun. Guns are capable of holding 10 round magazines just as they are 30 round magazines, and a majority of the statistics still stand. Which is why the aurora shooter went in with 2 10 round glocks, which also falls out of his criteria. Either way all statistics point in favor of my side no matter what you decide to award him. It’s a question of how much you want to give him. This is true with mass shootings, and even the argument he posed with crime. The argument is invalid once you realize that most guns fall out of his own criteria, and if you award me for contesting his definition, that dramatically extends even further to the point his arguments have virtually no impact.

R2) Ineffective

Bluesteel claims in the UK anyone can get a firearm legally. This is untrue. The amount of legally owned firearms has been steadily decreasing across the century, and has shrank to extremely low levels after the 1997 gun control laws were enacted. Interestingly, crime has increased significantly after each gun control law was passed throughout the last 50 years [1].

Blue claims the cross-sectional evidence undercuts my case. This is untrue, as I have cited multiple studies which were funded by the Clinton Administration which did not use cross-sectional data, and concluded that bans have no effect on the crime rate. Regardless, data has been produced which controls for various societal factors and concludes that AW bans increase the crime rate [2]. Regardless, the argument that AW bans do not work stands.

Bluesteel points to research claiming that concealed carry laws increase the crime rate. That research has been criticized on various grounds. First, at least 3 recent studies have found the opposite conclusion, meaning that result is in the minority. Second, the researchers finding an increase in crime use methods which they themselves, in the past, argued was flawed. Lastly, the results are biased towards the wanted result (more crime) and their data sets have multiple coding errors [3].

It does not matter if criminals substitute weapons with lower capacity magazines. The death rate has stayed the same, or increased. The overall effect is not significant.

R3) Grandfather / Buyback

Bluesteel assumes the buyback would work the same way as it did In australia but fails to realize the negative impacts of the ban itself. People think they have a constitutional right to guns, some would even call it infringing on property rights. Whether that is true or not, is not really the question. People will perceive it as a violation of rights, and that will lead to conflicts in and of itself. Take the bundy ranch incident for example which was hinged off of property right arguments [4]. This would escalate even more with a compulsory buy back, as it would have the same effect and on a larger scale. Saying the US can be compared to Australia is false. We have far to many guns, and far to many people that perceive it as their right to have them. There are guaranteed negative effects from the ban, and when you compare that to positive impacts that the ban *may* have, the negative will always outweigh the positive because it’s a certainty. Granted the positive impacts he is arguing, virtually have no ground because I have shown how studies support that a ban will have little to no effect on crime at all. He keeps saying grandfathering is negated because of the compulsory buy back, but that fails to address the inflammation that will occur if you try and take peoples guns away. The negative impacts of a compulsory buyback far outweigh any good that *may come*.

Bluesteel cited the wrong source for the increase in homicide. My source 7 last round wasn’t by Lott. Blue forgets to present data on armed robbery, which shows a dramatic increase in crime when the buyback was instituted. Crime fell in 2001, before new laws were passed, and began to increase in 2002-2003, and then stabilize. This indicates increased robberies [5].

Australian homicides began decreasing closer to 2000, not 2002/3, indicating that neither the 1996 buyback nor the 2002/3 laws were responsible for the crime decrease.

R4) Rifles and Homocide

The first thing I want to point out is that bluesteel commits an appeal to emotion in regards to the sandy hook shooting. It is an attempt to gain favor by appealing to emotion in order to garnish an effect. It is also a logical fallacy [6]

Assault weapons are rarely ever used in crime. Most estimates range between 0-1%, even when including ‘pistols’ which can be considered AW’s. Criminals do not prefer AW’s, as they are larger than typical weapons, and criminals prefer concealable weapons. Criminologists note that there is “little reason to believe” that restrictions on assault weapons would reduce the number of gun crimes because most criminals prefer other weapons [7].

R5) Pistols vs Rifles

Note that bluesteels own source said that he switched from a shotgun to a glock. That is what I wanted to highlight. That mass shootings encompass pistols, as well as shotguns and AWS. He is arguing about which gun caused the most damage, but acknowledging that a pistol did cause damage shows that shooters will default back to any weapon that is open to cause damage. It's a simple argument that is supported by my buy back studies. If you ban AWS, people will buy whatever guns are open. Most of these include 9ms, 9m glocks, revolvers, and lever-action/bolt action rifles. All of which have been used in mass shootings. A ban would virtually have no affect on the overall mass shooting count, and would be totally ineffective.

Australia, for example, has had mass shootings (unlike Blue claims). One in 2002, and one in 2007--after these weapons were banned. Australia’s restrictive laws have not “translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths” [8]. The fact is, Blue’s proposal would not reduce death rates.


[1] Joyce Lee Malcolm. “Guns and Violence: The English Experience”, 2002, pp 166.
[2] Lott. “The Bias Against Guns”, 2001, pp 211.
[7] Kleck, “Point Blank”, 1991.
Debate Round No. 4


== Overview ==

Mikal has dropped my entire case throughout the debate . I'll show you why, as a debater, you can't do that and still win.

Mass shootings. Mikal drops my statistic that 86% of mass shootings involved an assault rifle, assault-style shotgun, or a pistol with a high-capacity magazine. He also drops my argument that mass shooters are tackled when they have to reload and that if the playing field is equal (pistol vs. pistol), an armed citizen can stop the mass shooter. Based on the numbers Mikal used for mass shootings, my proposal could have stopped 774 mass shooting deaths over the last 7 years. Mikal also drops my argument that mass shootings are akin to domestic terrorism and have a horrible impact on the nation's psyche, so we should weigh these lives saved the same way we'd weigh preventing 774 deaths from terrorism.

Homicides. Mikal drops my statistic that high-capacity magazines (mostly in pistols) are used in 26% of shooting crimes. Drive-by shootings and certain other crimes become much more difficult with low-capacity magazines. By preventing or mitigating one-fourth of all shooting crimes, my proposal could save 2,850 lives per year (based on the homicide rate).

Mexican cartels. Mikal completely drops my argument that Mexican cartels would not be able to get 87% of their guns if those guns were not sold legally in the United States. Cartels have used American-made guns to kill approximately 17,000 people per year [120,000 over 7 years]. And assault rifles kill 238 people per year in border cities (on both sides of the border).

Adding up the total lives my proposal could save = 110/year (mass shootings) + 2,850/year (homicides with high-capacity magazines) + 17,238/year (trafficking to Mexico) = 20,198 lives saved each year. As I said last round as a preview, this number is way bigger than what Mikal gives me credit for with his "rifles not used in homicides" argument.

20,198 lives saved per year is a *huge* impact. In contrast, Mikal has very little offense in this debate. Most of his arguments are merely defense, e.g. arguing that a buyback would not be 100% effective and that people would substitute to low-capacity pistols. But these are not reasons to vote Con; at most, they slightly mitigate the number of lives my proposal could save.

[Remember, BOP is shared, so Mikal has to make out a case for why we should keep assault weapons, which he has failed to do.]

Mikal's only argument that could be construed as offense is that assault rifle ownership prevents crime (his source #2 from last round). However, first, Mikal never quantifies how much crime is prevented, so the 20,198 lives saved each year outweighs. Second, Mikal never explains using basic logic why assault rifles are so essential in preventing crime (despite me asking him to do so in Round 3). My proposal allows people to own handguns, which Mikal concedes are equally as good for defending the home from burglars, and Lott's own research shows that handguns are *more effective* at stopping crime outside the home because they can be concealed-carried, whereas assault rifles cannot. So the fact that my proposal still allows handgun ownership takes out all of Mikal's offense because handguns are just as good at preventing crime as assault rifles.

Regardless of what you think about gun control in your personal life, I have clearly shown why I have won this debate due to Mikal dropping all of the offense I garnered from my case. You can't let Mikal go back and respond now because I have no chance to rebut what he says. You have to grant me the *full weight* of my impacts from Round 2 because they were completely dropped, so you have to grant me the full weight of 20,198 lives saved per year.

== Rebuttal ==

(1) Definition of "assault weapons"

The debate about definitions is over at the point where Mikal drops two key arguments: (1) there was a federal bill proposed in 2013 that defined "assault weapons" as any weapon that contained a high-capacity magazine (including pistols), so my definition is reasonable, and (2) every single state defines the term "assault weapon" differently, so it is up to the lawmaker (in this case me) to define the term.

Mikal claims I could define a fist as an assault weapon, but (1) I couldn't run that because Australia hasn't banned them and I have to propose something "similar" to Australia's policy; (2) there has been no federal legislation in the U.S. to ban fists, so I wouldn't be able to cite past precedent for defining fists as an "assault weapon," and (3) if Mikal can't defeat a proposed ban on "fists," there's something wrong with his debate skills. My definition of "assault weapons" is reasonable, fair, and capable of being debated.

(2) Bans are "ineffective"

In the last round, Mikal drops his argument about mass shootings in Europe because he can't prove that every country in Europe bans guns. Mikal keeps talking about England, which according to his own source (#1, Round 2) has had only *one* mass shooting since implementing its gun ban. And that one mass shooting was due to a well-known hunting license loophole.

Mikal also claims later in his round that Australia has had two mass shootings since enacting its ban. However, a "mass shooting" is defined as one that results in four or more deaths. Mikal's source says that in Australia, the 2002 attempted "mass shooting" killed two people and the 2007 attempted "mass shooting" killed one person. If anything, this *completely* proves my point. Without high-capacity magazines, the shooters were not able to kill more than 2 people before they were stopped. This is in sharp contrast to Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster XM15 assault rifle to mow down 26 people before he was stopped. So a ban similar to Australia's is effective at stopping or seriously mitigating mass shootings.

Mikal's source #2 was answered in the overview: handguns are just as effective a deterrent as assault rifles. Mikal also provided me his source #2 (via PM), and the study did not control for socioeconomic factors, which renders its results meaningless [it only controlled for population size and drug use].

Mikal also claims England has seen an overall crime increase (in all crimes) in the 50 years since banning guns, but if you compare the UK crime rate to the U.S. one, the trend is almost exactly the same (a steady increase until the early 1990's and then a decline).


[Note: England banned handguns in 1997 and clearly saw no increase in crime afterwards]


General crime trends are clearly caused by factors other than gun ownership. There has thus been no solid evidence provided in today's debate that gun bans increase crime.

Mikal keeps citing the study from the Clinton Administration that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban did not reduce crime rates. However, the study specifically said people substituted for other legal high-capacity weapons. Mikal has never answered the fact that low-capacity weapons are not as useful for committing various homicides, and I never claimed my proposal would reduce other types of crime besides homicide.

Also, extend Mikal's own study proving a 17% reduction in the use of the banned guns in crime. Bans do reduce crimes using the *targeted* guns.

(3) The buyback

Mikal claims some people will keep their guns and even threaten to shoot anyone who tries to take them. While a few anti-government nutjobs like at the Bundy Ranch might do this, Australia also had a very hardcore gun lobby, but *most* people ended up surrendering their guns. Even if some Americans refused, a buyback (plus criminalizing selling the guns) would make assault weapons very difficult to obtain in future, which is sufficient to save lives.

Mikal claims Australia's buyback of rifles in 1996 increased robberies, but this is illogical. Assault rifles aren't carried with you outside the home, so how can they deter robberies? [note: if a robbery occurs inside the home, it's classified as a "burglary"] Mikal's graph only proves that crime rates are affected by things other than gun ownership rates.

Extend that the homicide rate in Australia has declined every year since they banned high-capacity magazines in 2002. Mikal claims the decline started in 2000 or 2001, but because homicide rates also fluctuate up and down naturally, you can't use this to conclude that the high-capacity magazine ban did not cause the long-term decline.

(4) Rifles and homicide

Answered by my overview. My case does not depend on rifles being used in normal homicides.

(5) Pistols vs. rifles

My source said that most of the victims at Aurora were shot with shotgun pellets from an assault shotgun. Regardless, the two incidents in Australia prove that low-capacity pistols cannot inflict the same carnage as assault rifles/shotguns and high-capacity magazines.

For all of the above reasons and to save 20,198 lives per year, Vote Pro.



Ineffective - I managed to tackle almost all of blues contentions in my ineffective argument. I noted how AW’s (including pistols in a broad definition) were not used in the majority of violent crimes. I also argued how gun ownership and gun controls, on average, do not affect the overall crime rate. In many cases, gun controls increase the crime rate [1]. The fact is, I debunked both homicides and mass shootings. Even assuming that his plan would reduce deaths in a targeted area, it would not affect the *overall* murder rate. It doesn’t matter if it decreases a specific crime. It is the *overall* effect which is important. And that effect, as demonstrated, is essentially zero.

Inflammation / Property Rights - I cited an incident that occurred in the bundy ranch, and Blue responded to this by calling them nutjobs. That is not a rebuttal to the argument. He keeps comparing Australia to America which can’t be done. America has nearly 100 times the amount of guns that Australia does, and we are immersed in a gun culture. Saying Australia has some gun advocates that adhered to the Australian ban is not answering the primary contention that I presented. The bundy ranch incident happened over property rights. America has never had a compulsory buy back, and people are already opposed to the idea. There would be a large scale fall out if people are forced to give up guns under a mandatory ban. This entire thing is addressed as a Constitutional Issue. Recently it was ruled that people had the right to bear arms under traditionally lawful purposes such as self defense [2]. The issue is not about whether bluesteel or I perceive it as constitutional , but whether the masses perceive it as such. People think it is their God given right to bear arms in America, and the fall out and inflammation from a mandatory buyback would have long term negative effects that far outweigh any good that *may* come.


Mexican Cartels - This was essentially responded to under the black market argument. Cartels would merely substitute their source of weaponry. If the US no longer provides weapons, they will use the current weapons stock in circulation and would easily obtain weapons through other, more obscure, sources. Banning something does not mean it simply disappears. The cartels would simply obtain firearms from foreign countries with thriving black market industries.

R1) Assault Weapons

The point I made about fists was not to be taken literally, but to show that if he is allowed to dictate the definition of what assault weapons are, he can alter it and move the goal posts in order to benefit his case. Again I acknowledge that every single state or ban defines the word assault weapon differently. The difference is his plan picked the lowest point and aimed at it. As I cited, most bans and regulations do not encompass LCMS under the criteria of his plan. If a mass majority has a consensus on what an assault weapon is, and there is one case that differs. Making a plan under the assumption that *one case differed*, so I can make my plan however I want and define assault weapons in any way I see fit, opens up an infinite regress as to what an assault weapon is.

More importantly, I noted that even if he is awarded the LCM ban it virtually changes nothing. From my previous source we can see a rebuttal to his mass shooting argument. Most mass shooting are done by pistols, and most of the pistols tend to be revolvers, 9ms, or 9m glocks. All of these can have 10 round to 30 round magazines. Just like the Aurora shooting if an assault weapon is not available, shooters will just default to weapons likes glocks with 10 round magazines to do the killing with. (The aurora shooter actually did this). He is saying you can mitigate harm by banning assault rifles but that is false, because even if you can mitigate it a little by banning rifles and other AWS, people will just default back to whatever weapon is not banned and in the end it would have no effect. You can see this from the Australia buy back study, that showed the jump in different types of gun ownership after the compulsory buy back and where 2 mass shootings occurred with the non banned guns. He is proposing for a ban that would solve nothing, and just make people kill with different types of weapons.

R2) Ineffective
R3) Buyback
R4) Homicides

Blue claims the UK had only mass shooting. Again, a small portion of the picture. The entire picture, as previously argued, shows how the *overall* crime rates have increased. The net effect is more important than small category of crime.

The definition of a mass shooting is not actually defined by the FBI, so it is difficult to put a broad definition as Blue does. Blue again attempts to garner emotional support due to a horrific mass shooting. The fact is, the overall death rate did not decline, as demonstrated by the most comprehensive study on Australian gun laws [3]. Blue has yet to respond to this study, despite it being cited every round.

Blue’s definition would include a handgun ban. If handguns are a deterrent, then you would see an *increase* in crime if they were removed from the populace. He then states the study did not control for socioeconomic barriers. It controlled for arrest rates, execution rates, unemployment rate, poverty rates, population levels, race, sex, and age levels [4].

US and UK crime levels did not follow a close pattern. In the 1980 - 1996, English crime increased, whereas the US crime rate was fairly stable and declined at the end of the period [5]. Crime does, in fact, change due to other factors. That is what I have actually been pointing out, as I have noted firearms have no effect on overall crime rate. To reiterate, the strongest empirical evidence suggests that guns do not increase crime. According to the research, “most gun control restrictions generally have no net effect on violence rates” [6]. I have made this point throughout the debate, and blue has not responded to the extensive research backing this hypothesis.

Blue claims two more things. (1) Higher capacity weapons are deadlier, and (2) targeted decreases occurred. As previously noted, assault weapons are almost ever used in crime [1]. Therefore, any ban will have little effect on crime. He also drops a more comprehensive 2004 study which I cited, and it noted how the ban had no overall effect on crime rates. Targeted decreases are irrelevant, as the *overall* rate of crime did not change, and may have increased.

Blue claims that crime fell after Australia’s crime rate. But right after claims crime changes due to factors other than gun ownership. Indeed, it is possible that a totally different factor caused the crime decrease. As I noted, you need a control group, for example New Zealand. Australia’s crime increased after the 1996 law, and then decreased *slower* than New Zealand’s. This indicates that the law actually increased the overall rate.

Under Blue’s definition, a pistol would be considered an AW, meaning his laws could increase armed robbery rates.

R5) Pistols vs Rifles

His source showed that a shotgun causes more damage than a pistol, it also showed that a shooter would switch back to a pistol if they had no other choice. This goes to show that people will use whatever weapon they have to cause harm, if they want to cause it. He cited that bans like the one in his plan stop mass shootings. He said Australia had not had one mass shooting after the ban, which was false. They had 2, and the shooter used whatever guns were open to him, and had the same amount of impact as before the AW ban. Meaning a ban similar to bluesteels was passed banning AWS, and mass shootings still occurred causing nearly the same amount of damage as before the ban. This point goes to me as his proposal would be ineffective to say the least.

[1] Keck, Point Blank
[4] Lot, Bias Against Guns
[5] Joyce, Guns and Violence

Debate Round No. 5
125 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
(Part 5)

[Note: there was an error in the transcription of this part, so I am re-posting it.]

I don"t buy Pro"s estimate for the number of lives saved by the plan, which Pro says is 20,198. The reason I don"t buy it is Con"s arguments that criminals *can* adapt to other non-AW guns. But I buy that Pro has some level of significant impact. The Mexican cartels impact isn"t mitigated by the effectiveness of the ban turn, and provides significant offense. The mass shootings argument provides a significant emotional impact and fear in society. All of these *lives* easily outweigh the minor, unquantified impact from public unrest and the almost non-existent impact from the crime turn. Despite Pro"s estimate being exaggerated, there is still a significant impact of lives saved that outweighs Con"s meager impacts.

As a sidenote, Con should structure their arguments better. Con never *directly addressed* much of Pro"s offense, instead inculcating that into his own case and confusing offense and defense. Offense is an argument that provides a positive reason to vote for a side. Defense only acts as a mitigation of a certain argument, rather than being fulfilling of the BOP. Con mixes arguments that do fulfill the BOP and those that don"t. Neither the crime turn nor the public unrest argument is labeled. Labeling is important in debate because it"s tough to judge a debate with bad structure. Disclaimer: this didn"t actually play a significant role in my decision, or any role at all, and as seen above I actually weighed all relevant arguments during my decision. It"s just a word of feedback that I think Con must follow to improve.

Since all of Pro"s offense outweighs Con"s meager offense and Con fails to successfully refute Pro"s arguments, and Con doesn"t fulfill their BOP like Pro does, I vote Pro.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
(Part 5)

As a sidenote, Con should structure their arguments better. Con never *directly addressed* much of Pro"s offense, instead inculcating that into his own case and confusing offense and defense. Offense is an argument that provides a positive reason to vote for a side. Defense only acts as a mitigation of a certain argument, rather than being fulfilling of the BOP. Con mixes arguments that do fulfill the BOP and those that don"t. Neither the crime turn nor the public unrest argument is labeled. Labeling is important in debate because it"s tough to judge a debate with bad structure. Disclaimer: this didn"t actually play a significant role in my decision, or any role at all, and as seen above I actually weighed all relevant arguments during my decision. It"s just a word of feedback that I think Con must follow to improve.

Since all of Pro"s offense outweighs Con"s meager offense and Con fails to successfully refute Pro"s arguments, and Con doesn"t fulfill their BOP like Pro does, I vote (or would have voted) Pro.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
(Part 4)

Pro resoundingly refutes all of this. Pro argues that he has sufficiently harsh punishment to fully deter guns. He refutes the prostitution and drugs example by showing that the punishment outlined in Rd. 1 would easily deter people from buying guns and committing gun-based crimes. He refutes the "previous bans didn"t work" argument by refuting Con"s main example of the 1994 AW ban not working; Pro shows that it didn"t work because people purchased *other* weapons, and that the number of "assault weapons" as defined under that law reduced. Pro showed that the same wouldn"t happen in his proposal due to the different definition of "assault weapon," under which it would be much tougher to commit crime.

(6) Public unrest

Con argues that banning AWs would cause public unrest since people don"t want AWs banned, and that would be a significant impact. I agree with Con that some people will resist forcible seizure of guns, and even the buyback, and there might be some level of public unrest. But Con doesn"t show me *how much* this impact would be or if the impact is significant. Pro says that despite Australia"s attitude to guns being similar to that of the U.S., they didn"t revolt. Con"s impact, therefore, is very marginal and doesn"t do well weighed against Pro"s offense.

== Impact calculus ==

Both sides had an equal BOP in this debate, to provide offense. Pro"s BOP was to give convincing reasons for assault weapons to be banned, while Con"s was to show that assault weapons actually presented some benefit to society. Con failed to do this, while Pro succeeded. Con"s case about "ineffectiveness" and those on "grandfathering" were all entirely *defensive.* Con doesn"t actually successfully provide offense to fulfill their BOP. I only have two arguments from Con that I can weigh as offense: public unrest and the crime turn. The crime turn was resoundingly refuted by Pro, and I have a marginal impact from the former.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
(Part 3)

I absolutely don"t find this statistic convincing, because the 26% of criminals that use assault weapons could just as easily move to other weapons. Con manages to mitigate the argument in such a way. But note that it is only a *mitigation.* Pro proves that AWs make gang violence and shooting crimes *easier,* which gives me some lives lost impact that Con doesn"t contest. I have very little offense left from this, but I do have offense.

Con tries to turn this argument as well. This is one of Con"s only two convincing points of offense. Con argues that assault weapons ownership by the common people deters other crime. But there isn"t evidence supporting this at all. All of Con"s evidence is based on AW bans *not reducing* crime not of them *increasing* crime, which is what the offense seeks to prove. Con only further adds to the "ineffective" point which was convincingly refuted by Pro, and fails to actually substantiate it offensively.

(4) Mexican cartels

This is probably Pro"s strongest impact. Pro argues that 70 to 87 percent of guns trafficked to Mexico are from the U.S., and are based on AW production. He argues that a ban on producing assault weapons would significantly reduce the amount of weapons used by these Mexican cartels. Con basically drops the whole impact, but it seems like the black market extension could apply here. Pro would win if Pro wins the black market issue.

(5) Reducing amount of firearms

Con argues that a ban on assault weapons would not reduce in any way the number of assault weapons owned by people. He says that Pro has no evidence for this deterring production of guns via black market, where it would be *easier* to acquire and would allow equal number of guns to be held by people. Con also argues that previous AW bans didn"t work in reducing the total number of AW"s. If Con wins this, Pro"s entire case is turned and I end up voting Con. But Con doesn"t win this.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
(Part 2)

(2) Mass shootings

Pro argues that the majority of mass-shootings are committed using assault weapons, and that Australia hasn"t had a single mass shooting since assault weapons were banned. Con argues that rifles are very rarely used in mass shootings; rather, handguns are usually used. Con doesn"t actually make a direct response to this argument, instead arguing it elsewhere lacking proper structure, which is definitely a debate flaw. Stick to the structure you"re using, instead of messing the debate up without following a clear heading-based structure. I buy Con"s argument that there isn"t a *very significant* impact from mass shooting based on death toll. But what Con fails to properly address is the emotional effect of mass shootings on the public.

Con implicitly concedes to a cost-benefit analysis framework, which implies some form of utilitarianism ("util"). Util implies an analysis of *pleasure* and *pain* (i.e. positive and negative mental states). Pro proves that mass shootings have an immense emotional impact on the public, and on individuals. The emotional impact should be taken into account regardless of whether mass shootings are a "mere statistic." Con tries to dismiss this as an appeal to emotion, but I don"t buy that it is one -- because under the util framework both sides have consented to, emotion is very important. Appeals to emotion are no longer fallacious. Pro wins this point.

(3) Crime

Pro argues that shooting crimes would be made very difficult if assault weapons were banned, because up to 26% of shooting crimes involved assault weapons, and a ban on AWs would significantly reduce shooting crimes as a result. Once more, Con doesn"t directly address this as rebuttal, instead addressing it as a part of his case, which is *very irritating.* I"m not obligated to structure stuff for debaters. That"s the debaters" job. Pro brings up a statistic of 2,850 lives per year.
Posted by tejretics 7 months ago
RFD - Part I

(1) Procedural matters

The BOP in this debate is shared evenly. This means both sides have an obligation to present offense of their own, and defensive arguments will not suffice to fulfill the BOP upon both sides. Pro has to provide unique benefits to his plan, and Con has to provide benefits to either the status quo or the counterplan. If any side fails in fulfilling this BOP, they cannot win.

Pro's advocacy is to adopt a ban on assault weapons similar to Australia's. A point of contention throughout the debate is the definition of "assault weapon." Pro says assault weapons are guns with high-capacity magazines. Con keeps challenging this by saying it isn't up to Pro to define what an assault weapon is, and the definition is up for debate. I don't buy Con's argument on this at all. First, I don't care about what was agreed outside of the debate. Things outside the debate *should not* affect the debate at all. A clarification should be *within* the debate, and I don't care about other clarifications. Second, Pro is running a plan. This is a policy topic. Pro is right that debate theory dictates that Pro can run whatever plan they want as long as *some* source defines "assault weapon" like Pro's definition. And Pro has strong reasons to support this definition, such as the definition of the proposed 2013 "Assault Weapons Ban." Con drops all of Pro's context with regards to the definition.

Con doesn't directly attack anything with regards to implementation of Pro's plan, so I am not going to deal with it. As far as I'm concerned, the ban is possible to implement -- a more pressing issue is whether the ban will actually reduce the number of firearms, or if any of the net benefits presented works. So Con doesn't actually argue it *cannot* be implemented, only that the implementation might not actually work in fully ensuring the benefits of the plan.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
I have an RFD up for this if you're interested:
Posted by BDPershing 1 year ago
Rematch!! hue hue
Posted by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
Damn I thought voting period wasn't going to end.
Posted by kevin24018 1 year ago
like BDPershing said the country comparisons are not possible, Australia is an Island so is the U.K. they don't have the huge drug cartels on their borders (South America) Build a wall around every border to make the U.S. and "island" and you still can compare. How many people want to get to the U.S. legally or otherwise compared to the other countries? Then there is the comparison of how many cities of 100k or more people. That's where most of the crimes are committed and we have many more cities with that kind of population hence there should be more crime statistically. The fix is to reduce the population of cities to less than 100k lol
16 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession...
Vote Placed by numberwang 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: I think bluesteel should have won this debate without a concession, because mikal failed to show that non-assault weapons would lead to as much damage as the banned weapons, and ended up arguing against an Australian replication of a ban rather than a 'similar' ban. Won't bother with any more detail because of the concession.
Vote Placed by Gabe1e 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by SeventhProfessor 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Mikal conceded
Vote Placed by TrueScotsman 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Mikal has noted that he concedes the debate. I will honor this decision for now unless it is rescinded.