The Instigator
Scott_Mann
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Nails
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

Convicted felons should be barred from gun ownership in the United States

Do you like this debate?NoYes+5
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Nails
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,566 times Debate No: 10731
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (7)

 

Scott_Mann

Pro

==OPENING STATEMENTS==

The issue this debate brings up covers the question of gun ownership. Should we legislate to restrict Second Amendment privileges from convicted felons?

I will begin my argument by defining words, after which, I will present my contentions.

==DEFINITIONS==

Privilege: a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all (1)
Weapon: any instrument or instrumentality used in fighting or hunting (2)

==ARGUMENT==

Gun ownership being guaranteed as a right to all Americans would provoke more violence and more fear. The form of gun control which I am defending today is one of the safest measures we as a country can take.

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was signed into law. This bill was designed to implement a background check process in order to help ensure that the person in question was clear of foul play or other felonies, which would make him or her seem potentially dangerous to society. If a person was found to have had a confirmed history of foul play involving weapons, he or she would be denied the privilege to own a firearm. Since the time this law was signed, there has been a significant drop in gun violence in the United States. (3) Because of this fact, it is plain to see how imposing this form of gun control has been effective is keeping people safer.

I conclude my start of round one.

==SOURCES==

(1) http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
(2) http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
(3) http://www.americanthinker.com...
Nails

Con

First, stopping these violent criminals from legally owning guns hardly stops them from owning guns. 55% of those arrested for gun-related homicides said they could easily obtain a gun illegally. 25% of high school children said they could buy a gun for less than $50.[1] All that laws 'controlling' the sale of guns do is force potential killers to purchase their guns illegally. Rather than stopping the firearms that go into the hands of criminals, these laws simply make it so that we can no longer monitor them.

Second, my opponent's resolution draws the distinction at gun ownership at felony. I find this to be a common problem with the United States justice system. Being designated a felon means absolutely nothing except that one has committed a crime. The severity of a crime necessary to classify it as a felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor) varies greatly from state to state. Oftentimes the distinction between felony and misdemeanor is arbitrary, such that one who steals a $249 TV has no penalty incurred whereas one who steals a $250 TV is barred from owning any guns. Banning convicted felons from owning guns simply reifies this arbitrary distinction. Consider this also: I could commit a crime in Alabame and be banned from owning guns, but commit the same crime in Mississippi without such consequence because the crimes considered felonies vary between states.

Third, such a law would limit felons in many ways. They could no longer hunt or use guns for self-defense. One might argue that this is a sacrifice a felon makes upon committing a felony, but why? Why is it necessary to implement a total ban on guns? 11,198 of all 13,673 murders committed with a firearm are committed with a handgun, a staggering 82%. If some sort of ban is necessary, I would suggest that we only bar felons from owning handguns. This would prevent a large majority of murders, while still allowing felons the liberty of owning a gun, such as a rifle, for self-defense or leisure use. You can't easily hide a rifle in your pocket to rob a bank.

Fourth, the purpose of the law my opponent proposes is to keep guns out of the hands of those who might do violence with them. Why, then, does this resolution specifically target felons? A far better solution would be to bar those who commit violent or gun-related crimes (whether felon or misdemeanant) from owning guns, while allowing all other felons (such as white-collar criminals or perjurers) to retain their liberty, as limiting their freedom accomplishes nothing productive.

With that, I turn the floor over to PRO.

[1] http://www.pbs.org...
[2] http://www.pbs.org...
[3] http://www.pbs.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Scott_Mann

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

My opponent has implied that this gun control law would be ineffective. The truth is, laws are only as such. The effects of a law are not to put an end to something entirely, but lower the chances of the problem continuing. Laws, while they may not magically prevent something, provide a consequence for a person who violates them. While what my opponent is saying is true, I remind my opponent that the gun law has significantly decreased the violence since the Brady Law was signed. While a person with a clean record may purchase guns and sell them illegally, the gun law would make it more of a challenge than before. And, if the person is caught selling guns illegally, he or she could be prosecuted.

I will clarify what I was talking about regarding felons. By felon, I was really implying those of which have a history of using guns against people, so I apologize if I used the wrong words. Prohibiting guns from convicted abusers nationwide would be a solution to my opponent's concern. However, even if gun laws are left to the states, prohibiting the sale of guns to known offenders would still lessen the problem of gun violence. I restate that laws are meant to lower the problem, not necessarily abolish it entirely, as this would be impossible.

The logic to having the gun law would be, if someone can't be trusted with guns, why should they be trusted to use guns for only protective reasons? The problem with guaranteeing full gun rights for safety/hunting reasons is that they are not always used for such. Furthermore, the type of gun is important because if one is capable of committing murder with a handgun, then such will be the same with any gun. All gun types should be restricted for this. Even with the difficulty of bringing and hiding different firearms in banks, there are still many ways to use other guns for harming people. For example, shooting a person across the street with a different gun could happen. All gun types should be restricted from known abusers, in order to ensure that the person has the lowest chance of killing someone with a gun.

Again, I apologize for my misuse of wording. By felon, I imply anyone who has misused guns for reasons other than safety/hunting.
Nails

Con

::Effectiveness::

1. My opponent's argument simply points out a correlation.
a. Viewing his own source, one will see that the decrease in guns started PRIOR to the Brady Law: http://www.americanthinker.com...
b. This only shows a correlation anyway, nothing more. Correlation does not equal causation, and there are many other confounding variables that could affect this statistic as well. For example, overall gun ownership has dropped: http://en.wikipedia.org...

2. This doesn't mean in any way that the Brady method is the only method to reduce gun violence, or the best method.
Not only does the Brady method fail to even keep guns out of the hands of many of the most dangerous criminals (as well as first time criminals) but it also means that gun sales can no longer be monitored by the government because gun sales are now done on the black market. Understanding that, this 'Brady Law' being the best method seems unlikely.

::Felony::

"I will clarify what I was talking about regarding felons. By felon, I was really implying those of which have a history of using guns against people, so I apologize if I used the wrong words."

This is not a semantic argument. This is an actual major problem that our criminal justice system has, and one that a few states are starting to phase out. New York, for example, has multiple 'levels' of felony from "A - Violent" and "A - Nonviolent" to "E - Nonviolent." Unfortunately, most states have not followed this example. Voting is one area of life where this is an issue. In many states, if I steal $249, and another man steals $250, I retain my right to vote whereas he loses his permanently. If I steal $250 in one state, and another man steals $250 in another (with a lower threshold for felony) I retain my right to vote whereas he loses his permanently. This is the problem of the use of felony and misdemeanor in law.

::Total Ban::

My opponent is incorrect in assuming that any gun can be used for any purpose. Rifles are rather large[2] and inconvenient to use in most things my opponent talks about. They aren't particularly useful in drive-by shootings, can't be hidden in your pocket to rob a bank or sneak up on someone, and they require both hands which precludes driving, holding loot from a robbery, etc. One will find that it is rather hard to use rifles for anything but hunting. This is evidenced by the fact that over 80% of all gun deaths are from handguns.

::Misdemeanants::

Unfortunately, my opponent can't get out of this argument by changing the resolution, either. Possibly my two strongest arguments (and one of the main reasons I accepted the debate) were based on the fact that my opponent had done the same as our government commonly does and drawn some arbitrary distinction at misdemeanor/felony.

[1] http://www.rpslawyers.com...
[2] http://hunting-rifles.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Scott_Mann

Pro

::Effectiveness::

My opponent's interpretation of a correlation in the source is unreasonable. The law was passed blatantly to decrease the gun violence rate. If one looks at the graph, one can see that before the time of the passing of the Brady Law, gun violence was a large issue. Some years were better than others, however, violence was still much worse before than it is today, even with the shootings we occasionally hear about from the media. One can make the judgment that the Brady Law quickly dropped the gun violence rate.

Guns have always been a tool for criminals to use. It has and always will be something lawbreakers will strive to obtain. Gun sales are, consequently, monitored by the government, because background checks are now mandatory in order to obtain a gun. Even with the black market, it is a bigger challenge to obtain weapons because of the background check system.

::Felony::

Unfortunately, the felony levels of states cannot, indeed, be leveled out in the best way possible. However, the felony levels do provide more of a challenge to continue committing gun crimes and retain certain rights. These are issues which are left to the states. How the states interact with certain laws such as the Brady Act is up to their governments. If one state believes the felony levels should be a certain way, then it is up to the will of the people who elect officials to make the judgment. As I have stated previously, laws are made for the purpose of reducing the level of what is considered a crime, not necessarily abolish it entirely.

::Total Ban::

My opponent's conception of gun types are unreasonable and not very factual. For example, John Allen Muhammad (aka "The DC Sniper") used a rifle to murder a number of people. The killing spree was quite successful with the rifle. It is evidenced that murdering people, with any gun, can be fairly easy. While bank robberies may be more difficult to do with a larger gun, as long as a gun is present, mass murders, home robberies, etc., are very possible.

==CLOSING STATEMENTS==

The issue isn't necessarily about perfect, absolute effectiveness. This is why it is crucial to understand how laws can only reduce crime, and not abolish them entirely. This fact will apply, no matter what the law in question. Regardless of state felony levels or gun type, the gun control law did, indeed, reduce the crime over the past several years. My opponent's examples were unreasonable, and could not get past the fact that gun laws reduce the number of gun-related deaths. If we were to take away gun laws, no matter what the circumstances, gun crimes would be back on the rise.

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I urge the readers to vote Pro, and I conclude my final argument.
Nails

Con

::Effectieness::

My opponent simply claims that, because they are correlated, there must be a causal relationship. He has ignored ALL of my main arguments.

1. There are other possible causes of reduced gun violence, such as reduced gun-ownership of nonfelons.
2. This was a study, not an experiment. There is no way to determine that the Brady law is the best possible option.
3. The drop that PRO refers to started PRIOR to the Brady Law. This would clearly suggest that Brady wasn't the cause.

::Felony::

I think PRO has misunderstood my argument here. My argument in this point is not that punishing felons won't effectively catch all dangerous gun-owners (I make that argument in the 4th point; why would I make it here?) My point is that the binary classification of misdemeanor/felony arbitrarily punishes criminals in different states without reason, and that this system should be done away with (as it has been in New York.)

PRO hasn't responded to this argument, he's made a rebuttal to a point that I made later on, while not giving any response to this point. This is the second argument that he's dropped. If you haven't already voted CON off of these first two points, though, you can keep reading.

::Total Ban::

"'The DC Sniper' used a rifle to murder a number of people."

Snipers, though deadly, aren't all that common. As I referenced above, 80% of all gun violence is done with handguns alone. PRO has provided an example of one killer (of the over 110,000 gun deaths this decade) to support his point.

::Misdemeanants::

Um, PRO didn't even try to address this section. I'm not sure how he plans to win when he doesn't address my main argument. That would make 3/4 arguments effectively dropped by PRO.

Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
It wasn't a clarification. It changed the meaning of the resolution. This is honestly a major problem with our government. There are so many punishments attached to felony (disenfranchisement, gun rights, etc.) that aren't attached to misdemeanors, when the distinction between the two is completely arbitrary.
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
Like I said, it seemed to be more of a clarification than an argument/contention.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
Which you obviously can't.
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
I had corrected myself later, but then you said I couldn't change the resolution.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
One argument you dropped was that we shouldn't stop felons from owning guns, and instead stop all people convicted of gun-related crimes from owning guns. Find somewhere in any round where you argue that a felon-ban is more effective, then.
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
That was such a misleading final argument. I addressed all of it.

Unbelievable.
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
All of which were answered.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
I made (and titled) 4 arguments.
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
Wait, was Misdemeanants really an argument so much more than a clarification?
Posted by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
Eh? How exactly was I dropping arguments? o_0
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by EHS_Debate 7 years ago
EHS_Debate
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by cjl 7 years ago
cjl
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by mindwarper10 7 years ago
mindwarper10
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by GaryBacon 7 years ago
GaryBacon
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
Scott_Mann
Scott_MannNailsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60