The Instigator
stschiffman
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
StatsAndFacts
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

Does Gun Control Make Society Safer?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
stschiffman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 665 times Debate No: 89063
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

stschiffman

Con

I will be arguing that no, gun control does not make society any safer, and pro, whomever that may be, will be arguing that it does.
StatsAndFacts

Pro

I accept this challenge. However, I would like a clearer definition of what 'safer' actually means.
Debate Round No. 1
stschiffman

Con

If you would like to know my clearer definition of 'safer', read my comments.

My main argument is simply that the federal government is incapable of taking away products it deems harmful to society. Back in the days of prohibition, they completely failed to keep alcohol out of the hands of men like Al Capone (*). And the war on drugs has completely failed to keep drugs from entering the United States (**). If anything the war on drugs has caused more chaos and violence then the drugs themselves ever could have on their own.

So, if federal action did nothing to stop alcohol and drugs, how would it work any differently for guns? It wouldn't. If Congress or the President tries to take guns away from criminals, they will simply drive the market for guns underground. If you don't believe me, just look at Mexico; guns are all but impossible to legally acquire there, but that doesn't stop the cartels from getting their hands on weapons.

Gun control laws don't stop criminals from acquiring guns; the only people they stop from acquiring weapons are law abiding citizens. And then what kind of society do you have? One where only criminals are armed. After all, a study from Professors James D. Wright and Peter Rossi of the Social and Demographic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts revealed 57% of the prison population said that most criminals fear armed citizens more than they fear the police (***)

And don't even get me started on gun-free zones. After all the mass shootings in gun-free zones, it would be absurd to call gun free zones a success. (****)

Sources
(*) http://www.cato.org...
(**) http://www.attn.com...
(***) http://libertyfirearmstraining.com...
(****) http://dailysignal.com...
StatsAndFacts

Pro

I would first like to thank Con for their clarification. I look forward to a great debate.

My opponents main argument is that gun control would not solve the problems we face today, citing the war on drugs and Prohibition Era as examples of bans that failed. However, I am not proposing a complete ban on guns - it is perfectly within the right of citizens to keep guns in their house if it makes them feel safer. However, like all rights, it should be taken away if abused. Unfortunately, many of the laws in our country do a poor job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. For example, buying a gun at a show can get you out of a background check. This is absolutely absurd - a known terrorist could walk into one of those and buy a gun legally! In most states, it is perfectly legal for a child to operate a handgun. As you can see, so called 'gun control' in the US is considered common sense in the rest of the world.

Let's compare ourselves to Canada. The typical procedure in the US to get a gun is you first need to get a background check, which essentially just checks to make sure that you aren't a convicted felon. You don't need a permit to own a gun. Only some states require that you go through a safety course to make sure that you can properly operate the gun. You then essentially walk into the gun store, maybe sign a waiver, then buy your gun and carry it home. In Canada? You need to first take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, over which you take an exam. If you pass, you can mail your request for a license. If you are approved for your license, you can then buy your gun.

There are less than 200 homicides a year in Canada. There are over 10,000 in the US.

Clearly, this is a huge difference. Is the procedure in Canada really that difficult? I don't believe so. Doesn't it make sense that you should have to pass a (fairly easy, by the way) safety course and be approved for a license to be able to own a lethal weapon? It may be true that making it hard for criminals to get guns doesn't mean they won't, but at the very least we aren't handing it to them. Homicide is the second leading cause for death of people ages 18-25 in the US - this shouldn't be our reality.

Many people cite the Second Amendment in opposition to gun control, showing that gun ownership is our constitutional right. This is true - no one is contesting that. But did anyone ever stop to think that, in the 1700s, there were no semi-automatic weapons. Guns were highly inaccurate, and were for many people a way of life, a way to find food. But times have changed. We can now go to the supermarket to buy food - we don't have to hunt it. Our guns can kill a person much, much more easily than they used to be able to. And in the US, more than 30,000 people are killed every year from gun violence. This isn't freedom. This is a massacre. We are going to such extremes to protect the rights of gun ownership, we are forgetting about the right to life. We shouldn't completely take away our guns - that's not the solution. But we should make sure that our gun laws insure the safety of our citizens and not the paychecks of the NRA.

Sources:
http://gun.laws.com...
http://heedinggodscall.org...
http://www.howtogetagun.ca...
http://heedinggodscall.org...
Debate Round No. 2
stschiffman

Con

"I am not proposing a complete ban on guns - it is perfectly within the right of citizens to keep guns in their house if it makes them feel safer."
Well, you may not, but that doesn't mean others do not. And that's not even the point; the point I was trying to make was that the government isn't as good at keeping things off the streets as it thinks it is. So if the government thinks it can keep arms off the streets, it cannot.

"There are less than 200 homicides a year in Canada. There are over 10,000 in the US."
Well, you should keep in mind that Canada has a mere 35 million people. That's less than the population of California, and barely a tenth of our total population, so clearly statistics cannot be compared this way. Yes, I am aware that even when you adjust for population, their homicide rate is lower. But whether or not their gun control is the cause remains to be seen. There are nations with strict gun laws who have low crime rates (Japan, South Korea) and there are nations with strict gun laws and high crime rates (Honduras, Mexico). So clearly gun control itself is not the answer. All things equal, I'd rather have a gun.

"But did anyone ever stop to think that, in the 1700s, there were no semi-automatic weapons."
A common misconception. You see, the constitution is what's referred to as "a living document", meaning that it can change with the times. So, even though guns have advanced since the days of the second amendment's ratification, the message does not. This would be just like arguing that the 1st amendment's protection of freedom of the press only applied to newspapers because TV news stations and news websites did not exist back then.
StatsAndFacts

Pro

My opponent stated that "Well, you may not [propose a ban on all guns], but that doesn't mean others do not". I wish for my opponent to get more specific on that - namely, WHO is proposing a complete ban on guns. I know many prominent and very liberal politicians are merely proposing gun control - Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, even Bernie Sanders. Very few people support a complete ban on guns.

My opponent then stated that a statistic I stated was misleading, that there are less than 200 homicides a year in Canada, while over 10,000 in the US. Accounting for population differences, the US should only be having about 1800 homicides a year - less than 18% of our current homicides. Clearly, we are still way ahead of where we should be. My opponent then cited countries that have strict gun laws, some which have high crime rates. The countries they cited with high crime rates are Honduras and Mexico. First, we must consider that these are relatively poor countries. Poorer countries tend to have higher crime rates, so we must consider this to be a factor in the amount of crime. Let's open ourselves to the possibility that without these laws, death rates could be even higher. A comparison between third-world and first-world countries has too many other factors to consider. Secondly, both of these countries have very corrupt police. I'm not saying that the US police force is perfect, but it's much, much better than those of Honduras and Mexico. As both police forces are deeply penetrated by drug cartels, they can easily keep guns in the hands of criminals. As these laws are not enforced properly, we can then say that these countries actually have very lax gun control.

My opponent argued that although there weren't semi-automatic weapons in the 1700s, they are still covered by the Constitution because it is a living document. This is true - my opponent misunderstood my point. My point was that at the time of the creation of the Second Amendment, the Founding Fathers had no idea of the rapid increases in technology we would make. I very much doubt that James Madison would have given us complete freedom to guns, no matter what, if he had known that so many people would die from gun violence in our country. Some may argue that we can always change the Constitution with an amendment; however, there is so much party loyalty and stubbornness in our country (from both parties) that people are more interested in standing by their party than standing by America. And, of course, as I said before, very few people want to completely take away our guns. The vast majority that support gun control want just that - control and regulations, not the eradication of gun ownership.

Thank you for your time.

Sources:
http://data.worldbank.org...
http://www.insightcrime.org...
Debate Round No. 3
stschiffman

Con

"I wish for my opponent to get more specific on that - namely, WHO is proposing a complete ban on guns."
I've run into countless people on this website and other websites who do insist on a complete ban on guns. Granted, I highly doubt many of them are politicians, but that's not the point. The point is, there are people out there who want to ban guns entirely. I would argue that they are a very silent minority, but they do exist. I do not believe you should speak for everyone when you say nobody wants an outright ban.

"My opponent then cited countries that have strict gun laws, some which have high crime rates. The countries they cited with high crime rates are Honduras and Mexico. First, we must consider that these are relatively poor countries."
You're right, we should. We should absolutely factor in the fact that those countries have very bad economies. But that doesn't change my point; my point is that less guns and more gun laws do not always equal less crime. They sometimes do in countries like Japan who never had a gun culture to begin with, but in a country like America, it doesn't. Sometimes, less guns even equal more crime, like in Chicago. The city of Chicago Illinois has the most gun laws of any city in America, and the most homicides in America. By the way, Canada has a slightly better economy than we do, so that could also be a cause of their lower homicide rate.

"Let's open ourselves to the possibility that without these laws, death rates could be even higher."
Higher than the already insane homicide rate in Honduras? That would be hard. Every year, they have a homicide rate of 84 per 100,000 people, compared to our 4.5 per 100,000 people. More death would be hard. Maybe we should open ourselves to the possibility that with more law abiding gun owners, there'd be less victims and more dead criminals.

"My point was that at the time of the creation of the Second Amendment, the Founding Fathers had no idea of the rapid increases in technology we would make."
Again, simply because technology advances doesn't mean our rights don't. Like I said, should freedom of the press be limited to newspapers, and not online news?

Thank you for your time.

Sources
https://en.wikipedia.org...
https://en.wikipedia.org...
StatsAndFacts

Pro

My opponent stated they had run into 'countless' people on websites who propose a complete ban on guns, but admitted they are a 'silent minority'. Given our gun loving country, it is highly unlikely this minority will ever have a significant voice. And that's not what this argument is about - it's about gun control. Stricter gun laws aren't going to give these people a louder voice - it may even silence a few. Gun laws will give our nation a safer environment.

My opponent then restated their point that 'less guns and more gun laws do not always equal less crime'. If we are talking about the US - yes they will. Although there are certainly other factors, our country is very wealthy and our police are (mostly) very very good, so we won't fall into the same holes as Honduras or Mexico. If we're talking about the world - laws won't solve it, but they can be part of the solution. The often made argument is that making guns harder to get isn't going to keep the bad guys from getting them - but at least you then have an idea of who the bad guys are! Chicago is an often-used example of where gun laws go wrong - however, looking at mass shootings vs. population, as we did earlier with the US and Canada, it actually falls below the median (not the average, but the median) at 8.87 dead/injured per 100,000 people (the median is 11.2). So Chicago's not as bad as we thought. My opponent also stated that Canada's better economy might account for their lower homicide rate - however, their economy is only slightly better than ours, so it wouldn't account for the dramatic difference we see.

My opponent then countered my claim by saying it would be very hard to beat Honduras' homicide rate, even without gun laws. As this is a theory we can't exactly test, we'll just have to leave it by saying just because something is 'hard' doesn't mean at all that it is impossible, or even improbable. They then stated that with more law abiding gun owners, there would be less victims. However, how effective is the 'good guys with a gun' theory? Only 20% of active shooters are stopped by someone on the scene - and most of the time, that person is unarmed. Only 3% of shooters are stopped by armed civilians. And yet, 30 of our 50 states allow people to conceal handguns in most public places. If this theory is true, shouldn't more shooters by stopped by armed civilians?

My opponent reiterated their previous point, that the Constitution is a living document that covers our rights no matter the time period. And again, that's true - and not my point. My point is that the Second Amendment is being willfully misused by gun advocates so that our system allows nearly anyone to get a gun - even convicted criminals.

Thank you for your time.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com...
https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 4
stschiffman

Con

"Gun laws will give our nation a safer environment."
That's what they said about prohibition. I know I've used this example a lot in this debate, but it's the truth; leading up to prohibition, everyone thought it would make society safer. It didn't. I fear we will relearn the same lesson in the next few years, if gun laws are tightened.

"...looking at mass shootings..."
When looking at a city like Chicago, you have to look at a lot more than just MASS shootings. You should look at homicides in general. And there are more murders in Chicago annually then there are American combat deaths annually, so what does that tell you?

"Only 20% of active shooters are stopped by someone on the scene - and most of the time, that person is unarmed. Only 3% of shooters are stopped by armed civilians. And yet, 30 of our 50 states allow people to conceal handguns in most public places."
These statistics are completely irrelevant. What's your next argument; "Only a certain percentage of car accident victims are saved by their seat belt. Therefore, the seat belt saves lives theory is false" Or "In a country where many people have CPR, only 2% of people who receive CPR make a full recovery, therefore the theory that CPR saves lives is false." (For the record, that's a real statistic. I'll leave the link in my sources if you don't believe me.)
Point is, you have to not only look at the mass shootings stopped, but you have to look at how effective an armed civilian at the scene is at stopping a mass shooting. Also, you mentioned that only 3/5 of our states allow concealed carry. How many of those shootings happened in states that didn't? And how many happened in gun-free zones, like public schools?

"If this theory is true, shouldn't more shooters by stopped by armed civilians?"
Like I said, why is it that if CPR fails 98% of the time, it's still a generally accepted fact that people who are CPR certified can save lives?

Thank you for your time.

Sources
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
http://www.cnn.com...
StatsAndFacts

Pro

StatsAndFacts forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: randomman22// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: I personally feel that Con's argument was more convincing than Pro's.

[*Reason for non-removal*] Voting on this debate ended over a month ago, and therefore it is beyond the statute of limitations.
************************************************************************
Posted by stschiffman 1 year ago
stschiffman
@StatsAndFacts

It's all good. You debated four rounds, it's not that big a loss.
Posted by StatsAndFacts 1 year ago
StatsAndFacts
Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot to get on yesterday.
Posted by StatsAndFacts 1 year ago
StatsAndFacts
Hey, it's okay. It can be hard to find an intelligent person to debate with on tricky subjects - I'm okay with a repeat.
Posted by stschiffman 1 year ago
stschiffman
Hey, we're also having an abortion debate, aren't we? I swear, I had didn't notice when I accepted that challenge.
Posted by FollowerofChrist1955 1 year ago
FollowerofChrist1955
I do NOT believe that there is anyway to keep guns from criminals, as most are stolen, bought by someone else and given to felons (what I belive is that it is also a stolen weapon as only an idiot would BUY a gun for a felon ... it would lead police too them!)

Military stolen arms, illegal arms dealer, black market and such, which Federal government has shown it cannot control. I do believe that taking guns from law abiding citizens only leaves law abiding citizens victim to criminals who will always have guns.
Posted by StatsAndFacts 1 year ago
StatsAndFacts
Okay, thank you for the clarification.
Posted by stschiffman 1 year ago
stschiffman
Aguilajoyce What I meant is, do you believe that there would be less deaths and crimes if there was more gun control, either from homicide or suicide.
Posted by Aguilajoyce 1 year ago
Aguilajoyce
Please define the term 'safer'? Is that less injuries/homicides?
Is it percieved safety? e.g. how safe one feel knowing that metal detectors are installed in a courthouse...
Though the latter may seem less relevant, it makes a very big difference in a society in regard to quality of life. Let me know your thoughts...:-)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SirMaximus 1 year ago
SirMaximus
stschiffmanStatsAndFactsTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited no rounds, but Pro forfeited 1 round. Therefore, Con wins for conduct.
Vote Placed by randomman22 1 year ago
randomman22
stschiffmanStatsAndFactsTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I personally feel that Con's argument was more convincing than Pro's.
Vote Placed by Aguilajoyce 1 year ago
Aguilajoyce
stschiffmanStatsAndFactsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Rfd: 1. Con's argument is based on the assumption that because the U.S has a poor record of prohibiting illegal substances, it will do poorly with gun control. This is not conclusive, especially as he has failed to mention or even refute any of the proposed implementations for gun control. 2. Even though pro was not necessarily elaborative on the rebuttal of gun control allowing us to know the 'who' behind gun violence I think this point, combined with the current social concern with the lack of buyer background checks & licensure of sellers in the purchase of firearms is an effective response. 3.Con also seemed to be aguing against a gun ban when the resolution was about gun control, and cited non specifically that 'many people' wanted a ban...which kind of took the argument off topic...