The Instigator
Revolution
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
wjmelements
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Firearms should be banned from possession by civilians.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
wjmelements
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,664 times Debate No: 13921
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Revolution

Pro

Hi wjmelements. Sorry for the delay, but here's your debate on gun rights. Please only accept definitions in first round, and if you don't agree with them, we'll work it out in the comment section.

Firearms- Any lethal weapon that launches a projectile through combustion of gunpowder

Banned- Not allowed, prohibited by law

Possession- Ownership, control over

Civilian- any non-military person with no role in law enforcement or private/public security

I am looking forward to a very enjoyable debate.
wjmelements

Con

Banning firearms will violate human rights, increase crime, and threaten personal safety. Therefore, I negate this resolution.

== Additional Debate Parameter ==
As both PRO and the Instigator, my opponent has the burden of proof.

== The Negative Case ==
http://www.un.org...
From The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17:
* (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
* (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Firearms are property, so any ban on them would be an infringement upon Universal Human Rights.

Besides the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to property can be seen as an ethical concern for its being a result of labor and its purpose in the pursuit of happiness.
To deprive a man of property rightly obtained through the free exchange of labor or other property is a greater crime than to steal that man's labor or traded property, for had he not valued the traded-for property or labor more, he would not have engaged in the free exchange. Therefore, it is more ethical to enslave a $10/hour worker for fifty hours or pick $500 from his wallet than it is to steal his $500 firearm.
To deprive a man of the opportunity to govern his property as he pleases hinders his pursuit of happiness, for removing this liberty limits the options from which he may find said happiness. Therefore, in confiscating civilian firearms, the government is removing such pleasantries as hunting and skeet shooting and grounds the very happiness it serves to liberate.
To deprive a man of the opportunity to produce property as he pleases hinders his economic utility and productivity, for every service in demand is fruitful according to costs specific, and denying possession denies production. Therefore, an economy is more bountiful when left free to produce desirable property, such as firearms.

http://www.law.harvard.edu...
From the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy:
"One reason the extent of gun ownership in a society does not spur the murder rate is that murderers are not spread evenly throughout the population. Analysis of perpetrator studies shows that violent criminals—especially murderers—'almost uniformly have a long history of involvement in criminal behavior.' So it would not appreciably raise violence if all lawabiding, responsible people had firearms because they are not the ones who rape, rob, or murder. By the same token, violent crime would not fall if guns were totally banned to civilians. As the respective examples of Luxembourg and Russia suggest, individuals who commit violent crimes will either find guns despite severe controls or will find other weapons to use."
It concludes that "murder rates are determined by socio‐economic and cultural factors."

Clearly, banning civilian firearm possession has not lead to any decrease in violent crime. Logically, one should expect an opposite result. A ban on firearms has always been unenforceable, as seen in the prevalence of gun crime in Chicago during its ban [3]. This means that the only people who will abide by it are the most law-fearing and law-abiding of the citizenry. Those who neglect the law will retain their gun ownership, and be more capable of successfully committing violent crimes themselves. As noted by Harvard [2], "individuals who commit violent crimes will either find guns despite severe controls or will find other weapons to use." Thus, there is more incentive for violent crime under a gun ban than otherwise due to the reduced risk of the criminal.

Reports Cato.org [4]:
"The 31 states that have "shall issue" laws allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons have, on average, a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than states that forbid concealed weapons. In fact, the nine states with the lowest violent crime rates are all right-to-carry states."

Because the resolution would abolish the institution of concealed carry, the individual civilian would become a helpless victim to the tyranny of aggression. Because the federal, state, and local governments cannot be expected to provide defense to every citizen (this is unfeasible), people should be free to pursue self-defense and protect their personal safety. "Guns are used for self-defense more than 2 million times a year" [4]; to remove this protection is to make vulnerable those who cannot ever hope to defend themselves, especially the elderly and handicapped.

In conclusion, it is neither ethical nor intelligent to ban firearms from civilians. The resolution is negated.

== Sources ==
[1] http://www.un.org...
[2] http://www.law.harvard.edu...
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[4] http://www.cato.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Revolution

Pro

I will begin by noting that I stated in my first argument "Please only accept definitions in first round, and if you don't agree with them, we'll work it out in the comment section." However, my opponent has disregarded this rule, launching straight into his arguments, and there's nothing we can do about it except vote pro, so I shall continue.

Also, I acknowledge the burden of proof.

1. Guns may be property, but they happen to be property capable of depriving someone of something greater than their property: their life.

2.I don't see how one would gain happiness through a firearm, except through hunting, and hunting can be achieved with other tools.

3. A lot of high profile crimes were committed by people who were committing their first crime. See the fort hood shootings, and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard.

4. We should ban possession of firearms as a matter of principle. Why do we ban suicide, when we know we can't enforce it? It's because we don't want people committing suicide, and want them to understand that it is a violation of the law, and a poor choice indeed.

My case is based on two contentions.

1. Legal possession of firearms makes homicide simple to achieve. One could legally walk with a gun into firing range within the current laws. They would only step out of the boundaries when they aim and pull the trigger. Criminals may be capable of committing murder even when guns are banned, but when they are legal, it becomes easy.

2. One might fire impulsively. Perfectly well-meaning, normally law abiding citizens who carry firearms for defense might kill with the weapon on an impulse, without realizing the consequences of their actions. They would probably regret their actions, but they couldn't take them back.

Resolution affirmed.
wjmelements

Con

== Regarding Spelling ==
I have noticed that a block quote has not copied correctly due to this site's text formatting. "murder rates are determined by socio‐economic and cultural factors" should read "murder rates are determined by socio-economic and cultural factors."

== Regarding Conduct ==
I would like to apologize to my opponent for presenting my case in the first round, as I interpreted his opening statement to mean that we would avoid debating definitions outside of the first round and the comments section. I was obviously incorrect.

== Regarding the Affirmative Case ==
My opponent has argued that murder is more achievable with firearms legal. However, as I have already presented, with agreement from the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, those interested in homocide will either find an illegal firearm or use another means. The law, therefore does not hinder murder. Instead, such a law will make murder easier due to the reduced chance that the target will be able to defend themselves.

My opponent has also introduced the concept of impulsive murder, which he has not introduced any statistical significance for or given any reason to believe would occur less often with a gun than with a knife, which has no "Safety" switch.

== Regarding the Negative Case ==
My opponent objects that there can be no right to property that can be used to take lives. This idea extends to knives, scissors, baseball bats, A/C current, pillows, poisons, and every limb of the human body. To deny property on potential capability is foolish and shortsighted.

My opponent objects that no happiness can be achieved through a firearm outside of hunting. Here is a short list:
- hunting (for sport and food)
- skeet shooting
- gun collecting
- pest control
- gun shows
- target shooting
My opponent has also suggested that hunting can be achieved with other tools besides the firearm, but bow-hunting results in a far less ethical kill [1]. The animal is less likely to die on the first shot, due to less killing power and less accuracy. Additionally, trapping and tranquilizing animals is a violation of fair chase ethics [2].

I do not see the relevancy of my opponent's objection regarding the fact that a handful of murder cases involved first time shooters. Every criminal was at one time a first-time criminal; this does not make the entire population criminal.

My opponent says that banning firearms is a matter of principle without any substantial reason. Rather, firearms should be allowed on the principles of liberty, property, and universal human rights, as outlined in my first contention.

It is unethical and harmful to ban civilian firearm ownership. Therefore, resolution is negated.

== Sources ==
[1] http://trailcameras.net...
[2] http://www.matlabas.co.za...
Debate Round No. 2
Revolution

Pro

I acknowledge my opponent's confusion about my opening statement, it was an honest misunderstanding.

1. I contest my opponent's case regarding gun crime, that stated "those interested in homocide will either find an illegal firearm or use another means." This is not true. As shown in the link below, the United States has a far larger murder rate per capita than the UK, which has gun control.

http://www.nationmaster.com...

2. The reason why impulsive murder would occur more often with a gun than with a knife is because killing with a gun is easier. You only need to pull a trigger, while killing with a knife requires more force. One would be more likely to realize what they are doing, and stop. Also, knives are less lethal than guns, and one might make a non-lethal stab with a knife, come to their senses, and stop.

3. "This idea extends to knives, scissors, baseball bats, A/C current, pillows, poisons, and every limb of the human body". Knives, scissors, and baseball bats are not as potent as guns. A/C current only kills if the victim brings it upon himself. Pillows cannot kill. Poison is banned. Limbs of the human body are not as potent, and otherwise cannot be denied.

4. My opponent has listed uses of firearms that cause happiness. I will refute them one by one.

- hunting (for sport and food)- One can hunt with a less potent gun than a firearm, which can kill animals, but is unlikely to kill humans
- skeet shooting- Skeet guns are used, which cannot kill
- gun collecting- Collecting is an addiction, and therefore a vice (http://magazine.uchicago.edu... ); Allowing firearms to facilitate the practicing of a vice would be pointless
- pest control- Pest control is done professionally, and does not provide any happiness. Personally, I don't see people running all over their house shooting termites very often.
- gun shows- Gun shows have all but disappeared. I would challenge my opponent to name two that occurred
- target shooting- I have done this on occasion, and found it enjoyable, but target shooting is done with non-lethal weapons such as BB guns, and air rifles

5. The relevance of my point regarding first-time criminals is that is is a rebuttal of my opponent's round 1 contention stating "Analysis of perpetrator studies shows that violent criminals—especially murderers—'almost uniformly have a long history of involvement in criminal behavior."

6. As outlined in my first argument for this round, firearms can and do cause deaths, and a dead human being is far worse off than one who cannot own a firearm.

"It is unethical and harmful to ban civilian firearm ownership. Therefore, resolution is negated." I await my opponent's contentions for the next round but until then, the resolution is affirmed. Banning guns reduces murder rates as I cited, and prevents impulsive murders.

I eagerly await my opponent's contentions for the next round.
wjmelements

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his quick response. I'll match my opponent's formatting.

My opponent drops my ethical argument regarding the confiscation of property.

1. My opponent has tried to present the difference in murder rates between nations as evidence, yet the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (see rounds one and two) has already found such generalizations to be fallacious. Just as easily as my opponent can point out that the U.K. has more murders than the U.S. can I point out that Switzerland, in which all males have state-issued weapons and state-sanctioned military training, the murder rate is half of that of the U.K. As the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy concluded, there is no correlation between murder rates in nations with or without national gun bans. Instead, it notes, murder rates are determined by "socio-economic factors." The United States doesn't have free gun ownership anyways.

2. My opponent has dropped his argument that impulsive murder is statistically significant. My opponent also ignores the fact that unintentional murder is more difficult with a gun due to the "Safety" switch.

3. My opponent has argued that pillows cannot kill. This is incorrect. http://en.wikipedia.org...
My opponent has also argued that poison is banned. Poisons are used as medicines, pesticides and treatments, among other things.
My opponent's essential argument now is that guns should be banned due to their potency, but statistically, banning guns does not decrease murder rates. It only forces murderers to use more archaic means in accomplishing their goal.

4. Happiness from weapons, one-by-one:
-My opponent argues that a non-firearm device that is lethal to animals but not humans could be used for hunting. I challenge my opponent to find such a device on the internet, or perhaps to design one himself.
-My opponent asserts that skeet shooting uses non-lethal weapons. This is not true. No such "skeet gun" exists.
-The quote from my opponent's source (http://magazine.uchicago.edu...) that calls collection an addiction also states that collection is a trait of humanity "inborn and indestructible." It is entirely natural and acceptable for a human to gain happiness from collecting.
-My opponent ignorantly pictures the use of firearms for pest control as "people running all over their house shooting termites." My opponent must live somewhere where there are no pests, such as beavers or alligator gars, irritating mankind and destroying property. Not everybody has money to throw around to professionals, or has reason to when they can handle the problem themselves.
-My opponent also believes that gun shows no longer occur. I will name two that are happening in my state just this weekend: The Texas Gun Show at the Floresville Convention Center and the Saxet Trade Show at the Travis County Expo Center. My opponent can find over 100 shows just this month listed at http://www.gunshows-usa.com.... There is quite a large demand for these shows, whether my opponent is aware of it or not.
-Target shooting is rarely done with BB guns and air rifles, and people would get far less enjoyment from it if they could not use their preferred pistols or rifles.

5. Having presented my opponent's contention, I learn that he is contending the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Because the statement says "almost uniformly," my opponent's objection is statistically insignificant. The statistics outlined in the Harvard Journal are undeniable.

6. The fallacy presented here is the most common in cases against firearms, that "firearms can and do cause deaths." Firearms have no free will. They can be used as the tool of a murderer, as can virtually anything else, but statistically, the status of their legal existence doesn't affect murder rates. By banning firearms, my opponent can only deny happiness to people he does not understand.

== Conclusion ==
It is unethical to prevent people from manufacturing, using, or possessing firearms. Banning firearms does not decrease murder rates; it only limits man's liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The resolution is negated. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
Revolution

Pro

Revolution forfeited this round.
wjmelements

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited his last round.

Reiteration:
The banning of firearms violates property rights and limits societal happiness while making citizens defenseless against murderers. This negates the resolution.

Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by DeUcEs 6 years ago
DeUcEs
notta problem man. I do have one thing I noticed in the last argument. Someone mentioned that gunshows have dissapeared. We have at least 6 gun shows around my city every single year. It is actually rather awesome.
Posted by Revolution 6 years ago
Revolution
Thanks for the encouragement.
Posted by DeUcEs 6 years ago
DeUcEs
I personally feel this is a very un-wise debate as I feel it would quite simply cause more problems banning firearms. If you ban fire-arms, those who already own them would still be able to keep theirs. Second, how many people have tried this? Far too many to continue because it is never going to work. good luck with your debate, and Im all for con on this one.
Posted by Revolution 6 years ago
Revolution
Sounds fine to me. I made the change.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Would you extend the argument time to 72 hours?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by fredman15 6 years ago
fredman15
RevolutionwjmelementsTied
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Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
RevolutionwjmelementsTied
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Vote Placed by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
RevolutionwjmelementsTied
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