The Instigator
mongoose
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points

Gun Control

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
mongoose
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/21/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,043 times Debate No: 15526
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

mongoose

Con

Hello all. This debate is part of the current Debate Tournament.

I will be contending that gun regulation should be minimal and only in the forms of background checks to purchase a gun. If my opponent wishes for a different resolution, I hope he comments on it before accepting it.

Contention 1: Guns protect people

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, which actually increased crime rates. States with right-to-carry laws tend to have lower crime rates than those without [1]. It makes logical sense that criminals, when deciding their targets, will be less inclined to rob from somebody who may be armed with a gun. When people are allowed to conceal their guns, they create a positive externality on society, protecting the non-gun owners with criminal’s fear of assaulting somebody who can fight back. When the criminal knows that the victim is unarmed and not dangerous, he is much more inclined to infringe on their other rights, such as property and life.

Criminologist Gary Kleck concluded that “handguns are used for protection nearly 2 million times per year, up to five times more often than to commit crimes” [2]. Guns can be used, without being fired, to intimidate a criminal to stop committing a crime and flee, thus protecting everybody. Also, a large number of potential crimes never even occur because the potential criminal is too scared of the possibility of confronting somebody with a weapon. The clear power of guns in the law abiding civilization, in addition to the general inability of the government to completely enforce its idealistic gun restrictions, make the notion that banning guns would do anybody any good somewhat ridiculous.

In Washington D.C., the homicide rate tripled between 1976 and 1991, during which it banned hand guns, while the national rate only rose 12 percent [2]. This would logically result from the fact that law abiding citizens gave up their guns, leaving a full 100% of the guns in the hands of people with the clear intention of breaking the law. Criminals, now knowing that their victims are completely defenseless, are all the more keen to use their guns to rob, steal, and murder. The individual citizens are much better at defending themselves than the police force, which is unable to give constant protection at all times like a gun can. Guns give regular citizens a much better fight against criminals, deterring them from even trying.


That shall be all for now.
[1] http://www.cato.org...
[2] http://www.roanoke.com...
brian_eggleston

Pro

I thank Mongoose for posing this debate challenge and would like to respond to his argument as follows:

Guns don't protect people; they threaten, injure and kill people.

Not so long ago, in America, because firearms are commonplace and easily obtainable (legally or illegally) in that country, a young man who was disillusioned with the result of a recent election in Arizona walked into a meet-and-greet between the winning candidate and her constituents at a local supermarket and opened fire.

As a result of this obscene attack on democracy, a freely-elected politician was severely injured and one of her staff members, three retirees, a federal judge and a young girl born on September 11th 2001 were killed. [1]

Supporters of public gun-ownership often claim that ‘guns don't kill people, people do' but we have to ask ourselves: ‘In this case, how successful would this frothing nut-job in Tucson have been if he hadn't had easy access to a firearm?'

Clearly, if he had walked into that supermarket unarmed and shouted "Rat-a-tat-a-tat" or "Bang-bang! You're dead" it is unlikely that the consequences would have been fatal!

My opponent then goes to claim that easy access to lethal weapons leads to lower crime rates, and quotes criminologist Gary Kleck who concluded that "'handguns are used for protection nearly 2 million times per year, up to five times more often than to commit crimes.'"

If what Kleck claims is true, it means guns are used in a truly alarming 400,000 crimes per year.

Now, let's compare the US to Japan and Great Britain, countries where private gun ownership is strictly regulated. In Japan, guns only kill 6 people in every 10,000,000 whereas in England and Wales the figure is 38 in every 10,000,000.

Meanwhile, in the USA where citizens have a constitutional right to "bear arms" a whopping 1026 people in every 10,000,000 are killed by guns – that's 27 times more than in England and Wales and a staggering 171 times more than in Japan.

Of course, determined criminals in Britain and Japan can, and do, obtain firearms, but they are only the most hard-core, well-connected of villains: the average burglars and muggers do not routinely carry firearms and, most certainly, young people with mental health issues are not able to access guns and use them to massacre innocent people in schools, colleges and other public places as seems to happen on such a depressingly regular basis in the United States.

Please don't misunderstand me: I'm a great admirer of America – in many ways it is a wonderful country with much to be proud of – but one of the few issues that is widely supported in the United States, mainly for historical reasons, but which I cannot support, is the right of ordinary American citizens to routinely arm themselves with guns.

Thank you.

[1] http://topics.nytimes.com...
[2] http://www.gun-control-network.org...
Debate Round No. 1
mongoose

Con

Thank you, brian, for accepting this debate.


My opponent brings up the Tuscon shooting. While this was a tragic event, I had stated at the beginning of the debate that background checks before obtaining a gun were acceptable. Even the slightest attempt to invesigate Loughner's background would reveal his mental insanity [1]. He should have been put in a mental institution. However, this is separate from the gun issue.

And next, my opponent moves into the fun aspect of comparing different countries. This can be clearly seen to be a terribly inaccurate method of finding relationships between gun ownership and gun crime [2]. The US's non-gun homicide rate is almost as high as the total homicide rate for England/Wales and Japan combined. The US total is still less than the non-gun homicide rates of many other countries, such as Mexico. There's no reason why gun control would contribute to less non-gun violence. This method doesn't properly get rid of confounding variables. For example, England is an island. It is much, much easier to regulate what gets on and off an island that what gets through a 6,000 mile border with a country supplying illegal drugs, itself contributing large amounts of the violence (legalization, not gun control, would mostly solve this problem). How can this problem be solved?

Sowell has the answer [3]. While we cannot compare different cultures and countries, we can easily compare individual countries during their change from one policy to another. The clear trend in England has been that increased gun control has resulted in more homicides and robberies. In fact, England has a higher rate of robbery, largely due to the fact that the people they are robbing from are always unarmed.

Think about it logically. If an armed citizen is in a gun fight with an armed criminal the criminal may have an advantage. But what if the criminal had a knife and the citizen had nothing? The criminal almost always wins. Remember, "God didn't make all people equal - Mr. Colt did."

[1] http://www.mtsusidelines.com...
[2] http://www.guncite.com...
[3] http://www.allsafedefense.com...
brian_eggleston

Pro

My opponent argues from the position of an American living in his country where guns are common and the population have relatively easy access to them, and where the consensus of opinion is that the status quo, and their Constitutional right to possess firearms, should be maintained.

But given a blank sheet of paper, would my opponent's arguments still hold water? If he were the founding father of a new land would he think that flooding the country with millions of guns and allow the people to run around pretty much willy-nilly with them be a good idea or would he think that firearms should be the sole preserve of the military, law-enforcement officers and strictly-regulated and properly licensed hunters as they are in most other developed nations?

And if the founding fathers of America could have seen into the future were able to see what sort of country America would become 200 years or so on, would they still have thought it necessary to organise the citizens into an armed militia to protect the country from foreign invasion?

Take my own country, for example, Great Britain. Given a blank piece of paper, would we choose to have an unelected head of state, donate 75% of the nation's land to them and their over-privileged cronies and pay them hundreds of millions of taxpayers' pounds every year live the life of luxury Avarice could only dream of, or would we prefer a democratically-elected head of state – a president, rather than a monarch?

I suspect the latter, yet there is no mainstream call for the country to become a republic, and I suspect Americans, if they hadn't always had free and easy access to firearms would not now demand the right to bear arms if it wasn't part of the Constitution.

To address my opponent's final point: of course it would be better to have a gun to deter a gunman, but it would be better still if there were no gunman because guns were so hard to come by.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
mongoose

Con

It seems my opponent is using many rhetorical questions.

Given a blank sheet of paper, my arguments would hold water. I haven't made a single argument, so far, that guns are a right. I haven't made a single appeal to tradition or the constitution. I've been giving statistics that say that gun control anywhere is not good. If I was the founding father of a new land, I would let them have guns. The alternative would be to set up checkpoints all around this land and make sure that nobody was bringing in guns, then check to make sure nobody had guns. It wouldn't work even then. And, of course, you're making an appeal to "developed nations."

If the founding fathers could have seen this, they would better clarify the second amendment to establish gun rights independent of being in a militia. Also, the purpose is not so much to protect from foreign invasion, but domestic tyranny.

And for Great Britain... you messed up. This has nothing to do with gun rights, or pretty much anything.

I repeat, I haven't been making appeals to tradition or the Constitution. Statistics are independent of this. The right to bear arms is good because it results in less tyranny and increased safety.

So "it would be better" if there was no gunman, but so far all attempts to stop criminals from obtaining guns have been futile. Imagine this alternate scenario: criminal has knife, you have nothing (I doubt people would carry around knives for self-defense). Who's going to win?
brian_eggleston

Pro

With many thanks to mongoose for continuing this debate, I would like to respond as follows:

My opponent wrote: "I was the founding father of a new land, I would let them have guns. The alternative would be to set up checkpoints all around this land and make sure that nobody was bringing in guns, then check to make sure nobody had guns."

Drugs such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis are illegal in most Western countries but there are no checkpoints manned by law-enforcement officers, no searches of members of the public for contraband narcotics. Instead, in addition to anti-smuggling measures implemented at borders, the police launch intelligence-based operations and raid the homes of suspected drug traffickers and users, and the same approach could be applied to guns. Of course, drugs are still in circulation and it will not be possible to completely rid society of the menace of guns, but it will help to reduce the number of innocent lives lost as the result of gun crime.

And, by the way, it is a myth that most gun crimes are committed using illegal weapons, the majority of recent shooting massacres were committed with legally held weapons.

The attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11th, 2001, caused 2,606 deaths. America's reaction to this terrorist outrage was, understandably and justifiably, resolute and robust. Meanwhile, however, there is over ten times that number of gun-related deaths every year in America – equivalent to ten 9/11's every year – yet the US Government do little or nothing about it.

The fact is, and there can be no denying this, there is a direct correlation between the percentage of households with firearms and the number of intentional firearms deaths: the higher the percentage of gun owners in a country, the higher the number of gun-related deaths per capita.

Finally, regarding the knife analogy: in Britain and elsewhere, carrying a knife is illegal: in Britain the penalty is four years imprisonment and is set to increase. As a result, knife crime is being driven down and the same can be done in the United States with stricter gun regulations.

Naturally, intentional gun deaths will never be completely eradicated, but any measures that can be introduced that could save innocent lives must be worthwhile.

Thank you.

Sources:
----------
http://www.gun-control-network.org...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 3
mongoose

Con

Yes, drugs are still prevalent in society despite drug laws. I am opposed to drug laws for the same reason I'm opposed to gun laws. They both try to restrict freedom. I find supporting one and not the other to be contradictory. It is believed that banning drugs actually increases the number of people who die. The same is true with guns. The act of banning it makes it worse.

Your source says that most recent massacres have been commited with legal guns, but it provides no dates or other sources for that determination. Is it 90% or 50%? Where are the majority of these massacres? What are the laws? Don't forget that my position in this debate allows for minor regulations to keep guns from known felons and the mentally unstable.

Yes, many people died in 9/11, and even more from gun violence. However, even more die from Motor accidents according to the graphs at the bottom [1]. Are we going to ban cars? No. One can't just say that something has potential danger and try to eradicate it from society. It's what they're trying to do with drugs, and everybody pretty much agrees that it isn't working.

My opponent points out the correlation between gun ownership and firearm deaths. Again. With the exact same source and no counterargument to what I said last round about the failure of attempts to compare different cultures. My source revealed that, when looking at a single culture as it went from lenient to strict on gun rights, overregulation increase the rate of crime and murder.

Carrying a knife is illegal? That's ridiculous. Knives serve all kinds of useful purposes, like with food and all. Anyways, if both sides are unarmed, then it would be almost impossible for a woman to physically defend herself from a stronger man. Guns are the great equalizer.

My opponent needs more sources to back all of his claims.

In conclusion, it has been shown that increasing gun regulation comes with an increase in gun crime and murder. Therefore, guns shouldn't be banned. Thank you.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
brian_eggleston

Pro

My opponent's opposition to gun control has now become clear - he dislikes it because it restricts personal freedom; the 'right' an individual has to go out and shoot people.

Of course, using a gun as an offensive weapon is illegal, but sometimes people do break the law, and the fact that someone looses their temper and uses a gun to blow the head off the person that annoyed them will be of little consolation to the friends and family of the deceased.

Also, in terms of self-defence guns just serve to escalate the amount of violence in a confrontation, often with lethal consequences.

If an armed robber comes to your home you can use your gun to defend yourself but you and your family may be killed in the shoot-out. The best way to stack the odds in your favour would be to invest in a sub-machine gun and a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher.

But what if the bad guys up the stakes again and attacks your home using an armoured-vehicle equipped with surface to surface missiles that are capable of being launched well out of range of your RPG's?

You see, there have to restrictions on what type of weaponry should be available to the general public, so the argument that gun control restricts personal freedom falls flat on its face.

In summary, gun control is designed protect citizens, not to deny them their rights.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
I completely agree with Brian's position and arguments but his failure to rebut many of Con's points means I'm going to have to vote for Mongoose as the winner here.
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
We've been successfully killing each other for thousands of years before guns even existed. Nothing will change.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
They stole it off the people in the first place - at least their ancestors did. England was mostly common land where anyone was free to graze their animals or gather food for their families but over the years the monarchy fenced parcels of it off and either declared them their own possessions or they handed them to noblemen men in exchange for political allegiance or financial support.

That's why there are so few commons left today: Ealing Common, Clapham Common and Wimbledon Common are famous exceptions.
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
Nah, its their property. If the monarchy ever get so unpopular on the world stage that they no longer bring in money, I'm all for getting rid of the institution, but not stealing their property.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
The Crown Estates, together with the rest of the huge estates controlled by our parasitic aristocracy should be returned to their rightful owners: the British people; and the Monarchy and the nobility should be made to go out and get jobs and pay mortgages like the rest of us.
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
brian_eggleston- the monarchy doesn't cost the taxpayer a single penny, we make profit out of them. The crown estates gave £256million to the treasury last year (they do it every year), in return the treasury pays for their upkeep (£40million). They do this because the treasury knows we make a profit of over £200million every year on this deal (not to mention tourism). If they were to be abolished, they wouldn't have to donate any of the income from Crown Estates except income tax. Which is considerably lower than £200million I can assure you. This is why New Labour never pushed to support the Republican movement when the Royals popularity was at its lowest in the late 90s. In fact, it makes sense for the monarchy to be anti-monarchy themselves when you look at the finances.

I'm not a Royalist, I just think it time we stopped using this flawed argument.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
I've nearly finished my next argument, mongoose...sorry for the delay.
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
A gun has one purpose- to cause harm and/or destruction. It has no other function.

The UK has strict Gun Laws, with very very few people owning a gun (most of those that do are those who own livestock). We have a lower gun crime rate and a lower gun death rate than the USA.

The 'you own one so I should own one' argument is truly pathetic. If somebody is going to kill you, they can do it with a plank of wood, a knife, a pen, water, pretty much anything.

I do understand the extreme difficulties in removing guns from a society that has so many guns already though. It is a near impossibility. Difficult one.
Posted by mongoose 5 years ago
mongoose
If you do vote on this, make sure to decide based on the arguments made, not your previous opinions (except, of course, the agreement B/A the debate).
Posted by theorusso 5 years ago
theorusso
2 things…

1. "Guns don't kill people, I do." as proved my pro's argument that a man with a gun, not a gun, injured people.

2. Gun control is a great idea on paper, but terrible in reality.
Imagine you're going to rob someone, but you need to choose a city. Are you going to rob people in the city with little gun control/one with mandated possession of guns, or are you going to go to the city where its illegal to carry a gun.
Bad guys will target the cities with no guns, and crime rates will skyrocket.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
mongoosebrian_egglestonTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: This was determined by the cited statistics. Con had the better of that. Within a culture, banning guns did not decrease crime rates. Con did miss the obvious, failing to cite Israel and Switzerland where gun ownership is very high and crime rates are low. Still, he had enough to make the point.
Vote Placed by IamZero 5 years ago
IamZero
mongoosebrian_egglestonTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Seriously, knifes are illegal? Can you get in trouble for looking at somebody funny?
Vote Placed by mb852 5 years ago
mb852
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Gun Control only takes the guns away from the citizens that need them.
Vote Placed by BillBonJovi 5 years ago
BillBonJovi
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con's arguments were stronger in this debate
Vote Placed by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pretty easy decision. My decision calculus came down to a notion of safety. Mongoose's point in Rd. 2 comparing the increase of crime in the U.S. vs Britain kicked Brian's only main point about safety. Plus, Brian's point about legal vs illegal crimes was way to vague to be considered valid (as Mongoose alluded to.)
Vote Placed by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
mongoosebrian_egglestonTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments. 7 point vote as per tournament rules.