The Instigator
EagleEyE
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
nwarth
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Gun Rights for law abiding citizens should be protected.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,256 times Debate No: 810
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (9)

 

EagleEyE

Pro

I am in favor of gun rights for law abiding citizens. The constitution of the United States protects our right to carry firearms. Citizens of the US should be allowed to own and carry guns, for the following reasons:

a) A situation where the government is armed and the people are not can lead to frightening abuses of power.

b) Criminals will obtain guns whether they are legal or not. If guns were illegal, criminals would know this, and take advantage of unarmed civilians.

finally, and most importantly,
c) The constitution of the United States says, "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Therefore, people must be allowed to own and carry guns NO MATTER WHAT, as the constitution is the "supreme law of the land."
nwarth

Con

[Sorry it took so long, I tried posting last night but Safari crashed toward the end]

I'll argue the position that the Federal Government can regulate the sale of arms, but they cannot ban them. The States, however, may regulate (above what the Federal Government has chosen) and may even ban them- with a narrow exception for those serving in the Milita.

First, as EagleEye appropriately noted, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and unless amended, what it says goes. So what does the Second Amendment actually say? EagleEye, I must call you out. You only quoted a portion of the Second Amendment. The full Amendment, as passed in 1791 actually says, "A well regulated Milita, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." There are two valid interpretations of this.

Eagle you would argue that it gives two rights, one for a militia and one for a individual right to bear arms.

I argue otherwise. I think it gives a right for a well regulated Militia and two reasons for the importance of a well regulated militia.

Either way, I think we can both agree that this was an exercise in very poor drafting by our Founding Fathers. Our initial knee jerk reaction would be to look at case law. After all it is the Judiciaries job to figure out these type of textual discrepancies. Even there, however, we find conflicts. Modern lower courts, such as in US v. Emerson in 1999
have argued that it is an individual right. However, the Supreme Court rejected that the Second Amendment gives us an individual right in 1939 (the case was United States v. Miller.) In doing so the SC upheld the National Firearms Act of 1934. Why did the Court rule this way? Because the Second Amendment was to "assure the continuation of render[ing] possible the effectiveness of [the Milita]." 307 US 174, at 178 (1939.) Additionally for an individual to gain Second Amendment protection a weapon possessed must have "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia [and] [c]ertainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense." Id.

So, while the text is not conclusive, a non-activist judge, acceding to precedent, should accept what the Supreme Court has already interpreted and rule consistently. However, there is more than just precedent to support this position. While there is little in the way of legislative history, it seems the debate, principally between Madison and Hamilton suggests the Amendment dealt with the Militias and not the individual. Madison argued that States need protection from the Federal Government. By allowing the states to have Militias, and allowing the Militias to be armed, the States would have a ready army to challenged the authority of the Federal government should Tyranny attempt to take control. Hamilton argued that the Militias should be at the control of the Federal government to make them more cohesive. Obviously the Federalists, favoring States rights, won out on this issue. Thus, the "People" in the Second Amendment refers to the States, specifically those members of the Militia.

Now, I know, you are probably saying, "but we don't have Militias anymore. It is an outdated idea, and the Constitutional interpretation should reflect this." That argument is a swing... and a miss. You see Militias have morphed, but are now better known as "the National Guard." So, instead of a massive interpretive change, all that is really needed is to understand that "National Guard" = "Militia."

Constitutionally this suggests to us that the Federal Government can regulate weapons, but cannot forbid them BECAUSE States have a constitutional rights to a well armed Militia. Additionally, those people who join a Militia are then guaranteed a right to bear arms.

My next argument stems from the purpose of gun control. I can naturally cite statistics of how many people die, or why they die every year, but that would be a poor argument. No, there are two very good arguments to regulate gun control.

(1) Police protection. Policemen often have to go into seedy areas, and they often pray the bad guys don't have guns. However, in some areas there is less of a risk that the motorist is armed, and the officers can act on those underlying assumptions. Eagle, if I listen to your first and second arguments, it sounds as if you want the presumption to be that everyone is armed, so criminals would be scared. However, imagine what this would do to the police psyche, how less willing they will be to help out of fear that not only may the bad guy be armed, but they would be better armed than the officer is. Surely, we don't want to create, or incentivize an arms race between police and criminals. I'm also sure this isn't what your arguing, but it is an unintended consequence.

(2) Catching Criminals. Al Capone was a bad guy. He was a murderer, a money launderer, and the list goes on. However, he was arrested, charged, and tried for tax evasion. Why do I bring this up? Because often times the worst criminals, or even good petty criminals, are able to escape prosecution for their serious crimes. It is harder for me as a Prosecutor to show that a Defendant attacked and robbed a bystander. It is easier to show that he was carrying a weapon in violation of some regulation. Gun control, especially in large cities, makes sense. It helps catch criminals that otherwise would be able to go free. If we allow an individual right to bear arms, this would seriously hamper the catching of criminals, especially drug dealers and violent offenders.

Finally, Often times libertarians and individual right supporters argue that a well armed militia is needed to protect us from the federal government. This may be true, in fact Madison did the math to support such a position as to why the States needed the militias, however that was then, this is now. In the late 18th century the best we had was muskets as very crude revolvers. I'm looking at a replica of George Washington's revolver right now, and would note that it would take a while to reload these old guns. Warfare has come along way, and I assure you, if the government really wanted to take control and "frighteningly abuse" their power... they could, and guess what, your guys won't help you against that tank, or that SeaHawk, or that missile. Your doomsday scenario will not be changed one iota because you have guns. In fact, having those guns is like ducking and covering during a nuclear explosion, it may make you feel better before you die, but that's about all they will do.

Question: What are we defining as "arms?" Simply allowing guns generally, even if only limiting to pistols or hunting rifles, or more expansive. If a more expansive argument is being made then what is the limit? Can a Grenade be an arm? How about an RPG? Where is the limit and what principles would you use to make the limit
Debate Round No. 1
EagleEyE

Pro

EagleEyE forfeited this round.
nwarth

Con

In interest of fairness I shall also forfeit the round. Hopefully the Christmas season simply got in the way of an otherwise excellent discussion.
Debate Round No. 2
EagleEyE

Pro

EagleEyE forfeited this round.
nwarth

Con

Again, I am sad that EagleEye forfeited. I was looking forward to an exciting debate. I shall also forfeit this round in fairness.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by nwarth 9 years ago
nwarth
I don't deny that it may reduce some types of crime slightly, what I'm asking is "do we want to live in that kind of society?" I'd suggest that States and local areas should be left to make those decisions because different States have different priorities, different areas need different things, and that's what the Constitution says.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
US law holds that the definition of a militia is basically anyone able to operate a firearm... the language about a militia also implies that the weapons must serve a military purpose - thus, no sawed-off shotguns.

Also - gun ownership actually REDUCES crime rates - look it up. Makes sense too - you're less likely to break into a house if you know the owner might have a gun than if you know he doesn't. And on top of that, the people likely to commit crimes involving guns aren't the law-abiding type either, so they'll find a way to break the law to get guns ANYWAY...
Posted by nwarth 9 years ago
nwarth
The second amendment would obviously change those clauses in the Constitution. Further support of my argument. The Amendment was to simply shift those duties of the militia from the Federal (Central) government to the States. This would be done to fight against the tyranny of a central government (the purpose of the first ten amendments.)
Posted by alexthemoderate 9 years ago
alexthemoderate
Some excerpts from the U.S. Constitution:

2nd Amendment:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Article I(Legislature), Section 8, Clauses 15-16:
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress institutions and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia...

These to me lay out a few things:
a) There is structure, organization, CONTROL over who has the arms. The militia would be equivalent to the citizen-soldiers of the NATIONAL GUARD, not a couple of drunk guys in the back of a pick-up truck (sorry to responsible pick-up owners).
b) The militia is an arm of the government, and some of those that are anti-gun control say that they need to have guns to protect them FROM the government. Confusing...(not really a point, just a thought)
c) There is NOTHING above that says that there CANNOT be restrictions on who could have a gun (such as those who are ex-felons or mentally unstable--like the kid from Virginia Tech)
d) "disciplining the militia" from the Article I section could mean required training for anyone who owns a gun so that there are no misfires, and so that we know who has a gun.

There is nothing wrong with someone owning a gun, but because it is a something that was originally designed to kill, we should do the right thing and regulate it. (And ban assault rifles. One doesn't hunt with an assault rifle, one mows down life.)
Posted by Lydie 9 years ago
Lydie
If our government decides to become a dictatorship and open fire at the citizens...we´re in trouble anyway man.

Maybe they will obtain them anyway, but obviously they are much much easier to attain when they are legal. It would at least make it harder and a little more dangerous for them to attain them.

The columbine kids, and the Viginia Tech guy were law abiding, pretty sure, until the day they snapped. Or how about murder out of passion? People can be law abiding up until the point were they are driven to kill.

Remember, the constitution also originally said neither blacks nor women could vote. Sometimes it gets a little outdated. so...we update it.
Posted by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
Good argument Eagle. I really think you'll kill in this debate.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 11 months ago
U.n
EagleEyEnwarthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by joshizinfamous 5 years ago
joshizinfamous
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Vote Placed by Aaronroy 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro loses points for forfeiting, but Con loses MAJOR points for his arguments are based on false-assertions. "I argue otherwise. I think it gives a right for a well regulated Militia and two reasons for the importance of a well regulated militia." is what is false. The 2nd Amendment has been interpreted as an individual right, not a collective right to the militias.
Vote Placed by brittwaller 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by azrael777 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Chob 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cincinnatus 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by nwarth 9 years ago
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