The Instigator
seraine
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Cliff.Stamp
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Gun Rights

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Cliff.Stamp
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/27/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,233 times Debate No: 16743
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)

 

seraine

Pro

It looks like my opponent in my other debate will forfeit the entire thing, so I'm restarting the debate.

Here is my argument.

1. Guns deter criminals.

Gun control leads to more crimes because criminals are criminals because they break the law, so citizens won't have protection while criminals will have guns. Yes, maybe a few will be put off from obtaining guns, but do you know what? They break the law, so they won't care if there is a law that says that obtaining guns is illegal. As the old saying goes "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".

And now that your average citizen can't obtain guns, the criminals are no longer scared of robbing someone because they might have a gun. Even if criminals are scared of the law(which would be pretty strange), it is now a criminal with a knife versus an unarmed citizen. If not, which is very probable (because after all, criminals are criminals because they break the law), it is now a criminal with a gun versus a unarmed citizen.

1A. Evidence.

1Aa. Americans using guns for good.

Approximately 11,000, or 67% of America's murders are committed with fire arms. However, 162,000 households believed that someone would have been killed if they didn't carry a firearm for protection. Not only that, US civilians use guns to protect themselves from crime about 1,000,000 times a year, excluding cops and security guards and such[1].

Americans use guns to frighten off intruders about 500,000 times a year. In a survey of felons, 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim" and 40% didn't commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun"[1].

This shows that guns prevent more problems than they cause.

1Ab. Crime Comparison between Countries with & without Gun Control.

Let's compare crime rates in countries with and without gun control. In America, there is about 4 gun committed homicides per 100,000 people. When you compare that with France's 0.2 gun committed homicides per 100,000 people[2], it points to an obvious conclusion.

However, that's before you look deeper into the subject. In London, which has gun control, you are 6 times more likely to mugged than in New York City. By 1995, all crimes except murder and rape were far higher in England than in America. Only 13% of burglaries occur while people are at home in the US, compared with 53% for England. America's murder rate is getting closer and closer to England's, and may converge in the near future[1].

This proves what I have been saying. Yes, criminals commit most crimes with guns in the US because criminals have easy access to guns. However, because citizens may have guns, the crime rate is much lower overall.

1Ac. What happens when you put gun laws into effect.

When Washington D.C. put gun control laws into effect, the homicide rate tripled, while the national average rose 12%[6].

1Ad. When gun ownership is the law.

In Kennesaw, Georgia, they had a crime problem. Their population was about 5,000, but they had a crime rate of 4,000/100,000, well above the national average. They passed a law which said every homeowner had to own and maintain a firearm. It then dropped to 2,000/100,000, while their population has quintupled. Not only that, not a single citizen has been killed by a gun[7].

1Ae. Good gun laws.

This does not mean I don't believe in background checks and such for buying guns. Gun control advocates often cite the Tucson shooting, but a simple background check could have stopped Jared Loughner from buying a gun[4].

2. Cops and crime.

Without guns, there isn't much to protect people. After all, if someone suddenly pulls a knife/gun on you, the cops won't be there to stop it. The average police response time is about 8 minutes 30 seconds[5]. If someone pulls a knife on you, and you have no option for self defense, then you are screwed.

2A. Guns, unlike cops, can provide you with constant protection.

If you have a gun, you are protected. However, if you rely on cops, you're looking at about 8 minutes, 30 seconds, for protection IF someone manages to get off a 911.

Conclusion

Gun control leads to more crime, and there is a lot of evidence to back it up. Many events like the Tucson shooting could have been stopped by background checks, but those kind of laws should be common sense.

Sources

[1] http://www.justfacts.com...
[2] http://www.gun-control-network.org...
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
[4] http://www.mtsusidelines.com...
[5] http://www.washingtontimes.com...[6] http://www.roanoke.com...
[7] http://www.wnd.com...

Thank you to whoever accepts my debate, and good luck.
Cliff.Stamp

Con

Seraine has put forth an important and hotly contested debate topic. Gun rights and gun control laws have been and likely will continue to be a significant topic of contention. There are few topics, aside from Religion, which tend to generate as much passion and conflict as gun ownership laws, and this is well exemplified by former NRA president Charlton Heston who was fond of noting that they would take his guns from his "[...] cold dead hands"[1].

Seraine's argument is based on two main contentions :

1) Guns deter criminals
2) Guns provide constant protection

The first contention is supported by reasoning and inference and then a mass listing of various statistics which are intended to support the premise that more guns tend to produce less crime. Now before I deal with some of the reasoning I will interject a blurb about statistics and how they are among the most difficult of evidences to use to properly support an argument and how they are among the easiest to cause confusion and misinformation. To note a common phrase there are "Lies, damned lies, and statistics."

A) Statistics

1) Correlation does not imply causation

Seraine bolsters much of his case with statistics which seem to imply that changes in gun control produce a direct and negative effect on crime, i.e., gun control is a bad thing. He notes that there are changes between gun laws and crime which happen at the same time, this relation between two variables is called correlation[2]. He then implies that this means there is a causal effect between the two, i.e., one of them causes the other to chance. However, it is critical to note is that correlation does not imply causation. To put it plainly, you can not infer that the change in one thing caused the change in the other thing simply because they happened at the same time, in this case changes in gun control laws/ownership and the rate or amount of crimes.

While this may seem counter intuitive, again, all Seraine is noting is that there are changes that happen at the same time (correlation) it is a statistical fallacy to jump from this to one is causing the other. The most famous example which is used constantly to refute and make light of this statistical fallacy is the Pirates vs Global Warming graph. This graph shows clearly that the rise in global temperatures has happened at the same time as large decrease in Pirate population[3]. And what is even more striking is that year after year every single increase in temperature is accompanied by a direct decrease in Pirate population! Now it is obvious that these two things are not related at all (unless you are geo) and that lack of Pirates is not causing Global warming. But if you simply jump from correlation to causation that is what the statistics would imply.

The point is that simply because two things change at the same time does not mean one caused the other.

Statistical inference is an extremely complicated mathematical methodology and is in general extremely unreliable unless it can be established that

(a) there exists a connection between the two things, i.e., one can cause the other, and

(b) (this is the critical part) that nothing else is changing at the same time.

To show just how complicated this is to do properly and reach definite conclusions, consider the recent report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which concludes that intake of saturated fats prevents coronary heart disease[4]! This is the complete opposite conclusion of every single other study in the last 50 years. Take even a brief scan though the linked article and it becomes apparent just how difficult it is to take a change in one variable and conclude that it is actually causing a change in another variable in general.

2) It is trivial to produce statistics that reverse any conclusion

As just one example, simply consider that the number of firearm deaths per population is less than a third in Canada than it is in the US[5] and Canada has much more strict gun control laws[6]. Now from this statistic can it be concluded that if the US adopted Canada's gun laws then the number of gun deaths would drop to less than 30% of what they are now? No, because as noted in the above correlation does not imply causation.

3) Cherry picking, cherry picking and more cherry picking

While Seraine gives massive amounts of numbers they are very carefully chosen. Consider for example

"In London, which has gun control, you are 6 times more likely to mugged than in New York City. ".

Ok, fine but what about other cites in the UK vs other cities in the US? Does anyone really not believe that I can find another pair of cities which will reverse this conclusion - of course this is possible and thus those types of comparisons are pure cherry picking, i.e., they are fallacious.

This is another famous cause of statistical aberration and is commonly known as the observer bias where a conclusion once reached causes data to be interpreted to support the conclusion as patterns are seen simply by selecting specific data which support that conclusion. The complete opposite statistical overload can be seen on sites which advocate gun control where they list mass cases of violence and incidents and statistics which support gun control laws[7]

B) Argument Commentary

But let us now return to the main bulk of the argument and deal with some of the reasoning and conclusions. Consider the argument for example that criminals commit crimes anyway so gun laws only restrict the innocent. This seems logical at first pass but it is a very narrow view of gun control laws. In general gun control laws have many purposes which include [8]:

1) deterring firearms use in criminal offences;
2) ensuring that firearms are not acquired by unqualified or dangerous persons;
3) permitting authorities to confiscate firearms from dangerous persons;
4) permitting authorities to withdraw dangerous firearms from private ownership;
5) permitting the regulation of commerce in, and the use, storage, transportation of firearms; and
6) assisting the police in investigating and preventing firearms crime.

Thus this trivial argument does not hold and gun control laws have many uses and ability to deter crimes.

Second, Seraine seems to be contradictory in several parts of his argument as he starts off with "And now that your average citizen can't obtain guns [...]" but later says "Americans use guns to frighten off intruders [...]. In any cause the main point of the argument which is "Without guns, there isn't much to protect people. "is simply false. There is a whole host of options which can be used to both prevent crime[9] and deal with crime when it happens[10] by simply lowering your risk of incident by altering your profile and increasing your tactical awareness.

Based on the evidence present I hope it is clear that

a) one can not use statistics to so trivially support a conclusion

b) gun control laws have many uses to prevent crime and catch criminals

c) there are lots of options that people can use to protect themselves, you are not helpless without a gun

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk...

[2] http://www.socialresearchmethods.net...

[3] http://www.loleegreen.com...

[4] http://www.ajcn.org...

[5] http://library.med.utah.edu...

[6] http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com...

[7] http://www.guncontrol.ca...

[8] http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com...

[9] http://www.ehow.com...

[10] http://www.tacticaladvantage.co.za...
Debate Round No. 1
seraine

Pro

First off, I am sorry for my mass listing of statistics, but they do help my point in a way, which I will elaborate on later. Instead of blurbing out statistics, I will largely focus on points 1Aa, as well as my opponent's contentions in this round.

A1) While some statistics may not be directly impacted by gun control laws (or the lack thereof), and it may be impossible to truly know whether or not gun control laws cause spikes or drops in crime rates, they do go to show the general trend. After all, in most countries with gun control, there is more overall crime rate than in countries without gun control.

However, there is one major point that you did not address. It is point 1Aa. Americans using guns for good. This statistic really goes to show the effectiveness of gun rights. 11,000 people are killed with guns a year, while 162,000 households think someone would have died without a gun. That means that even if 140,000 households were wrong, there would be DOUBLE the lives saved by guns than killed by guns.

This alone should be enough to implement right to carry laws and significantly reduce gun control. If gun rights save 150,000 more lives than deaths they cause, or save approximately 15 times more people than they kill, then gun rights seem like the obvious choice. There is no real reason to implement gun control laws when faced with this fact.

A2) Let's continue with my opponent's example. Canada has double the crime rate of the US[1]! This just goes to prove my point. Yes, there is more gun crime, but the crime rate is lower overall. However, this point doesn't even matter much when faced with contention 1Aa, and my opponent would probably refer me to his correlation-causation argument.

A3)Actually, the reason I chose London and NYC was because that was the only comparison of Britain and America I could find. If I could have found a overall comparison of Britain and America, I would have used that. However, I now have a better comparison of Canada and America.

As for sites with bias, all of my facts came off a site known as justfacts.com, which is hardly a biased site. I cannot really reply to statistical overload except with my argument 1Aa.

B1) I will concede that gun control does have some effect on criminal ownership, but it saves so many lives that it makes it worth it. Not only that, with gun control, it is now some hardened criminal with a knife versus say... your grandma. Your grandma would have a much better chance with a gun than without.

As for points 2,3, and parts of 4,5 and 6, part of my opening argument in 1Ae. was that some gun control laws should be common sense, and that citizens should have access to firearms.

B2) The "and now that your average citizen can't obtain guns" was talking about a hypothetical example of what would happen if gun control laws were implemented. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough.

Your second point says that there is other self defense options. While I will concede that they can be effective, the links talk about putting up lights to deter crime and taking self defense and rape prevention classes. If you suddenly meet with a hardened criminal, it won't matter how many karate classes you took or how many lights you put up, as they won't exactly save your life like the round the clock protection of a handgun.

Could being a karate expert or surrounding your house with light really have the same chance of saving you as something that can instantly deter a criminal if you brandish it or they think you have it? After all, 34% of criminals had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim" and 40% didn't commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun".

I'm sure the numbers of criminals deterred by light fixtures or karate wouldn't be anywhere near that of guns.

a) Yes, but there is no real way you can disprove argument 1Aa. There is 11,000 people killed by guns a year in the US., and in a survey 162,000 households believed someone would have died if there wasn't a gun. There is no claims that one causes the other. All there is in that statement is two hard facts.

b) But can gun control ever have the effect of something which can give any citizen something that instantly deters criminals? It can prevent some crime, but it mostly causes other crimes when criminals are no longer as scared of assaulting/killing/stealing from others.

c)You aren't helpless without a gun, but you are a lot more helpless without a gun than if you do have a gun. After all, if a hardened criminal confronts you, you'd much rather have gun than 20 years of karate under your belt.

Conclusion

Though some statistics may or may not support gun control, there is one statistic that cannot be refuted. Gun rights save 15 times more lives than it ends. Without gun rights, you are a lot more helpless than you would be with gun rights. Obviously, gun rights is the way to go.

Sources

[1] http://archive.newsmax.com...
Cliff.Stamp

Con

In this post I will extend the following three basic points raised in the first response :

a) one can not use statistics to so trivially support a conclusion
b) gun control laws have many uses to prevent crime and catch criminals
c) there are lots of options that people can use to protect themselves, you are not helpless without a gun

To start :

"Let's continue with my opponent's example. Canada has double the crime rate of the US[1]"

Now let us look at the data in more detail to try to understand the numbers.

"According to the Canadian Council on Social Development, "The overall crime rate in Canada rose steadily from 1960 to 1990, it peaked in 1990/91, then started dropping throughout the 1990s. These fluctuations are attributed in part to the "baby-boom" and "baby-boom echo", where the proportion of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 25 was very high for many years before it dropped sharply -- by 18% -- in 1991." [1]

Now if violent crimes are typically more common in the age group of 15 to 25 and suddenly that population percentage increases then one would directly expect a proportaional increase in violent crime. Further to this argument, it is also noted that in this youth age group the tendancy for violent crime is escalating. Looking at the actual behavioral development to find the cultural and social motivators results in a much more complicated and involved set of influencing factors than just a few trivial statistics. Consider :

"Family breakdown and poor parenting, poverty, violence in the home, the Internet, the decline of religion and morality, video games, the proliferation of guns, lenient laws and weak sentences, a lack of discipline in schools, and on and on.

And again, it is always trivial to find statistis to support an argument if you trivially pick a few numbers, do not engage in the required indepth analysis and cherry pick results, for example in regards to murders in Canada :

"[..] the use of rifles and shotguns is down by half -- from 40% to 20% -- over the past decade.

Alex Swann, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, said the positive pattern shows the federal gun registry is working."

Again, does that mean that the registry is the cause and we should increase gun control even more? Of course not, that is a trivial and surface analysis. Actual conclusions have to be supported by well documented statistical analysis and propery study and academic review. Consider the following extension of the above point on exposure to violence :

[...] experts agree our youth are "soaked" in violence from their earliest years in a society that embraces the use of aggression to solve problems.

"Kids are fed a steady diet of aggression in all forms of popular culture," says Dr. Fred Mathews, psychologist and director of research at Central Toronto Youth Services."

This conclusion is one which is well supported in the academic literature which shows that desensitization to violence is a real and measured effect :

"Regression analyses indicated that only exposure to video game violence was associated with (lower) empathy. Both video game and movie violence exposure were associated with stronger proviolence attitudes. " [2]

and in explicit detail :

"Numerous studies have shown that exposure to media violence increases aggression, though the mechanisms of this effect have remained elusive. One theory posits that repeated exposure to media violence desensitizes viewers to real world violence, increasing aggression by blunting aversive reactions to violence and removing normal inhibitions against aggression. Theoretically, violence desensitization should be reflected in the amplitude of the P300 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP), which has been associated with activation of the aversive motivational system. In the current study, violent images elicited reduced P300 amplitudes among violent, as compared to nonviolent video game players. Additionally, this reduced brain response predicted increased aggressive behavior in a later task. Moreover, these effects held after controlling for individual differences in trait aggressiveness. " [3]

Note direct exposure to violence in video grames produced aggressive bahavior in unrelated tasks and the very critical sentance " Moreover, these effects held after controlling for individual differences in trait aggressiveness.". This is how you move from correlation to causation by making sure that what is changing is actually causing the effect being studied. This conclusion is supported by a host of other studies.[4,5]

"Americans using guns for good."

Again it is trivial to respond to this with an entire pile of statistics such as how many people are killed each year due to accidental shootings, how many crimes are escalated to the point which are impossible without guns such as the extremely well known school shootings, etc. . Considering this similar argument :


"[...] while 162,000 households think someone would have died without a gun.


This alone should be enough to implement right to carry laws and significantly reduce gun control."

Even as a trivial first response, how valid is it to argue what would happened and to alter laws simply because of what people "think would happen"? Does this consider all effects of higher rates of ownership, does it approach the problem with even a hint of the detail which is noted in the above academic studies. No, no and no. It is just conjecture and this can not be used to change laws especially when they are regarding such significant penalties.

"If you suddenly meet with a hardened criminal, it won't matter how many karate classes you took or how many lights you put up, as they won't exactly save your life like the round the clock protection of a handgun."

Again, this is a trivial and surface analysis which takes one and only one factor into account and applies that to one scenario and then attempts to generalize this to society as a whole. This topic of reducing violence and giving people tools to prevent and deal with violence is researched extensively in the literature through many programs which are both societal and direct in nature. It is not overly productive to simply give one example and imply that the 80 year old arthritic Mrs. Daisy is suddenly Dirty Harry breaking out the 44 Magnum and asking the mugger does he feel lucky.

Actual research into preventing and dealing with violent crime is much more involved and requires actual academic research. Every aspect of violent crime has such studies and they consistently show results of how the groups in question can have strong and consistent reduction in violent crime by altering their tactical awareness and improving the societal and cultural responses. Examples of these are the "Bringing in the Bystander In-Person Program "[7,8] and the "Green Dot" program [9]

Again, consider :

"Without gun rights, you are a lot more helpless than you would be with gun rights. Obviously, gun rights is the way to go."

This is yet another example of a statistics blurb, cherry picked with no indepth analysis and I would reaffirm the main contentions :

a) one can not use statistics to so trivially support a conclusion
b) gun control laws have many uses to prevent crime and catch criminals
c) there are lots of options that people can use to protect themselves, you are not helpless without a gun



[1] http://www.thefreeradical.ca...

[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com...

[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com...

[4] http://www.sciencedirect.com...

[5] http://psycnet.apa.org...

[6] http://vaw.sagepub.com...

[7] http://vaw.sagepub.com...

[8] http://vaw.sagepub.com...

[9] http://vaw.sagepub.com...

Debate Round No. 2
seraine

Pro

A) Canada and US comparison and analysis.

As I said at the beginning, that they only go to show the general trend. I am not exactly sure about why you devoted 4,000 or so characters to an argument I don't even really care about. In fact, it makes up over 50% of your argument. The saying "much ado about nothing" comes to mind.

However, I will try my best to partially refute it. On your first link, it says that "Serious assaults, as illustrated in the chart below, have gone up steadily since 1983" and that data started to be collected in 1983. Canada put gun control into effect in 1977[1]. Who are we to say that it is the prevalence of youth, and not gun control, which caused this spike in crime? In fact, on your source it says "Despite decreases in both the proportion of teens aged 15 to 19 and crime rates in the 1990s, overall rates of violent crime are still three times higher than they were in the 1960s".

"Family breakdown and poor parenting, poverty, violence in the home, the Internet, the decline of religion and morality, video games, the proliferation of guns, lenient laws and weak sentences, a lack of discipline in schools, and on and on" were theories, just like I have a theory that gun control causes deaths (the main difference is that mine is based in facts that can't be refuted). To quote from your source,in the line before "The theories could fill a newspaper."

You could refute most, if not all, of those arguments with your correlation-causation argument. Video games causing crime? Yes, they may lead youths to be slightly more aggressive, but that doesn't translate to violence. There is nothing to show that it directly causes more deaths, just a correlation argument. That argument is a lot different from mine, because mine is directly proven that it causes more deaths. There is no correlation-causation weakness.

This does not mean that I am saying that gun control is the only reason for Canada's crime. I am just showing that gun control is one of the most easily proven, and one of the worst.

B) "Gun Control saves 15x more lives than it ends" arguments.

Now to the addressing of my main point. You say that it shouldn't be considered because
it's what people "think would happen". But consider this. Even if 85% of the people were wrong, there would be over double the lives saved than ended. Obviously, some of them will be wrong. However, can you just refute an argument by claiming it's what people "think would happen".

Even if 7 or so out of 8 households were wrong, there would be double the lives saved than ended. Can you seriously think that 7 out 8 households were wrong? "What would have happened" isn't exactly an exact science, but it isn't 85% wrong.

In your first link, "Family breakdown and poor parenting, poverty, violence in the home, the Internet, the decline of religion and morality, video games, the proliferation of guns, lenient laws and weak sentences, a lack of discipline in schools, and on and on" were theories.

Aren't theories another form of "what would of happened", but they are instead "why did this happen"? They are both predicting with available information, just that one deals with the past and the other the present.

It is not a good way to refute an argument by just saying it's what they "think would happen" and brushing it aside. It may be the only way, but it is not a good way.

C)Other options to prevent crime arguments.

C1) Effectiveness of guns to deter crime.

I will start this off with a statistical blurb. "In 2002, some 90 percent of the time when people used guns defensively, they stopped the criminals simply by brandishing the gun."[2]. This is mainly so I can refer back to this in later arguments.

Sure, she may not appear to be threatening. But here is the critical part- she has a gun. There is almost nothing short of hiring bodyguards she can do to appear threatening. After all, she's a grandma.

But it's a freaking gun, of course it's threatening! She may not appear to be a gunslinger, but you can be sure that over 90% of criminals would not even THINK of robbing her if they knew she had a gun. There is so much that can go wrong robbing someone with a gun that it is almost never worth it. After all, "34% of criminals had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim" and 40% didn't commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun". If including just the numbers of criminals who had known a victim was carrying a gun, the numbers would likely be much higher.

Why, you ask? Because the gun has a certain threat to it. It has so much power, that almost all people fear it.

C2) Effectiveness of other options and arguments.

Yes, other options than guns can be used to prevent crime. However, I think that none could be as effective as a handgun. Even if some were more effective than a handgun, why should we stop the use of guns when they have been proven to be effective at preventing crime. 162,000 households think that guns have saved a life, and that number doesn't even include other types of crime.

Refuting Conclusion)

Saying that "Without gun rights, you are a lot more helpless than you would be with gun rights. Obviously, gun rights is the way to go." is a statistic blurb without in depth analysis is partially right because it doesn't require in depth analysis. All there is is two hard, solid facts. You can try to say that the facts are wrong, but the fact is over 95% of households would have to be wrong (to equal the deaths caused by guns) for you to be right.

It is NOT saying that without guns you are helpless. Rather, it is saying that you would be a lot more helpless without a gun than with.

The reason it isn't a statistical blurb is that it is a statement supported by a statistic, not just a statistic standing alone.

Conclusion

To conclude, gun control is wrong because gun rights save 15x more lives than it ends. Therefore, gun control causes deaths. My opponent tried to refute it with the ineffectual argument of "think would happen" doesn't count, which I have refuted. Not only that, guns are a very effective option to reduce crime. Even if there is other options, why should we deny citizens a effective method of self defense when it has been proven to save lives?

Sources

[1] http://www.davekopel.com...
[2] http://www.foxnews.com...
Cliff.Stamp

Con

Again I will respond in general to some of the points raised by Seraine and end with a summary and conclusion.

"You could refute most, if not all, of those arguments with your correlation-causation argument."


No, and here is the difference. The conclusions that are reached in the above argument that I gave are extensively researched in the literature, samples of which were referenced. These conclusions were specifically used as examples to show that there was not only correlation but causation and the methods that are required to move from one to the other and support a conclusion of causation. Note the examples consistently used referenced published academic research papers, all of which are peer reviewed and extensively cited and supported by a host of mathematical analysis, social theory and direct conformational experimentation. This is the science involved in how you can moving from correlation to causation and it is missing in all the statistical blurbs that Seraine has quoted which are simply "headlines" picked for maximum impact.

"Gun Control saves 15x more lives than it ends"

Seraine hammers home this statistic again and again and makes it the entire linchpin of his argument in his conclusion. However it actually paints a very misleading picture of the nature of gun crimes and in general gun violence. To attempt to clarify and show a more complete picture which this statistic severely distorts, let us take a look at these numbers in more detail and explore the source and possible other attributes and influences.

Note to start that this "15x" blurb is obtained by comparing the rate of homicides that involve guns to a number of reported incidents where people claim to have prevented crime by brandishing a gun. Please consider carefully exactly what is being compared here, it bears repeating this is :

(homicides with guns) vs (reports of "I think I prevented a crime/stopped criminal violence by brandishing a gun")


This leads to the very eye catching "15x" statistic which appears on the surface to make a powerful argument. However what happens if instead you compare all gun related serious crime including robbery and assault instead of just homicides? Well if you do that then the statistic reverses and you have guns being involved in more than twice the amount of serious crimes as even the most vague report of what they are being claimed to prevent.

Further to this consider the effect that guns have on the result of a crime, i.e., how do guns influence the nature of crimes when they are involved.

Even a casual investigation into this viewpoint brings up many problems for example that robberies committed with guns are three times as likely to result in fatalities as compared with robberies without guns[2]. The same general pattern is seen in other disputes such as family violence where gun ownership raises the frequency of severe end results of disputes among family members.

What does this mean and what general inferences can be reached? Consider the opinion of criminologists such as Philip J. Cook who argue that if guns were less available then criminals would commit the crime with less-lethal weapons.[3]

Now again, the point here is not to cite a few statistics and then claim a conclusion to get rid of all guns, if I did that I would be just as guilty of the criticism that I am leveling at Seraine. My entire point is unchanged and remains the same argument that I have maintained from the very start. Very simply it is to note that

1) There is no way that Seraine can maintain the burden of proof through statistic blurbs which have no significant causation analysis performed at all.

2) It is trivial to find similar statistics which would imply the opposite conclusion and I have done that several times in the above.

3) Real academic statistical research which has been cited several times in the above shows the issue is very complex and conclusions drawn from simple rations do nothing but distort the problem.


"To conclude, gun control is wrong because gun rights save 15x more lives than it ends. Therefore, gun control causes deaths."

Note in the end Seraine hangs his entire argument on this one statistic which has been shown in the above through even the most trivial of research to be extremely misleading. The actual reality which has been revealed through a very simple surface analysis is that this statistic is a cherry picked, unfair and meaningless comparison and that a level comparison will show that guns are used in serious crimes such as murders, assault and robbery more than twice as much as the vague claims they were used to prevent a crime.

Thus if one is going to compare frequencies and involvement then the reality is that at best, even by using vague reports of possible crimes which may have been prevented, guns prevent half as much crime as they are involved in, not 15:1 the other way around. This is just one of the many examples of severely distorted statistics and again why I would repeat the common phrase : "There are lies, damn lies and statistics".

To recap and summarize, there is no way that Seraine can have succeeded in carrying the burden of proof for two main reasons :

1) He has made his entire argument hang on statistics which have been shown on multiple occasions to be extremely misleading. This has been argued in depth by showing that the statistics quoted are giving a partial, distorted picture and they do not have any where close to the level of rigor which is required from proper statistical analysis to support a conclusion of causation.

2) His resolution is also extremely vague and was never fully clarified, even when it was noted that he was appearing to be contradictory. What exactly is Pro for and what is it that he opposes specifically in gun control laws. Is it to remove all gun control laws? Is it to stop any further gun control laws? Note that he starts off by attacking all gun laws with the trivial argument that criminals ignore the law anyway but then when a list of six reasons for gun laws is cited he concedes that he is not against all gun control laws.



[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk...

[2] Cook, Philip J. (1987). "Robbery Violence". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 70 (2). NCJ 108118.

[3] Cook, Philip J., Jens Ludwig (2000). "Chapter 3". Gun Violence: The Real Costs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513793-0.

Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Seraine, just like to note I enjoyed the debate and it is nice to see a new member put up quality topics for discussion.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
Yes, but there is still less crime overall. After all, guns rights saves 15x more lives than it ends.
Posted by Priceless29 5 years ago
Priceless29
It would be much more difficult for a criminal to buy weapons illegally than legally. Criminals who have those types of connections/desire to obtain said weapon are going to commit crimes no matter if the victim is armed or not.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
Yes, but guns also lower the crime rate and protect citizens. Why should we deny citizens a effective self-defense method when it has been proven to lower crime?
Posted by thigner 5 years ago
thigner
I'm against to make citizens have a gun legally.
But how could the u.s government romove all weapons in nation wide.
I mean there would be many legally purchased weapons.
But there would be more more more illegally bought weapons to the bad guys.
And the criminal rates would escalate cuz the thief knows that the owner of that house doensn't have gun now.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
Yes... I think I've learned. But now I think I'm in a pretty good position.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
I live in Canada, am a gun owner and do not support many of the gun controls laws we have. However this point of this debate is mainly to show first that you can not form a conclusion so trivially from statistics as statistical inference is extremely complicated as the examples I have shown should indicate, and even when done properly is still prone to error.

Second tactical awareness and to a lesser extent self-defense training is far more beneficial to preventing crime than ownership. I spent two years in India, including a period in Lankha when it was in civil war and kidnapping of `whites` was a high risk. I was in little to no danger while I was there because I ensured that my exposure was extremely low.

And of course this is a debate site, the purpose is not to soap box it is to explore issues.

Tim, I hope you get picked shortly in the ELO debate I am really looking forward to debating you hopefully on one of the issues you sent in.
Posted by Merda 5 years ago
Merda
Props to Cliff for taking this debate.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Good arguments on both sides, seraine and Cliff.Stamp.
Posted by ilovedebate 5 years ago
ilovedebate
wow the list of citations is intimidating
good luck to the challenger
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
seraineCliff.StampTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither participant wins most convincing argument because a clear resolution was never established. Con did not make a case of his own, he just refuted Pros points. Pro never clarified what his overall message was. In the end Con displayed a strong ability to refute Pros statements.
Vote Placed by Dmetal 5 years ago
Dmetal
seraineCliff.StampTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro never got it. He kept hammering away at broad, flat stats.