First of all I would like to thank my opponent for this opportunity.
In this Debate I will take the Pro side, meaning that I will argue that it is a right to own and possess firearms.
I will take this into more of a 'free system' (Democracy?) side, as I believe that this should be the main focus of the debate, as most 1st world countries, about which undoubtedly this Debate is, have this kind of system implemented.
The civil ownership of firearms has had plenty of recent Debate, following mass shootings and thus posing the question why civilians want or need firearms at all. The Pro side will show that it is (and should be in the cases where it is not) a given right to possess firearms in Democratic, 'free' countries.
First of all the focus should be on the reason why the US, the country with the highest number of firearms per capita, followed more or less closely by some European countries, even has its Second Amendment and why it is that important to have these kind of 'rights' in a civil, democratic society/country.
The Second Amendment, implemented in the United States Constitution, adopted in 1791, based on the English counterpart of a 'bear in arms', described by Sir William Blackstone, an English Justice of the Court, as "auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.". In this Debate Pro will more or less disregard the act of personal Self-Defence and focus more on the pressing matter of the issue, the resistance to oppression and the civic duty to act in concert in defence of the state.
Lets focus on the why, why was the 'Right to bear Arms' created in the first place? Prior to the implementation, as anyone even remotely familiar with history should know, the US emerged victorious over their former British Ruler(s), being a colony under the Rule of King George III and having beaten the British in the US War of Independence.
To swift away from the above a bit, the Second Amendment was not made for Hunting rights. Firearms were a vital part of life in the late 1700 as Hunting was for many the only way to provide food. Nor was it made for (Personal) Self Defence, as individuals would have simply defended themselves, besides, a muzzle-loader is no where near an ideal self defence weapon. They were mostly used as a club after their 1 shot was fired.
The reason is, as already stated above, as well as valued by early English Settlers under the English Right to bear Arms, deterring tyrannical government, repelling invasion and some more. In fact, the English did try and did take firearms from citizens of the later established US, especially as to undermine the possible presence of 'Minutemen', privately organised colonists who independently formed militias and fought the British with some success, especially due to their more or less 'Guerrilla tactics' style warfare.
The interference into the 'Right to bear Arms' would have had a grad impact on the US War of Independence. Thus the Second Amendment was created, as to protect the civil right to keep in bear Arms regarding fight against oppression by Government or Rule. The founding Fathers had 8 years of war behind them, against an oppressive enemy who, as to means of tactical warfare advantage aimed to disarm the population to, effectively, get them under control. They did not want this to occur again, thus the second Amendment being in place for the population to defend themselves against oppressive rule.
While there is a defensive bonus, in the case of invasion, if the population is armed, just as in the case of Switzerland, which has mandatory military service and afterwards has the individuals take their service rifle with them (no ammunition though, however, individuals can purchase ammunition privately) and thus has a well standing, trained militia with a (home) access to weapons and one of the greatest weapons per capita number, this is not what Pro is trying to point at. The prospect of 'a rifle pointing out of every bush' was a big deterrent for Japanese invasion of the US mainland in WW2, however, this prospect is more a secondary effect of the 'Right to bear Arms'.
The main prospect is that, in a free country, a democracy is mostly applied. We, the people put Government into power. However, what is the people's prospect of removing the Government in the case of oppression? If many can put a few into power, why can they not remove them? Military would be on the Government's side, so is the Police. Who do the Citizens have? They cannot, effectively, protect themselves against unjust rule if they do not have (free) access to 'equalizers' in the form of firearms against potential unjust rule, whether this is the case, a possibility or not. These things should be had before and not dearly missed after.
These are the main issues that are to be dealt with in the Debate about the 'Right to bear Arms', and the main reason that I am for it.
Government is put in place by the People, they should be able to remove them. Thus Government is supposed to be scared of the People, not the other way around. This should always be the case in a 'true' Democracy, in a 'true' free country. This makes owning a firearm, or in fact any other weapon that will make the public equal to a potential adversary in the form of their own Rule, morally just and desirable.
As it states in the Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 1:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
If someone takes these Rights away, the Right to bear Arms should be in place to stop this.
Once again, Thanks to Con, I am looking forward to your arguments.
Thank you WAM for accepting and good luck!
Kind Regard for Pros effort on their Argument
As for Pros question of the 'Natural Right' to bear arms, Pro may be correct that this means that this right cannot be given/granted by Government, then however quotes that Natural Rights include 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'. These are 'rights' that can be taken by Government, however, them being a Natural Right would imply that anyone oppressing them would and could be met with force. This indirectly implies a use of firearms, as they are the predominant weapons of this era. Thus this would mean that bearing arms would be a natural right within a free society.
2 Bear Arms:
The 'Bear Arms' part of the constitution is, I admit, quite vague. However, this was done on purpose. It was not meant to be defined to a specific type of weapon, but to be all weapons. This is quite logical. Technological improvement is ever imminent. As was the case in 1790 as is the case today. Restricting the 'Bear Arms' part of the constitution to any other weapon than the 'State of the Art' Weapon that the adversary, in this assumption being the Government, bears, there would be no reason to include the Second Amendment in the Constitution at all. Imagine if the US would have won against the British in the US Revolution bearing Swords or Clubs? No, they would have lost. And this was exactly the idea behind the second Amendment. Being equal to the Government. This in conclusion means that the citizen should be able to 'bear' the same weapons as the Government does, or any other 'Arms'. This may, financially, not be practical, however, I will come to that point later.
3 Deterring tyrannical government/repelling invasion:
Pro seemingly does not have a lot of knowledge about modern warfare, nor the effectiveness of the 'standard' 'bear in arms' weaponry, which mostly would be the equivalent of a basic infantry soldier.
According to Pros logic of the ' drones, bombs, missiles, jets, helicopters, satellites' the US should have won the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, Afghanistan and all the likes (insurgency war) as all the opponents do not possess any of the mentioned by Pro. However, this is not the case, and especially would not be in an 'oppressed vs. oppressor' war in a society that 'bears arms' against the Government. Conventional forces cannot win an unconventional war (unless they annihilate the opponent who in this case is their own population). This means that the 'civilian bearing arms' in this scenario has quite good chances to success.
Thus the concept of owning firearms to deter corrupt Government or occupation is not out-dated. What was the first thing the US did in Nazi Germany? Take the Guns. What did they do in Japan? Take the Guns (as well as many Samurai Swords and stuff like that). Same thing in the middle east. They took the Guns. So that the civilian population could not take up arms and fight the invader.
As for the public possessing weapons not being a deterrent for invasion. What an amazing fallacy. Switzerland gives all conscripts their weapon, for exactly that reason, the Japanese did not invade mainland US in WW2 for exactly that reason, even if only 10% of (lets take this as an example) US residents would take up arms in an invasion, that would be roughly 30 million. Around 15 times more than the US armed forces. Please explain to me again, how this is not a deterrent.
Though this Debate is not about Gun Control, nor do I want to make it into one, all of the above restricted citizens in one way or another to possess weapons. That had a reason. So they could not create an uprising. Just as another point, though I will not provide sources for this as it is not very relevant right now, the majority of genocide and mass killings are committed in countries in which the general population is not armed. On the other hand (the US is the only country in which this doesn't apply) all country's with high firearm rates have low firearm homicide/overall homicide rates. Thus it seems logical to me that firearm rights should be established and held.
If liberty and freedom are, as Pro suggested, natural rights, then possessing weapons is a natural right as well, as liberty and freedom, under current (or possibly for ever) world circumstances do not exist without weapons, which in the contemporary are firearms.
The overthrow of Government by 'Gun wielding citizens' is very much possible and in my opinion will be possible for a long time to come, if not for ever, no matter if the citizens are armed or not. However, citizens possessing arms would very much help the process and may prevent the worst from happening.
Thus firearms are a 'natural right' for humans in pursue of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and as this should/would comprise all humans, this extends this 'natural right' to everyone.
Kind Regards, I am looking forward to your Rebuttals.
Thanks for your arguments WAM.
3 Deterring tyrannical government/repelling invasion:
Con argues that because the U.S. did not “win” the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, Afghanistan etc that this negate my argument that your rifle does not stand a chance against a modern government like the U.S.
This is a bit cherry picked, though an interesting argument. It is worth noting that Pro claimed in his opening round that we are referring to 1st world countries. All of his examples are outside of this scope and only reference 3rd world countries. I maintain that no first world government if corrupt could be overthrown by gun wielding militias as the Government has far superior resources. The concept that owning a firearm will deter invasion or corrupt (1st world) government is outdated. It is no longer a valid reason to support the owning of guns.
Gun ownership is clearly not a natural right. The second amendment is so vauge as to not clearly apply to guns specifically. The concept that owning a firearm will deter invasion or corrupt (1st world) government is outdated.
With that I turn things back to pro.
As stated by the Debate outline this will be my final round, thus I will add my final conclusion, as well as my final rebuttals.
Kind regards to my opponent for this debate.
To argue the warrant of self defence, though this debate is not itself about self defence, I would like to refer to the first round and the quotation I used from the Declaration of Human Rights, something that my opponent cannot imply as a simple assertion, where Article 1 states that 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights', as well as Article 3 stating that 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person'. This warrants self defence being a natural right. Whether this self defence is realized through the use of firearms or not is, in reasonable conclusion, unimportant. This would mean that an oppressed individual could, ethically, use any means to defend themselves. If the adversary, the Government or any other individual can use these kind of means, why should a citizen not be able to? Who gives Government the power to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, be it 'enemies of the state' or any other individual?
Thus there is no need to provide any 'solid' link towards firearms, as this category is 'weapon open'. An individual could defend themselves against an oppressor with their bare hands, sticks, blades, or, as in this case, firearms.
As for Cons assumption that Pro has to 'prove that gun rights are not granted by the government and that we are born with this right to guns', the right to self defence, especially the right to self defence from oppression from Government negates this entirely.
Furthermore it comes to question Cons integrity towards the subject of possible and occurring Governmental or Occupational (as in the occupation of another country or area) oppression, as Con states that 'Governments can reasonable restrict “arms” that citizens may have and if so, why not guns'. Who is to say that Government can do this? Who is to say that an Occupational force can do this? Exactly this is the point I am trying to show, that Government cannot infringe these kind of things. If Government can 'reasonably' (whatever that may be) restrict citizens from arms, that they may take up if they are oppressed, then who is to say the same Government is not 'reasonably' restricting our Natural Rights to Freedom, Equality, Dignity, Rights, Life, Liberty and Security?
This is a huge issue, that Con is not addressing, and one of the most important factors as to why Firearms, Weapons or Self Defence itself is a Natural Right.
An oppressor should and can be met with equal force. Correct? I would say yes. Who would control an Government that is out of hand, committing genocide, Human Rights atrocities and War Crimes? While personally I am for Military Intervention (in certain cases), military intervention is often used as a last method. There have been conflicts going on for decades that have caused thousands of deaths in the civilian population of their countries, no intervention has been committed, nor does the Western World care about these conflicts, nor would many even know about these conflicts. Would a population at arms not have had a great impact on these issues? In fact, countries that have high numbers of firearms per capita, as already stated in Round 1 but not addressed by Con, have very low homicide rates committed with firearms. One should wonder why. This is while countries with firearms, primarily in the hands of their Government, have huge numbers of deaths committed with firearms. If this does not create a springing point towards the, as above established, Right of Self-Defence, through means of firearms, then I wonder what does.
Deterring tyrannical government/repelling invasion:
Con claims that the information provided is 'cherry picked', as we are indeed referring to '1st world countries' in this debate, this however does not conclude that information of other countries should be discouraged.
However, to the contrary of Cons assumption, 'All of his examples are outside of this scope and only reference 3rd world countries', Con is missing the most important point in these examples, the reason why exactly those were used. The adversary. The opponent to those '3rd world countries' were, '1st world countries', mainly the US. The US was 'beaten' by, as stated, 'gun wielding militias'. And this on a far distant battlefield. Does this not conclude, especially if taken into the sight of a civil war of 'Government/Oppressor vs. The People', that the above called 'gun wielding militias' could well and easily overthrow a 1st world Government?
To further this point, let me introduce this little scenario.
A base gets overrun in a far away country (Afghanistan). Oh well, we'll send some soldiers from home and get another one. No problem for us.
A base gets overrun in the home country (US). Oh, we just lost our weapons, vehicles, aircraft and whatever else. They can use it against crucial targets that will eliminate us. They are fighting us, not our soldiers 1000's of km away.
An invader cannot loose the invasion. They can merely fail at it. At home this is a different issue. They can loose everything very fast. And that's why it could happen.
In conclusion, all the above stated points, persuade that Firearms are a natural right. How can Government decide what we can and can't do, who is to tell if they are not in the wrong. How can we defend ourself from oppression? It cannot be done without arms. They will be involved sooner of later. Why not have them ready? For Life, Freedom, Liberty, Dignity, Equality, Rights.
Let us not forget History.
Liberte, egalite, fraternite. Vivre Libre ou Mourir
Give me liberty or give me death. Don't tread on me. No taxation without representation.
Wir sind das Volk.
We are born free. Lets keep it that way.
Kind Regards to Con for this Debate, as well as all Readers and Voters! Have a nice day!
Final Overview of Debate:
Thank you WAM for this debate. It has been thought provoking.
1: Natural Rights
I have mentioned that Pro’s contention for gun rights was hinged on the assertion that self-defense is a natural right and labeled it a bare assertion. The only warrant that he has provided for this is a quotation from the Declaration of Human Rights. Even if this appeal to authority satisfies voters there has not been a solid link presented between that supposed right and the right to defend yourself with a gun. As I pointed out last round this line of thinking that the right to defend yourself is natural and therefore you can use anything to defend yourself is ludicrous. Is it reasonable to defend myself with a bazooka? To defend myself, may I use an atomic weapon? Is that reasonable?
Pro confirms this thought process when he says “Whether this self-defense is realized through the use of firearms or not is, in reasonable conclusion, unimportant. This would mean that an oppressed individual could, ethically, use any means to defend themselves.”
He also says “Thus there is no need to provide any 'solid' link towards firearms”
Thus we see that pro’s argument is based on a bare assertion that does not have a solid link to the topic at hand. Thus his argument is ultimately unconvincing.
2: Bear Arms
Pro questions my claim, that governments can reasonable restrict arms, by asking “Who is to say that Government can do this?” As this is the last round and I cannot make new arguments I will refer you to Round 2 argument 2. Essentially I demonstrate that the government restricting citizens from owning some arms, like bombs, it would then follow that a government can reasonable restrict arms.
3: Deterring tyrannical government/repelling invasion
Much of pro’s argument here revolves around an occupying oppressive government. The examples that pro has given of this Again I would mention that this debate was limited to the scope of 1st world countries per pro’s statements. . I maintain that no first world government if corrupt could be overthrown by gun wielding militias as the Government has far superior resources. The concept that owning a firearm will deter invasion or corrupt (1st world) government is outdated. It is no longer a valid reason to support the owning of guns.
Thus we see that pro’s argument is based on a bare assertion that does not have a solid link to the topic at hand. Thus his argument is ultimately unconvincing. Gun ownership is clearly not a natural right. The second amendment is so vauge as to not clearly apply to guns specifically. The concept that owning a firearm will deter invasion or corrupt (1st world) government is outdated.
Thanks for reading, vote Con!
WAM forfeited this round.