The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
12 Points

Gun control in America

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 712 times Debate No: 55059
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)




I believe firmly in gun control. I believe exactly the following statement:

The government should legislate a ban upon all firearms including, but not limited to: handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and sub-machine guns.

I do believe there is a case for small caliber rifles being legal for recreational/hunting purposes, with the stipulation that they be stored in a public government building, and dispensed collected according to the nature of use. You would still own them, just turn them in when not in use. I acknowledge this is something that could be done on a state level, which is probably the only way any gun control law of that nature would ever get passed. With that exception, I believe gun control is a good and necessary thing for the bettering of our nation. I am not saying my proposal is the best without question, just that I think it would work and I think the logic behind it is pretty solid. I am certainly open to other ideas and opinions. Bottom line is this: I am against the right to own any gun with the possible exception of small caliber hunting rifles. If you disagree with gun control, please challenge me, I am interested in what you have to say.


Oh so misguided.

I firmly believe that banning of firearms by the general public is a terrible idea for many reasons from which I will choose some of the most obvious to make my case. I am, however, interested in hearing your side of the argument. I have followed this issue for a long time and so far I have seen no rational argument that can support your position. Perhaps this time will be different.

I will say this much in my opening statement. The right to bear arms in America, has absolutely nothing to do with hunting. Here is the actual text of the 2nd Amendment:

"Amendment II

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."

I defer to you to make your case.
Debate Round No. 1


I should first of all say two things about American legislature:
I don't believe rights are God given or self-evident. There is no part of me that says God has given me the right to own a gun, and that the government can't take that away.

BUT, there are a lot of people who take preserving the original bill of rights very seriously, particularly the second amendment.

However, people think that just because we have the right to bear arms means that the government can't regulate them. The gap in this logic is that every other right is already regulated with no protest. We have the freedom of religion, with the exception of if it would involve cannibalism, terrorism, or other perceived extremes. We have the freedom of speech, with the exception of if it would involve threatening the president. So why is it that people believe it's unconstitutional for guns to be subjected to the same type of regulation upon which is placed every other right? Also, when the founding fathers wrote the constitution, they had slow firing low powered muskets. This was their definition of an "armament". In today's day and age, weaponry is far more advanced and thus more capable of causing destruction and loss of life. You couldn't go on a school shooting with a musket. Following this thought, I believe that since what an armament is and what they can do has changed to dramatically, so should gun laws. Additionally, It could certainly be argued that the second amendment was targeted more towards the right to have a standing militia already in possession of weapons. The statement "the second amendment guarantees us the right to bear arms" isn't quite as cut an dry as you have been led to believe.


Regulation of firearms is not the same thing as banning them. This nation already has many regulations on firearms at the federal, state and local levels. You won't see people dragging howitzers around behind the family station wagon or parking an Apache Gunship in their driveway. There are regulations on everything from the types of weapons that people can poses, how and where those weapons can be used, specifications to how weapons can be manufactured, to the types of ammunition that is available. Certain types of activities such as 'concealed carry' require special permits. Background checks and waiting periods are enforced at the point of purchase. The list of regulations go on.

I am not against reasonable regulation of firearms, as long as such regulations are created and enforced within boundaries of the constitution and body of existing legal precedent, and with attention paid to the intent of the original bill of rights.

Modifying the 2nd amendment is a separate debate.

The issue you have stated for debate is:"The government should legislate a ban upon all firearms including, but not limited to: handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and sub-machine guns." This goes well beyond reasonable regulation. The only logical outcome of such a ban would be confiscation en masse which would directly infringe upon right guaranteed in the 2nd amendment.

Since you have not produced any evidence, or even reasons that you believe, that such a ban is worth of support, I will attack a couple of the more commonly used arguments employed by firearms ban supporters.

Claim #1 - Banning firearms will reduce violent crimes, namely murder.
My Response - There is no evidence for the preposterous claim that disarming ordinary, law abiding, citizens reduces the risk of violent crime. This study published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, details in 43 riveting pages the baselessness of this argument. You can read it here:

If this isn't enough for you, look at this case study from the National Center for Policy Analysis. It contrasts crime statistics for Australia directly following their ban on firearms and compares it to the crime statistics for the United States in the corresponding time period.

There are plenty more studies like these if you want to do a little more research.

Claim #2 " Banning all firearms will choke the supply of weapons and ammunition available to criminals. (This claim is related to the first one but separate.)
My Response " Well lets check in on Britain to see how hard it is to get a firearm illegally in there. After all it has been more than a decade since Parliament passed the firearms act of 1998. With its outright ban and draconian enforcement measures, surely the supply of illegally obtained weapons must be constrained to near exhaustion there.

Apparently not. The following article shows that the UK has, in fact, suffered a staggering 89% increase in gun related violence over the decade after it disarmed its citizens.

They must not be running out of bullets either.

I think I can rest my case against banning all firearms as proposed in your opening remarks. It can be clearly seen that such a measure is not only unwarranted, contrary to the good of the public, and harmful to society at large, but is also very dangerous and irresponsible.

If you want to attack the problem of violent crime you should go after its root causes, and not encumber the collective security if your neighbors.

Your comparison of 18th century firearms to modern firearms is irrelevant to this debate. On the other hand take a look at what Pizaro was able to do at Cajamarca with only 12 15th Century firearms against an unarmed Inca public.

More of a slaughter than a battle really, wouldn't you say? The point is that atrocity can happen when armed. bad people encounter unarmed populations, no matter how sophisticated or crude their firearms may be. I would wager that Pizaro would have thought twice if there were a few hundred javelin toting Inca Guards standing around.

I will await the 3rd round to see if you can put forward any relevant evidence to support a ban of firearms.
Debate Round No. 2


Again as I stated- having rifles which are dispensed from a controlled facility for the purposes of hunting still allows the right to bear arms to some degree. I will again restate my point that since guns have become much more efficient killing machines over the years, the 2nd amendment should adjust accordingly. Our founding fathers could not have possibly predicted what guns are like today. I have heard many times the argument gun laws only take guns out of the hands of honest gun owners, not criminals. Yes and no. Initially after more gun laws are passed, many criminals would still have firearms. The idea isn't to snap your fingers and do away with all illegal firearms, but to progressively weed them out over a period of time. Yes, many guns are brought in illegally. That problem is not by any stretch of imagination impossible to deal with. Your facts you cited, though I have no reason to believe they are false, are from a study attempting to prove gun control is ineffective. The problem with this is that if you want to, facts can be easily cherry picked to "prove" either side.
Since gun control on a federal level hasn't ever been taken up seriously , I am not sure there is any statistical evidence that when looked at from an unbiased standpoint that suggests with conviction gun control in general does or doesn't work. To prove my point, here are some bias statistics that would suggest gun control does work:

Now, here are the some statistics presented from a non bias source:

See what I mean. You can stack the facts to promote either side, but when looked at comprehensively, there is no solid statistical evidence either strongly suggesting is better. The determining factor is the amount of original crime before the laws were implemented, and more importantly, how you execute the laws. Gun control has failed in some countries not because it is a bad idea, but because authorities simply lack the strength to enforce it. If gun control is done correctly, and the government exerts an effort to remove illegal guns from the streets, along with a crackdown on illegal gun imports, it would be reduce the amount of violent crimes. Despite the lack of strong statistical evidence for either side, there is a solid and logical argument that gun control in the US would be a positive thing.

If an armed robber enters a house, and sees that the owner is there with a gun, he will be more likely to kill in perceived self-defense. The owner of the house will also be more likely to kill in perceived self defense if the robber is armed. The rate of deadly crimes of passion, when guns are removed from the equation, will also decrease. It's much easier to act on emotion or impulse when a gun is easily available. Also, guns can and do fall into the hands of children, and many fewer guns means many fewer occurrences of firearms falling into the wrong hands, including those of children's.

It is my opinion and the opinion of many defense of material objects is not justified by the taking of life if there are other ways to obtain justice, such as through a court system and police. Additionally, if it was proven sufficiently that gun control didn't reduce violent crime or deaths from it, then why is it so many areas plagued with violent crime are screaming for gun control?

Although I don't pull out this argument frequently myself, gun control would also reduce school shootings and potentially prevent terrorists from stockpiling weapons. "Why don't we just do background checks instead?", you might ask. To which my response is that background checks are not successful in preventing aforesaid people (terrorists and potential shooters with a mental disability) from obtaining a gun. Additionally, the same people who advocate the success of background checks are the same people who riddle them with loopholes making it easy to stockpile weapons. As long as there are weapons out there, criminals will get their hands on them. Thus, the idea is to have the smallest amount of weapons possible. Many people would counter this with the idea that "criminals will be intimidated if they know citizens are statistically well armed and that there is a good chance the owner of the house they are robbing is in possession of a firearm." While this seems like a logical statement, facts suggest this is not true. There are nations with very low gun ownership rates that have crime rates lower than nations with high gun ownership rates.

Ultimately, my point is that gun laws can and will work in reducing homicide rates and crimes of passion if you combine them with an earnest effort to stop illegal gun imports. The reason gun control has done nothing in Europe, where much of the gun rights people get their data, is that trade is very difficult to regulate and one can transport guns through borders with relative ease if one so desired. We do not face this problem nearly as severely. Canada already has strict gun control laws, so we would receive little or no illegal guns from them. The main effort would be to stop shipments of guns from Mexico, which with a combined effort of strengthening of the border patrol (which we arguably need anyway), and patrol from the Coast Guard, is entirely doable.

Another argument is "Guns are part of America's history, it's wrong to take them away." My response to this is simple, just because something is part of our history or an element of American culture, this tells us nothing about whether said thing is good or not. For a long time, racism was part of American culture. Therefore, is it a malicious infringement of American culture to make it illegal to deny someone employment because of their skin color? Of course not. Just because something is a part of America's past doesn't mean we must or should embrace that thing in the future.


I do not believe that it is fair or accurate to say the the Harvard School of Law and Public policy is biased against anti-gun legislation. Harvard is probably one of the top 3 most trusted academic sources in our nation if not the world. The NCPA is also respected as a repository of information and not normally associated with a known bias.

That being said, I will say that the hard statistical data for this subject is complex and rather incomplete. It is my opinion that most of the quantitative analysis that has been done on gun ownership versus crime is too narrowly focused and therefore subject to validity problems. For example it rarely takes into account the effects of culture upon the statistics, or the prevalence of mind altering substances, both the black market kind as well as pharmaceuticals. I think that we can agree that quantitative analysis is not sufficient, in and of itself, to make a definitive policy statement. It requires a good deal of qualitative analysis to back it up and give it context.

In coming to my decision to support individual gun ownership rights, I have tried to look into the qualitative data that is available. The two nations who I chose as examples for my case, Australia and Great Britain, were selected because out of all nations who have enforced strict firearms restrictions, to the point of banning individual ownership for most citizens, they are most like the United States in their culture, traditions, and legal/political structure. Have the strict controls in those two countries led to more security for its citizens against crime? I think the evidence that does exist points pretty far toward 'no' as I have cited above. Another interesting point that we have not touched on yet, but is equally important from a qualitative and contextual point of view, is the security of individual freedom post gun ban? Since disarmament, have those states tended to become more or less authoritarian? I think the legislative and judicial records speak for themselves and show that the loss of liberty and increase in public repression have accelerated in those countries in the wake of banning private ownership of firearms.

I did also look at Canada, which you cited as an example with your first article as an example of successful firearms controls, and determined that their restrictions were not comprehensive enough to qualify as a gun ban. Actually, Canada's gun control laws have not been that bad so far. Out of 150+ countries where data is available Canada still ranks as number 12 with regards to private citizen gun ownership.

I also looked at the historical/anthropological view of citizen weapons bans. This is where it gets really interesting. Take crime, and crime prevention, completely out of the equation, and what does that leave you? A history of pathological regimes disarming targeted citizen groups before enslaving them, killing them, or in other ways repressing them. The logic for this is clear enough, and this brings us back to the intent of the 2nd Amendment. If you remember your history, you will know that one of the key issues that escalated tensions between England and the 13 American Colonies and directly lead to revolution was the 1774 ban on importation of firearms and powder. This attempt at repression was thwarted only after a bloody conflict, and its direct result was the codifying and enshrining of the right to keep and bear arms for the security of the nation in the 2nd amendment.

Gun violence of any kind, be it war, crime, or accident is horrible and reprehensible. The evidence has shown that weapons bans do not eliminate or even significantly reduce the threat of these incidents. Gun ownership in America is, whether you like it or not, enshrined in the 2nd amendment with the full understanding that singular tragic anecdotes will happen from time to time, but also in the full understanding that an armed citizenry is the last fail-safe against large scale, systematic atrocities like genocide and tyranny. America still stands as one of the best examples of liberty and individual rights. We have not been perfect as a nation, but we have been better than most. Though there has been a recent trend away from liberty, the bill of rights still stands and the 2nd Amendment guarantees that would be authoritarians, on both the left and right of the political spectrum, must still tread carefully and hide in the shadows in the United States.

Your point on school shootings is invalid. Guns and Schools have been around for a long long time. Spree shootings in schools, as a rising trend, is very new. It begs the question: 'What has changed in our society that could bring about this rising wave of tragedy?' The answer to that question is not gun ownership. I do not think we have enough data to answer that question yet, but If I were to speculate, I would take a look at the psychoactive pharmaceutical industry. Besides possessing (illegally in most cases I would point out) firearms, it appears these spree killers have been on, almost to a man, a class of pharmaceutical known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Like I have said before, lets solve the root causes of violence, and not use these tragedies to grandstand for curtailing good, law abiding citizen's rights.

Thank you for the opportunity to debate this subject with you. I have greatly enjoyed this debate and learned much in the process. You presented your case well, and this was an informative process for me. I believe that both of our hearts are in the right place, though we may disagree on the methods. May we always be free to debate openly and in a friendly atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance, and goodwill. Godspeed.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
I realize my RFD may come off a little strong, though I mean every word. I know gun control is a contentious issue and a complex one, but when Pro starts the debate by stating that he supports a complete gun ban in the U.S., he needs to take the time to show why that's beneficial, and I don't see anything of the sort until R3. That's a problem.

I'm happy to still cover the debate in R3 if either debater is interested in seeing what I have to say, since I think the debate really only got rolling in that round. If that had been R1 or R2, this might have turned out differently.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
To add on to my RFD...

Pro's arguments about the constitution being a living document that needs to adapt to changing technology was never really addressed, aside from a bare assertion by Con that old weapons are almost as deadly as new weapons. And the reason that final round new arguments are bad (in case either of you are wondering) is because Pro never gets a chance to address them; as a rule, all opening contentions should be put forth within the first round of argumentation for the sake of fairness.

Again, very good debate by both sides :)
Posted by teslarules 2 years ago
Also thank you to Kevquixote, who I debated against on this topic, for presenting his points systematically and logically. His points were reasonable, and he read opposing arguments and took them into consideration.
Posted by teslarules 2 years ago
Additionally, in today's society, there are much more effective ways of regulating our government than a militia. The press and your vote are much better ways to keep the government in check as opposed to a bunch of citizens with guns. You may say "Well a militia is not to regulate the government but to be used as a last resort in an extreme event." I think this is ridiculous for a couple reasons. We spend several times more on the military than the previous few countries combined, there is no way a civilian militia could come close to putting a dent in the army. Also, the likelihood of this happening in the first place is very slim, it is much more likely we could peacefully reform the government to fit our needs as we have in the past. The only significant example of use of a civilian militia besides the revolutionary war, was actually against us by the South in the civil war. Those were both before the modern military tech and weaponry we have today, which far surpasses that of any civilian arms. Any invading army would also squash a civilian militia, though no army would be able to defeat ours and make it to our homeland in the first place. We spend so much on having a massive military it seems pointless to have a militia.
Posted by teslarules 2 years ago
Dilaria: Yes, it would be hard for a 4 foot women to defend herself against a 6 foot man, but there are precautions one can take before buying a gun. Have you taken self defense? Do you own a tazer and/or pepper spray? What about being trained with a knife? There are many alternative ways to defend yourself, your family, and your possessions without guns. They are just effective at defense against a criminal without the deaths and shooting that result from perceived defense when using a gun. Also, who is to say you will never be able to successfully remove most guns from criminals? I have seen no solid evidence this isn't possible. Most data arguing that gun removal is impossible comes from Europe, where trade restrictions are much more difficult to enforce that in the US, where one of our neighboring countries already had moved to gun control. If you read my argument, I stated this clearly.
Posted by Dilara 2 years ago
I disagree with pros argument. Criminals will get guns no matter what kinds of laws are passed. When those criminals use their illegal guns which they got illegally to rob, rape and kill law abiding citizens we won't have a way to defend our selves because our guns will be at a range or government building. Even with out a gun you can rob, rape or kill someone and the victim might need a gun for self defense. If a 4ft women is attacked by a 6ft man than she most likely doesn't stand a chance with out a gun. We need guns for self protection.
Posted by HaykTheKhulyan 2 years ago
What the 2nd Amendment means is not that we are allowed to own weapons for protection, recreation, etc., but that we are allowed to own weapons (bear arms) in case we have to protect ourselves or revolt to a corrupt governemnt.
Posted by lightingbolt50 2 years ago
Well, con just made a horrible argument.
Posted by ararmer1919 2 years ago
I cringe everything I see the reasoning behind the gun control lobbyist.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Two major problems with this debate. The first problem is that both sides need to learn how to use sources. You cannot just say something about how a certain source proves all your points, cite it, and leave it at that. You need to provide some brief summary of the point. I should only have to open the link to see the details, and yet both of you used your links as expansions on your arguments. The second problem is that both of you need to realize that the last round should never be available for new arguments. You should be done presenting new points before that final round. But neither of you apparently are, and especially Pro fails to use the space in R2 to make his case. Based off of R1 and R2, I have no reasons to support his case whatsoever, just preemptive arguments against Con. I at least get from Con that it will increase gun crime and harm our legal structure, even if I have no good reasons why the latter matters. With no reason to vote Pro and some to vote Con, I vote Con.
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and S&G are even; sources clearly go to Con as he used more sources and his sources were more reliable than Pro's. Arguments go to Con as well - with Pro proposing the debate, he basically takes the burden of proof. Ultimately Pro isn't able to develop a cohesive reason as to why all firearms should be banned. Instead, most of his case is spent arguing why you CAN control guns, which still doesn't answer the 'why ban all guns' part of it. Con's arguments on gun violence, and the reliable sources he used, are more than enough to tip the scale as Pro's arguments are almost completely unsourced and just based on his opinion.
Vote Placed by WilliamsP 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made more convincing arguments. Con misunderstood a few things about gun control, shown by this statement: "I firmly believe that banning of firearms by the general public is a terrible idea for many reasons from which I will choose some of the most obvious to make my case." Gun control and gun ban are NOT the same thing. Both sides presented sources, but Pro eventually won this debate.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's main argument was that regulation of gun ownership combined with an effort the stop illegal gun importation would reduce gun crimes, backing up each of his contentions with lots of logical explanation and sources where appropriate. Con's case mainly consisted of assertions that gun control does not reduce gun crime, with a link supporting each one. However, you can't just write a sentence and cite a several-page long article, expecting us to read through all of it. At the very least, you have to quote/paraphrase it and show how it connects back to the resolution. Additionally, Con conceded Pro's point that much of the statistics on gun control is incomplete due to a lack of serious gun control efforts, and Pro also explained why Europe's efforts haven't worked (i.e. open borders). As for Con's arguments concerning oppressive governments and "attacking the root of the problem", those were issued for the first time in the final round, and thus can't be considered. Good debate!