Gun control will do nothing to stop mass shootings.
Debate Rounds (3)
Debate will only have three rounds. Please be factual. I look forward to a clean debate with whoever challenges.
As a conservative, I have recently been frustrated so many other conservatives are so vehemently against gun control -- people are dying far too often, and they far too often are people like me -- students, teens, etc. who would never be carrying a gun.
So that's where I'm coming from, to make myself clear.
I am going to argue that gun control, while it goes against the strictest interpretation of the constitution, does not go against what the Founders intended or would say in these times. I will also argue that increased gun control would decrease mass shootings. I would like to note that the amount of gun control is not specified by Pro, and that the debate is not about whether it would change our government system, but whether it would decrease the amount of mass shootings.
I hope to learn a lot in this debate. Good luck!
We have no way of knowing what the Founding Fathers would have said about this issue in the present day, and it really makes no difference. They clearly believed that the people should be able to defend themselves if threatened, be it from oppressive government or a dangerous society. Indeed, the 2nd amendment to the Constitution clearly states, "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" (https://www.law.cornell.edu...). Con mentions in his opening arguments that: "[gun control] goes against the strictest interpretation of the constitution" and he is right. However, him saying this makes it seem as though the Constitution should not be interpreted today as strictly as it was when it was written. It seems to me that the authors of the 2nd amendment predicted that thought process and addressed it when they distinctly said "...shall not be infringed."
Con also says that enforced gun control would decrease mass shootings. This has been proven false repeatedly. Evidence compiled by the FBI shows that since the year 1950, rapes among people who carry firearms has dropped 5%, aggravated assaults have dropped 7%, and murder rates have fallen almost 9% (http://americangunfacts.com...). A Harvard Law department study found that there is in fact a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crimes. Meanwhile, in most European countries where they have implemented several forms of gun-control, there have been considerable rises in homicide rates than in nations that have no forms of gun control implemented.
Quote from website:
"With just one exception, every public mass shooting in the USA since 1950 has taken place where citizens are banned from carrying guns."
Therefore, with my counter-arguments, including quotes and references from two highly credible sources, I have successfully proven that carrying a firearm, as long as the carrier is mentally healthy, can lead to a decrease in rates of mass violence.
I argue that gun control is a way of the federal government to limit the power granted to the people. If the population is defenseless, they obviously have no way of defending themselves from an oppressive government--which was the reason the Founders created the 2nd amendment in the first place. This makes the government fully able to manipulate its citizens and make them completely dependent, which sets the foundation for Socialism. According to the Constitution, and definitely by the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to stand up and rebel against this type of oppression. As Thomas Jefferson put it, "a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing."
Now I hope that what I have just stated is not taken too politically. It basically just ties in to what I was saying earlier that the people have and should maintain the right to express themselves. Especially when it abides by the standing Constitution. Also in case there was confusion, I mean an amount of gun-control that involves the government either not allowing to own firearms at all, or gun control that disallows them fro having them in public.
I await Con's statements eagerly and I hope there was no confusion with any of my arguments.
The right to bear arms is directly connected with the "well regulated militia". As Pro said, the Founders framed this amendment because they had recently experienced the rule of Britain, and the restriction of their rights to bear arms. As Pro also said, they wrote this amendment because they feared the development of an aggressive government. Nowhere is self-defense from other citizens mentioned. What the constitution directly supports is the ability to arm yourself against the government in case of tyranny --- if we are to view it strictly, then those who own guns should have them for the primary purpose of defending themselves from the government. And in order to defend against the government with weaponry, one does not need concealed carry. All that is needed is a gun tucked away in a locked safe, under the agreement that it shall not be removed unless there is an aggressive act by the government. With today's media, such an act would spread across the country within seconds, and gun-owners could easily retrieve their weapons.
Also, another point of contention is what "arms" should be allowed? If one upholds a strict interpretation of the Constitution, then we should go by what the Founders had access to and meant by "arms". That is, unreliable and inaccurate muskets with bayonets and almost no interchangeable parts. After all, no sane person would say that it is acceptable for civilians to have nuclear weapons, yet that is the level of weaponry the government can employ.
Any restriction of rights that still allows muskets does not infringe gun rights beyond what the Founders did. Of course, it would be strange and quite pointless to make such a law, but that is under our Constitutional power, if we hold strictly to what the Founders wrote.
I certainly think that there is room to interpret in the Constitution. It is a brilliant document written by brilliant people, but it is still 228 years old. The fact that they foresaw so many things is incredible, but we can't expect them to have foreseen everything. Under the current circumstances, there is no weaponry that civilians could use to defend themselves if the government wanted to use their strongest force (nuclear level weaponry, or even just high-level bombs). So the idea of civilians bearing arms against the government becomes much less credible.
Now to my evidence that gun control could stop mass shootings.
Look at Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. They have the lowest fire-arm related death rates in the world, at 0.03, 0.06, and 0.06 per 100,000, respectively (2). They also have some of the most restrictive gun-laws in the world (3). In Japan and South Korea, guns are allowed for sporting and hunting purposes after an intense background check. In Hong Kong, it is mostly restricted to the military (3).
If such intense gun-ownership laws were enacted in the United States, and the overall amount of guns was reduced, a reduction in gun deaths would logically follow. Now, this may or may not be purely democratic, but there would be a reduction in mass shootings, and lives would be preserved.
Now, for your last paragraph of argument. I'll disassemble it; Pro's quotes will be italicized.
I argue that gun control is a way of the federal government to limit the power granted to the people. This is true. However, this does not have to do with whether or not gun control will stop mass shootings, or the constitutionality of gun control.
If the population is defenseless, they obviously have no way of defending themselves from an oppressive government--which was the reason the Founders created the 2nd amendment in the first place. This is not true. We now have a well established system, in which it would be very hard for a government to become truly oppressive, since leaders are still elected by the will of the people. The Founders had written this system, but it was not yet well established and practiced.
This makes the government fully able to manipulate its citizens and make them completely dependent, which sets the foundation for Socialism. Does the current government avoid manipulating the people because they have guns? Guns are not the only way for people to be independent. The government in this time does not fear placing restraints on civilians because of the possibility of rebellion.
According to the Constitution, and definitely by the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to stand up and rebel against this type of oppression. People do have a right to rebel if there is true oppression. However, in this case, gun control would exist in order to preserve human life. The intent of it is not oppression, and the context does not compare at all to the events surrounding the Revolution. That was the willful oppression of an entire people for the gain of a foreign power. This would be a solution to individual citizens slaughtering each other with weaponry they cannot be trusted to handle.
As Thomas Jefferson put it, "a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing." He also said, "God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion". (4) Yet we went nearly a hundred years without a rebellion, and when it did happen, it was the bloodiest event in American history. And the rebels, in this case, were the people trying to protect slavery. Not to mention, a rebellion in this time would require significantly more firepower than legally purchasable guns. Bombs and high-level explosives would be necessary for any rebel force to accomplish something beyond pointless slaughter.
I would also like to say that americangunfacts seems to be quite biased. The information might be accurate, but when I checked the statistic about Europe's 3 mass shootings, it led me to an opinion article from usatoday that was not sourced. The source given within the site for the statistic about women with guns defending themselves also was not clear, and the page number given did not have any such numbers.
I look forward to the conclusion in Round 3!
See Art. IV
I had understood "arms" to mean guns such as rifles, side arms, shotguns, and other small defense weapons. Obviously nuclear power is not meant and my opponent is correct in saying that no sane person would have or want to have that.
Now to confront my opponents statements about the Asian countries mentioned that have low crime and gun ownership rates. I will take Japan for my example, but the same goes for the other countries Con named. It is true that gun control is strict there, and it is also true that their crime rates are very low, but as Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel reports, this is not due to gun control, but to several other factors. One is the excessive power of the Japanese police system, and the other is due to the cultural relationship between the citizens and their authority. In Japan, crime is seen as much more shameful on the offender and their family as it is in most other parts of the world, including the United States. Also, Japan's legal system is incredibly harsh and to a certain extent, unfair. This level of respect and mutual fear for the between Police and people is not present in Europe, and certainly not here in the US. (http://www.davekopel.com...)
It does not seem that my opponent has considered my facts regarding individuals who conceal carry. This may be because he does not see my source as reliable. Here is a more credible source with similar data: http://www.gunfacts.info.... The name of this article is similar to the last one I used, but it seems a lot more factual and credible. I hope Con, and all the voters/readers take a look at this site. One of the most powerful facts it proposes is the case of Kennesaw, Georgia. This town passed legislation in 1982 that all citizens MUST own firearms. That same year the town saw a 90% drop in residential burglary. Also, a Washington Post graph that I found (https://img.washingtonpost.com...) shows that in a 30-year span mass killers mostly obtained their weapons illegally, a possibility outside the realm of government-induced gun control.
Also, my opponent seems to enjoy the "Quote Jefferson" game so I will keep it up by supplying several. Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Virginia Constitution that "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Also, in a letter to English naval officer John Cartwright, he wrote "The Constitution of our states assert that all power is inherent to the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be AT ALL TIMES ARMED" (Note: the actual quote does not have all caps, I added that for emphasis). As well, I will quote another significant Founder, Samuel Adams, when he said the following at the 1788 Massachusetts ratifying convention: "The constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." If you want any more quotes from the founders on this issue, as their are many, I would be more than happy to litter to comments section with them.
I would like to point out as well that the American Civil War was not fought over slavery, but over states' rights. Refer to myth #1 of this article: http://www.livescience.com.... Slavery was really only brought up until Lincoln's 13th amendment (emancipation proclamation). The victor writes the history books I suppose. Anyway, this is fitting for debate at another time.
I'd like to thank my opponent very much for challenging. He has provided the ideal competition I hoped for when I started this debate. I hope to meet again in future debates.
First, the issue with "arms" in the Constitution. There is no verifiable way to confirm exactly what was meant, but there are two logical thought processes. One is that the Founders literally meant what they had available, which were inaccurate, unreliable muskets made before the existence of interchangeable parts or the mini-ball. This is what was widely available, to both the government and the people. The other thought, which makes more sense contextually, is that citizens should have the same level of arms as the government, in order to defend themselves against an oppressive government, such as in the case of the Revolution. Now, in 1787, both these two thoughts produced the same conclusion -- people get muskets. Now, however, they produce wildly opposing thoughts. The first still gives us muskets. The second leaves us with tanks, nuclear bombs, and other such heavy artillery, because that is what the government could employ against its employ if it so desired. And so one cannot definitively assert that the Constitution supports individuals owning weapons for self defense, such as rifles/handguns, etc. Such weaponry would be useless in defending citizens from the current government.
Now, I provided the statistics about the Asian countries simply because they were the three highest. America is down at around 60th, along with many third-world countries such as Guatemala, which are controlled by gangs. One has to go up ten places to find the nearest developed country, Finland, and their gun-related death rate is 1/3 of the United States. One can look at Romania (4th lowest), Ukraine (7th), and our old buddies the U.K. (9th) . They all have comparably strict laws; Romania does not allow citizens to purchase lethal firearms. Ukraine is a bit more open, but most handguns are illegal, and concealed carry licenses only go to those who can definitively prove that their life is in danger; also, all firearms must be kept unloaded and in a safe. In the UK, laws are slightly more open, but it is still hard to acquire anything other than a shotgun. In many parts of the UK, handguns are mostly banned, and the process to get one is difficult; also, self-defense is no longer accepted as a viable reason for owning a gun, though it is legitimate to use a registered gun in self-defense .
Here is where Pro originally presented facts about gun-control (and I will not dispute their legitimacy). Con also says that enforced gun control would decrease mass shootings. This has been proven false repeatedly. Evidence compiled by the FBI shows that since the year 1950, rapes among people who carry firearms has dropped 5%, aggravated assaults have dropped 7%, and murder rates have fallen almost 9%...
I did not directly address these facts, because they did not seem pertinent to the topic. Pro says that enforcing gun control would not reduce mass shootings, then lists stats about rape, aggravated assault, and murder. Also, the stat says "people who carry firearms". This implies that before 1950, people who carried firearms got assaulted more, and after 1950, people who carried firearms got assaulted less. It does not say that people who did not carry firearms got assaulted more, then acquired firearms, and then got assaulted less.
Also, to mention that first quote, I also am not interested in banning where people can carry guns; I'm interested in people not having guns --- which is the gun-control system for the majority of the countries I listed above.
And now, Kennesaw. The law made there did not actually require every household to have a gun; in fact, you could (and still can) get out of owning a gun if you are mentally disabled, are poor, are a convicted felon, or do not want one because of any belief (religious or otherwise) . Furthermore, the law was never meant to be enforced, according to a lieutenant from the police department: "Added Lt. Graydon, "It was not meant to be an enforceable law. The police department has never searched homes to make sure you had a gun. It was meant more or less as a political statement to support citizens' second amendment rights to own firearms" . Another point to consider about Kennesaw is the incredibly small sample size. If you read the next paragraph in source 4, it says that there have been 4 gun related homicides in the last thirty years. Finally, one of the most important facts to note is that violent crime rates in all of Georgia have gone down significantly since 1982, not just in Kennesaw . Using the tool provided by the FBI, I have found that the murder rate, forcible rape rate, violent crime rate, robbery rate, and aggravated assault rate are all at their lowest point since 1982 throughout Georgia . So despite the fact that Kennesaw is the only area that enacted the law, all of Georgia's rates have gone down.
My Jefferson quote was mainly to point out how wrong he could be -- he said that we should rebel every 25 years, and that it would be bad not to. However, that is clearly not the case. I actually have no love for what Jefferson did after the Declaration.
Once again, your quotes about arms depend on the definition of arms. I have already addressed that a few paragraphs earlier, so I'll move on.
The Civil War was fought over the states right to secede. The South seceded because of slavery --- Alexander Stephens, vice-president of the confederacy, admitted in 1861 that "This [slavery] was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution" . It was not til later that the South tried to revoke this position and make state's rights the main issue. But you're right, this really has nothing to do with mass shootings in the current time -- it was only brought up originally to show that the Founders could (and did) err in their assumptions. For a college class this semester I read a civil war book, a biography of Abraham Lincoln, watched Ken Burn's civil war, and the textbook, so the topic is firmly ingrained in my head. That is why I thought of it -- it has just been consuming my thoughts. (I just realized -- my profile may say I'm 24. Not accurate -- I am also in the pain of finals week, so I fully understand the long time it took to reply).
Pro did very little to acknowledge my final paragraph of points in Round 2, so I guess this is the end of my rebuttal.
I'd like to conclude by saying that most facts presented by those against gun-control (such as how many lives may be saved per mass shooting by armed civilians) only serve to reduce the amount of deaths per shooting. They do not stop shootings. The fact that America's gun-related death rate is on par with those of nigh-lawless, poorly developed countries should be painful to consider.
Thanks to Pro for a good debate! I hope that whatever way one votes, it is in the interest of saving lives. I doubt you will see me again in the politics section -- I generally debate religion.
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