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The Contender
Con (against)
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Gun ownership: Individual Right or Collective Right?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 294 times Debate No: 94893
Debate Rounds (4)
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The question is, in the United States, is it an individual right to keep and bear arms or is it solely a right held by those that serve in the states' militias?

Pro will argue that it is an individual right, con will argue that it is a collective right.

Individual Right: Is a right held by individual people.

Collective Right: Is a right held by group members, this case in the militia.


The Second Amendment says it all, "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."

Despite recent court decisions which can change, the only way a person can read that and believe an individual has the right to bear arms is if they leave off the first four words. If one wishes to own a gun, there needs to be regulation. Like teaching how not to leave one loaded around your children.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate.

I will start off by adding the 2nd amendment of the United 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." [1]

The debate comes into play from this, the amendment that all US states and territories must accept. Some people consider it to be a right that people have when they are apart of the militia under the authority of government, others see it as an individual right.

The wording leaves confusion to many as to what it means. There is one person whom feels there is no confusion to what it means. Roy H. Copperud, an expert on the English language. [2] He analyzed the structure of the sentence and his professional opinion stated that it was an individual right. [3], [4]

The people who wrote and ratified the Constitution. Where did they stand?

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians." " George Mason [5]

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves." " Richard Henry Lee [5]

"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." " Samuel Adams. [5]

It would seem that the Founding Fathers felt it was something that all free people had a right to. There are many more. [5]

To the state constitutions, 45 out of the 50 has the exact same text as the US constitution or they have it like "The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defense.", or " The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.", or "Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state." [6]

The Supreme Court of the United States also states it to be an individual right. [7], [8]

I ask, how can the term "The right of the people" be construed as everyone in all of the other amendments except for the 2nd? I see no logical reasoning for it.



Your points are indeed logical. But you're leaving out one last word in your argument from the 2nd Amendment: Regulated. Recent court decisions have said an individual has the right to bear arms, but like Dredd Scott, decisions can be overturned.

I ask, what harm has it done by allowing individuals the right to bear arms? Every other industrialized country on the planet has stricter gun laws. They're total gun deaths per year: around 200. US gun deaths per year: 11,000.

More still, an individual with a gun is 48% more likely to kill himself or a loved one than an intruder. So where is the benefit?

Doesn't a person's constitutionally protected right to live trump a person's right to own a gun unregulated?
Debate Round No. 2


I didn't leave out a word in the 2nd amendment. The Supreme Court rulings that thought it was a collective right in the past are clearly wrong when you consider the original intent of the Founders that just fought a war against a government that wanted to rid their citizens of arms. When they were moving in to confiscate arms is when the 'shot heard round the world' was fired. [1] It wasn't when citizens homes by the dozens were being ransacked for evidence of crimes being committed without probable cause or warrant, it wasn't when people were being tried without a fair trial, or without legal consul, it wasn't when they had no trial at all just punished.

The Founders wanted the people armed for the defense of themselves, a deterrent to an abusive government, as well as a deterrent to foreign governments. That doesn't mean that they wanted state governments to try to dictate what weapons the people may or may not have.

As far as my understanding, well regulated militia is the states' role in organizing and maintaining a fighting force for the defense of the states. That doesn't mean for every person in the state. Regulations also state that arms may not be kept and carried on school grounds, churches, theaters ect. How much good has those regulations done?

A person's right to life sometimes, may very will rely on that person's right to keep and bear arms. The estimated number of times guns have been used in self defense varies. Low estimates is from 50,000 to 4.7 million. [2] If 50,000 is right, then guns are used 4 times more often than they are used to kill another person, 2-3x more than it is when adding the death suffered from accidents. If the high estimate is true, guns are used 382x more in defense of oneself then it is used to kill. It also means that guns are used around 4x more in defense then it is used to murder, rob, rape, assault ect, which is numbered at 1.2 million . [3]

In the United States, there was 12,300 murders. [4] The question I ask is, what are the industrialized nations? Cause after I did the math, the nations I thought of as industrialized surpassed the United States in total number of murders, quite a bit. [4]

The Founders did not want what happened in Rwanda [5], Cambodia [6], Soviet Union [7], The Ottoman Empire [8], Germany [9], China [10], and so one to happen here. It is for that reason the Founders placed the peoples' right to keep and bear arms into the constitution, as an individual right.



Determining what the Founders were thinking when they originally wrote the Constitution is asinine and a waste of time. The only real argument is what is best currently for our country.

As you can see from this graph, in 2012 we had ten times the gun deaths of other industrialized nations. We have the same per capita murder rate as Estonia and Argentina- not a good sign.

It is 10 times LESS likely to be shot in the European Union, Australia, Japan, Korea and some African nations. Because they have reasonable gun regulations. We have none. It ain't rocket science: more guns means more gun deaths.

And your ascertion that guns save lives by some 300% is just nonsense. In 2012, the Violence Policy Center posted a study noting 259 Justifiable Homicides out of 14,827 Gun Murders.

Every citizen might have the right to bear arms, but regulation is needed. And I guarantee YOU agree. Should citizens be able to own nuclear weapons? No? That's a regulation. Fully automatic assault rifles? Should citizens have to go through a background check before buying a gun? 94% of Americans do.

The Founders wrote the Bill of Rights in order to begin the process of "amending" the Constitution. They expected us to make revisions to it. The Second Amendment was written as an add-on instead of being secured within the Constitution. The 18th Amendment outlawing liquor was overturned by the 21st Amendment. That's the only thing we know the Founders intended.
Debate Round No. 3


Your claim that it is asinine to determine what the Founders thought when the 2nd amendment was wrote is asinine itself. As I stated in round 2, an expert on the English language and its usage came to a professional conclusion as to what the amendment meant. That professional's analysis of the structure of the sentence concluded that the 2nd amendment is an individual right. The words that came out of the Founders' mouths speaking on the right of the people to keep and bear arms validates it further, followed by state constitutions calling it an individual right, and legal interpretations of that being what they meant unequivocally proves my argument in that regard.

Also, your graph is saying that 29 people per 100,000 people are killed with a gun and its completely untrue. That means the murder rate in the United States is 29.7 per 100,000 people, that equates to over 95,000 gun murders in the United States in 2012 alone. The actual murder rate in the United States in 2012 was 4.7 per 100,000. [1] It went down in 2013 to 4.5 [2], it stayed at 4.5 in 2014 but the total number has continued to go down every year. [3]... Nice try.

Furthermore, my own statistics regarding the usage of firearms speaks of the fact that the low estimate of gun usage is around 4x more for self-defense purposes rather than to murder someone. That the high estimate of 4.7 million incidents of self defense of a person's life, property, and their happiness is over 300x more then when a gun is used to commit murder. That at 4.7 million it dwarfs the number of violent crimes committed in the United States by 4x. At the middle ground at around 2 million it still outnumbers the crimes by 2.

There are more guns in the United States then there are people [4]. With this fact, it means that .00005% of the population used their gun to take a life. That leaves 99.99995% of the people went a year not murdering someone with theirs. What logical reasoning is there to attempt to regulate and deny those Americans the right to bear arms based on a fraction of 1% of the population whom has done wrong? The total number of violent crimes in the United States is 1.2 million that is .004% of the population. Does that mean we should do away with those laws cause so few commit them? Of course not, they are there to protect peoples' right not to be victimized like that. The peoples' right to keep and bear arms should not met with a ban like all of those other nations which gets compared to the United States cause a few people in comparison to the population in the United States commits a crime.

The Founders waged a war for freedom, there was and is ZERO reason to think that they thought that one day the rights they fought for including the right to bear arms should be done away with. That is precisely why the 2nd amendment was added to the Bill of Rights, to protect those rights from people who felt that it should be, why in the Declaration of Independence of the United States it says should the government become destructive towards the rights of the people that it is our duty to alter or abolish it. A constitutional amendment that denies Americans the right to do something was moronic, peoples' feelings toward it can be seen through the jury nullification when people were charged for committing that crime. However, that amendment has no relevance towards the 2nd Amendment.

Finally, the question as to rather a person may keep a nuclear weapon can be another debate it sounds a bit silly but since I have enough characters to speak on it I will. Meeting the safety regulations, safe handling, the maintenance cost, the safe zone from civilian centers as to not harm anyone from the launching of said nuke. Which would cost 10s of millions of dollars to make happen, meeting them an argument could be made in court with the legality of possessing one.

The 2nd amendment was added to keep the people on equal terms, or even an upper hand against both the US government and foreign ones should they endanger the people and our rights. A person with the means to safely handle a nuclear weapon could arguably be allowed to. My opinion of the reasonable or unreasonable regulations like background checks and the ownership of doomsday weapons that the world is trying to rid itself of are of little significance. A persons' right to keep and bear arm is at an equal footing as the rest of the world's armies is. People are allowed to buy tanks, artillery, canons ect. [5]

Back to the beginning of this round, saying its stupid to assume or determine how the Founders felt.. Here is one more quote.

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them." - Zachariah Johnson [5] There are A LOT of them in [6], I just felt this one is one of the best in my opinion. Is it really asinine to say that he felt it an individual right?.. Hmm..

I feel I've thoroughly rebutted my opponents arguments and proving my own. I ask that voters vote pro. I thank my opponent for this fun debate.

" The Founding Fathers quotes on the 2A confirms my argument that its an individual right.
" Roy H. Copperud, an expert on the English Language came to the conclusion that the 2A was an individual right.
" The states' constitution as the exact same wording as the 2A or has it even more clear as to what the right is.
" The SCOTUS has ruled in favor of my argument over yours, that it is indeed an individual right.
" Statically, the number of occasions where the gun is used lawfully & in self defense for ones life, property, or
happiness overwhelming outnumbers the occurrences where the gun is used maliciously.
" The 2A being a deterrent to aggression from domestic and foreign governments. To prevent tyranny from returning to
the United States like the kind that they, the Founders, had just fought off.








I said it's asinine because there's no possible way to know what the Founders were thinking. You bring out one constitutional expert, I'll bring two with the exact opposite opinions. Waste of time.

But I can't debate someone who disregards facts. If you think the graph is wrong, you can take it up with the authors at the United Nations. You also still have not cited your stats on self defense. My studies are from federally funded researchers. Separate sources confirm only 259 justifiable homicides out of 14,000.

Again there are 14,000 gun deaths a year. Even if the perpetrators are only a small percentage of gun owners, regulation is still obviously needed. Background checks and gun registries would go a long way to countering those murders. The countries I mentioned before all have those strict laws and their murder rate is a fraction of ours.

Finally, your claim about defending yourself against the government is absurd. You may have a few rifles but you'd be fighting tanks, battleships and a well trained army. Ironically, I bet you have a Support Our Troops bumper sticker, right? How can you support the troops AND prepare for terrorist action?

And do you really think a normal citizen should be allowed to own a nuclear weapon?
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
You cited false facts and baseless opinion so whatever.

So lets break it down.

Founders' intent, I provided statements that supports my argument. You failed to provide any statements to support yours or rebut mine.

Professional conclusions, I provided an expert on the subject matter, you didn't.

State constitutions, 90% of the states constitutions has the same wording & structure that led the professional to conclude its an individual right, OR it flat out says it is individual right.

The other 10% that didn't, (5 states) must accept its an individual right cause the Supreme Court states it so. Which case you can't use any previous rulings cause they've been overturned, they're null & void.

Crime rates, your proof was false, I provided multiple sources to prove that. Which you refused to retract it in order to provide the actual rate of intentional murder which only hurts the credibility of your arguments. After a little extra research on that it would seem that your graph was photo shopped. That graph speaks of the murder rate per 1 million. [1] This makes MUCH more sense when you put it under scrutiny. Funnier still, your graph indicates a declined compare to a few years before. In 2010 it was 42 per 1 million. [2]

Funniest part of all of this is the fact that you first called my arguments logical now it is all nonsense.


Posted by Foucault 2 months ago
I can't debate with nonsense. You cite anecdotes as facts. Your facts are made up. You think billionaires should own nukes. You're just entrenched in a position and floundering. I admire your passion though.
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
not. lol
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
If you're interested, we can debate rather a popular rebellion and a 2nd civil war is justifiable under a strict set of conditions or.
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
Debates over but I'll reply to the questions that you proposed to me with my added $0.02. Its sad you didn't retract the graph, I used the wiki page that uses UN sources as well as the actual FBI website before and after the graph proving that to be a lie.

"259 justifiable homicides" that means 259x the gun was ultimately used. During a road rage incident involving my friends and his mom, the words "I'm going to kill you" by this man was said which was followed by the revealing of my friends gun made that person backtrack & get calm & it happened fast. So lives were saved & and it only took the presence of the gun it doesn't need to end with someone dying. I was going to use that but 12 am & tired, I forgot.

The question about terrorism, They're still in Afghanistan fighting to reclaim territory that they lost to the US. If 10s of 1000s can survive the American onslaught, arguably winning the war. Then 100s of millions can force a surrender on politicians that live in the same neighborhoods. If the troops side with the government after ensuing violations which result in American rebellion to fix the wrongs which we're allowed to do, then they're the terrorist. Terrorist don't like freedoms, if the troops support the governments anti freedom behavior which resulted in rebellions and war then the troops are the bad guys, not us. Or do you think the Founders and all those that fought beside them were terrorist, that they were the bad guys? Cause they most definitely broke the law when they started shooting at authority and killing them. Had we lost the Founders would have been hanged.

Furthermore, I explained that people actually have a right to buy aircraft, tanks, artillery and so on.

The normal citizen can't keep a private nuke, it'd cost to much. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or some billionaire whom wanted to then yea. I think someone that can safely keep and maintain one shouldn't be denied. I felt I explained well enough to answer that the 1st time.
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
Yes, I as pro will argue that gun ownership in the United States is an individual right. Con will argue that it is a collective right. I made this debate cause someone on YouTube argues that its a collective right. I'd like that that person makes an account and debate the topic but anyone that feels the way he/she does can take their place.
Posted by retroz 2 months ago
Pro is arguing individual? and con collective?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TN05 1 month ago
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Total points awarded:30 
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