The Instigator
snake
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tochter_aus_elysium
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points

Guns should be banned to the general public

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
tochter_aus_elysium
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,489 times Debate No: 10638
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

snake

Con

The general public should have the right to own a gun.
The second amendment 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." This means that a United States citizen has the right to own and use guns. Owning guns is a constitutional right of all Americans. The peoples' right to own guns keeps the government from becoming too powerful. When the government becomes to powerful then we become a dictatorship. The reason we become a dictatorship is because without an armed population the police and the military will have all of the control.

As the quote goes "only the dead have seen the end of war." There are many types of war. Two types of war are the war on terror and the war against another country. The war that strikes home the most though is the war on crime. Crime affects us in our everyday life. For instance, you might not go to a certain mall any more because of gang violence or you might put extra locks on the windows and doors of your home because you live in a dangerous area. The world is a very dangerous place. You do not see people leaving their doors and windows open all the time. Gangs now have hand guns, sawed-off shot guns and Uzis. How are you suppose to protect yourself against somebody with a gun when you do not have any weapon that matches a gun? This is one of the rare times that you need to fight fire with fire.

As of January 1, 2010, the US population is 308,405,158. The number of hand guns, rifles and shot guns owned by American civilians as of 1997 is 235 million. The amount of people that own guns in the United States is continuing to rise. Taking away the guns of the United State citizen will fail just as miserably as prohibition. People will not be willing to give up there guns without a fight. There will be riots, and there will be people making there own guns and ammunition. The gangs and the mob will start to have immense power because people will start buying illegal guns. If they don't then the gangs and the mob will be the only people with guns. If there is one thing that nobody wants is the gangs and the mob to have more power like from 1919 to 1933.

Also the number of car deaths is much greater. There are 200,000,000 drivers on the road in the United States and the number of deaths in the United States is 50,000.

Guns also save people. They save people by protecting them from robbers and people who are trying to hurt them. They also a tool that can be used to kill animals for food. With out food humans can not survive. We do not have claws or really sharp teeth, so we invent weapons that we can use to protect ourselves and our families and to hunt for food.

Another use for guns are for sport. Like for skeet shooting or target practice. These harmless activities are great fun, and why should are fun be limited in a free country? These are great activities that are excellent ways to teach gun safety.

http://gunsafe.org...

http://www.law.umkc.edu...

http://www.fbi.gov...

http://www.census.gov...
tochter_aus_elysium

Pro

Resolved: Guns should be banned to the general public.

I affirm the above resolution and argue that with certain exceptions, the sale and ownership of guns ought to be condemned. As my opponent has not offered any resolutions in his constructive, any definitions provided here will be in use for the entire debate.

gun: any portable firearm, as a rifle, shotgun, or revolver (Random House)
should: synonymous with ought--to be bound by moral obligation
banned: censure[d], condemn[ed], or disapprov[ed] of; prohibited(American Heritage)
general: of, pertaining to, or true of such persons or things in the main, with possible exceptions (RH)
public: a particular group of people with a common interest, aim, etc. (RH)
In this case, I shall interpret the general public to mean those who are not either in the armed forces or are recreational shooters, though the ownership of guns in the latter would be highly restricted as well.
militia: a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency

Observation 1: My opponent's stated resolution involves the word "should." Because of this, the debate therefore centers around the moral question of whether or not guns should be condemned/prohibited.

Observation 2: Because the focus of this debate is the morality behind the use of guns, practical applications of the resolution need not be considered.

Observation 3: In the light of the definitions stated above, con must show that, in general, from a moral perspective, guns should be approved of (in a negation of the disapproval expressed by pro). Pro must show that because guns and their uses are immoral, they are objects of disapproval and their sale and use should therefore be prohibited.

I will first present my contentions and then negate my opponent's arguments.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." In this debate, one's supposed right to own firearms ends when one runs the risk of causing harm to others. To tacitly allow firearms to be used against the general public is therefore morally unjustified.

C1: Guns are used with intent to harm others.

Guns are frequently used by criminals in attacks upon citizens--roughly 900,000 cases annually. Of these cases, 18000 result in death by homicide. The large number of gun owners makes gun-related violence frequent. By prohibiting the possession of guns except by those authorized to do so as a matter of duty--soldiers, police officers, etc.--one may effectively eliminate these incidents.

Guns are also used in suicides, about 14000 annually. While Mill's harm principle states that the government cannot intervene in personal decisions, government power can be invoked in cases where the action causes harm to others. Suicides not only harm the person committing the action, but those round the person, whether emotionally (in the loss of a loved one) or physically (in the case of murder-suicides). It is therefore morally justified to try and prevent suicides by banning guns.

The comparatively high rate of gun-deaths per owner, .0004% (see below for derivation), or 31,000 per year, is appalling. The incidence of gun-caused injuries is even higher, at 115000, or .0015%. Guns exist with the intent to harm (with the exception of sport shooting, etc.), not to help. Finally, guns are frequently used in suicide and crimes, causing injury and death to all. It is not only the gun owners who are affected by gun possession; it is innocent victims who bear the consequences of gun usage. In view of this, there is a moral prerogative to condemn and prohibit the sale and ownership of guns to the general public.

My Opponent's Case:
C1: Simply because something is written into a country's constitution does not immediately make it moral. Attempting to imply as such is nothing more than an argument from authority, and the point is therefore moot.

I will, however, address the content of my opponent's contention as if it were valid. The wording of the Second Amendment show that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is directly linked to the existence of "a well-regulated militia." I agree that the militia, by the nature of their purpose, can own guns. However, by my definition of a militia as a "reserve" (i.e. not active) and the fact that the militia is not in the main, the militia is not a part of the general public, and thus the resolution has no application in this area.

C2: My opponent, in stating that one ought to own a gun in order to protect oneself against crime, is ignoring the fundamental issue at hand. The reason that gangs are in possession of guns to the degree that they are is that there have been only token restrictions on gun sales in the United States.

All the same, evidence suggests that even when people are permitted to possess guns, their actual usefulness in self-defense is very limited. From 1987 to 1990, for example, firearms were employed in self defense in less than .2% of crimes. For comparison, during that same time period, there were roughly 2.7 million fatal and nonfatal gun-related crimes. The question here becomes, "Does the extremely small benefit of self-protection outweigh the real and present threat of millions of gun-related crimes which would likely not have occurred had guns been outlawed to begin with?" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...)

C3: This contention is irrelevant to the debate--the practical application of the resolution has no impact upon the inherent morality therein.

C4: Multiple sources suggest that the number of gun owners in the United States is 80 million. Using this figure, one divides the number of gun related fatalities by the number of owners. The percent mortality rate is .00039%. When one performs the same calculation for car-related deaths to find a mortality rate of .00024%. Although the number of car deaths may be greater, consider that one is 1.625 times more likely to die from a gun than from a car. (http://webapp.cdc.gov...) Furthermore, the fundamental difference between a gun and a car is that the former exists for the purpose of inflicting damage--in this case, on a person--whereas the latter exists to move objects from one location to another.

C5: I have shown that the use of guns in self defense compared to that of those in committing crimes does not even begin to compare, as the latter dwarfs the former in scope. The number of people reliant on hunting game for food is not statistically significant. The general public does not obtain its food primarily by hunting, so my opponent's baseless claim has no relevance to the debate.

C6: I agree that skeet shooting or target practice are harmless. Note that "general" has exceptions, and specialist sportsmen and women are exceptions to the rule. In the case of recreation, tightly controlled gun sales in small numbers is permissible, though such guns would come with stringent standards to prevent harm to others.

I have shown that gun ownership and use causes injury and death unnecessarily, and to allow gun ownership on a present day scale is inimical to Mill's harm principle and basic ethics. I have shown my opponent's contentions to be false or otherwise irrelevant, completely refuting his case.

I now await my opponent's response and cross-ex/clarifications.
Debate Round No. 1
snake

Con

I thank my opponent for accepting my invitation and laying down the definitions for the debate.

Guns are morally acceptable. But before we continue what does moral mean? Dictionary.com defines it as "of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes." So what is wrong? Is it wrong to chew gum in school? Society says so, but is society wrong? Society says that guns are bad and can hurt people. I know that in this case society is wrong. Guns kill less people then doctors. Does that mean that doctors are morally wrong? No, doctors help people and save lives. Guns also do this. Imagine that someone has barged into your house and has a weapon let's say a knife. What are you going to do? If you have a gun you can defend yourself. Is one life so important that it overrides that of yours and your families? In this case guns are morally acceptable. Why are guns morally acceptable in this circumstance? Because they have saved your life and protected your family. Guns are morally acceptable when they are used to survive and to protect yourself, your family and or your country.

My opponent has said, "The reason that gangs are in possession of guns to the degree that they are is that there have been only token restrictions on gun sales in the United States." I disagree. The reason that the gangs have so many guns is because of the black market. Not only that, but the gangs get weapons from the black market that even the average police officer can not get.

My opponent said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." This statement is not morally correct if the person whose nose is about to be hit is causing pain and suffering to the person whose fist is being swung. It is morally wrong to allow a human being to suffer at the hands of another human. You should be able to take up arms (like guns) to protect yourself.

My opponent also said "Guns are frequently used by criminals in attacks upon citizens--roughly 900,000 cases annually. Of these cases, 18000 result in death by homicide." However in 1994 there were 192 million guns in America www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/165476.txt and in 2008 the number of guns were over 250 million. Even thought there are more guns, violent crimes are at a 35 year low and murder is at a 43 year low (http://www.nraila.org...). So the question is, are guns really as dangerous as my opponent says or are they the perfect crime fighter? If you were a robber would you go into the house with the gun or the house without the gun? I would go into the house without the gun.

My opponent has also said "Guns are also used in suicides." While that is true you can use anything to commit suicide. There have even been cases where people have used toilet paper. So does that mean that we should ban toilet paper? Does that mean that toilet paper is immoral?

My opponent has said "The general public does not obtain its food primarily by hunting." That may be true but there is a portion of the United States population that do hunt for their food. Should we just take away their livelihood? That would be very immoral.

I now wait for my opponent to respond.
tochter_aus_elysium

Pro

I thank my opponent for his rebuttal. I will first attack his case and then reaffirm my own.

My opponent provides a belated definition of morality that is rather vague on the exact nature of what is moral and what is amoral. To refine the focus of this debate, I provide a deontological definition of morality, after Kant's categorical imperative, where actions have moral weight in and of themselves. Consequences of the action therefore have no impact on the morality of the action. This definition must stand for the duration of the round, as my opponent failed to offer a specific delineation of morality when given the opportunity to do so.

My opponent contends that society is incorrect in that "guns are bad and can hurt people." Putting the ethical question aside, my opponent does not rebut the claim that guns can hurt people. Guns propel bullets into the objects at which they are shot at high velocities. When bullets enter human flesh, they can damage tissue and bone, sometimes causing death. The intent of a gun is to cause harm to its target; in a deontological view guns are therefore inherently immoral. Through deont reasoning, it is then evident that gun usage is inherently immoral.

My opponent claims that guns are less dangerous than doctors, but fails to provide any hard evidence that this is true. My opponent then asks "Are doctors morally wrong?" As per our definition of morality, the answer is obviously no, because doctors exist to heal people, not to harm them. See above for why guns are inherently immoral.

We will treat the hypothetical situation posed by my opponent as a valid criticism. Note, however, the statistic cited in my previous argument that shows that in cases of crimes, guns were used for self-defense in an infinitesimally small number of cases, and of those cases, even fewer were successful. My opponent's claim that possession of a gun would make anyone safer is therefore fallacious. Even so, by shooting a gun, even at an intruder, intends to cause harm to someone, which is immoral.

This once again edges into the area of practical application of the resolution, and is therefore no longer relevant. Furthermore, my opponent never directly addresses the content of the rebuttal of his second contention, meaning that C2 has been eliminated.

Again, using the deontological framework that I have supplied, the metaphorical fist-swing is inherently immoral in its intent to cause harm. This rebuttal is invalid.

My opponent assumes that correlation equals causation, which is untrue. He further fails to provide substantive evidence that the rise in gun ownership is causing the decrease in crime. This supposed attack on my contention is demonstrably fallacious and irrelevant. The question here is not the danger of guns, but the morality of guns.
This purely hypothetical situation seems to suggest the use of guns as a deterrent. 1) How would an unknown assailant be aware of the existence/nonexistence of a gun? 2) Nevertheless, my opponent must show that guns are moral in and of themselves. He fails to do so.

This rebuttal lacks a citation and does not address the deontological morality at stake in this debate.

To summarize: All six of my opponent's contentions have been shown to be irrelevant, fallacious, immoral, or some combination thereof--in essence, his case no longer exists--whereas my contention still stands. My opponent has failed to fulfill the Con burden as specified in Observation 3, whereas I have shown definitively that guns and the use of guns are immoral and should therefore banned.

I stand for any clarifications and await my opponent's rebuttal and voting issues.
Debate Round No. 2
snake

Con

First of all i would like to thank my opponent for an excellent debate.
I will now dispute my opponents arguments.
First of all i dont know where my opponents definition of morality came from but mine came from the dictionary.
Second of all my opponent said that "The intent of a gun is to cause harm to its target; in a deontological view guns are therefore inherently immoral." I disagree, as the saying goes "guns dont kill people, people kill people." You can not make an object immoral just because of how people use it. I believe that i have proven in all of my arguments put together that guns are moral.
tochter_aus_elysium

Pro

I thank my opponent for presenting his closing argument.

I will first address my opponent's criticisms and then present voting issues.

1) I apologize for not posting sources and for any resulting confusion. Information on deontological ethics may be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu...). Further reading on Kant's categorical imperative, which is related to the argument from deontology, can be found here (http://plato.stanford.edu...). Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience. As my opponent's definition of morality was too vague for an argument and he fails to clarify his form of morality or refute the framework offered, morality shall be defined in terms of deontological ethics for this debate.

2) As the morality of an action in this debate is judged on a deontological basis, the consequences of an action have no impact upon the inherent morality of an action. In fact, people's use of guns does not even enter into a deontological discussion--the argument here is that the purpose of a gun is to inflict harm. I have shown (Round 2 Para. 3) that guns are designed to propel objects into another object--in the context of this debate, a person--that is their primary function. My opponent does not dispute that statement in his rebuttal. In the view of deontological ethics, then, guns are immoral because they are designed to cause harm.

My opponent has failed to affirm any of the contentions offered in the initial Con constructive, therefore he has no case remaining, as my refutations of his contentions have not been disputed. Because none of my opponent's contentions stand, he therefore cannot fulfill the Con burden proposed and accepted in the third observation.

Of the eight rebuttals or reaffirmations presented in the second round Pro rebuttal, my opponent has only made one attempt at a refutation, which I have addressed above. In this case, all of my contentions can be extended from the initial round, while none of my opponent's arguments can, and I have therefore satisfied the self-imposed Pro burden that the banning of guns is consistent with a deontological form of morality.

For the above reasons, I therefore urge you to vote PRO.

I thank my opponent for a constructive debate.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Grape 7 years ago
Grape
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Vote Placed by snake 7 years ago
snake
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