The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 320 times Debate No: 87015
Debate Rounds (5)
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First round is acceptance only. Thank you.


I accept against banning private gun ownership.
Debate Round No. 1


I will start with the criterion, health. If I can fulfill this criterion I win the debate.

Moving on to my points.

P1: Handguns kill.
Handguns are the main suspect involving firearm deaths, and of all firearm related crime ever, handguns have been involved more than 85% of the time.

Statistics from the Violence Policy Center show that handguns were used in 650,000 of the 1 million gun deaths since 1962. These deaths are made up mostly of homicide and suicide.

Subpoint A - Homicide.
Handguns were used in 55.6% of the more than 110,000 homicides from 1990 to 1997, more than all other weapons combined in that period. On average, if someone is shot and killed, it will 4 out of 5 times be handguns. A specific example of this is in 1997, where handguns accounted for 79.4% of all firearm related deaths. Other countries, because of their restriction on handguns, have much, much less handgun death. The U.S. has over 10,000 gun homicides, compared to Canada"s less than 200, Germany, Italy, and France"s less than 100, and Japan"s less than 50. This proves that homicide is extremely bad, but if we ban handguns, homicide will dramatically decrease.

Subpoint B - Suicide.
Handgun homicide is very present and extremely bad, but suicide is actually the largest category in firearms fatality. The deadly link between handgun ownership and suicide was decisively established in a 1999 study of California handgun purchasers showing that the suicide rate during the first week after the purchase of a handgun is 57 times higher than for the population as a whole. During the first year after purchase, suicide remained the leading cause of death among handgun purchasers. 6 out of 10 times suicides are committed with a handgun, and in fact, handguns are used twice as often as shotguns and rifles for suicide, according to the Violence Policy Center. People living in households containing handguns are nearly five times as likely to commit suicide compared to households not containing handguns. This happens because handguns are an immediate suicide weapon, being easy to use and have. Many people who live with handguns commit suicide before even thinking about it, and that leads to young men and women who could have lived great lives not thinking about their decisions and committing suicide immediately because they can do it so quickly.

Moving on to my second point.
P2: Handguns promote a culture of gun violence.
Many parents of young children have handguns, which makes kids numb to the violence that the handgun creates. There have been many situations in which handguns were in the household and children used them, whether purposely or accidentally, to kill and injure others.

An example of this is a three-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio who shot and killed a one-year-old boy after picking up a handgun that had been left unattended inside a home on April 12, 2015. The infant was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to the head but was later pronounced dead, reports the Associated Press. Investigators were trying to determine where the gun came from, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters. Williams said there was at least one adult home when the incident happened. "It"s a sad day for Cleveland," said Williams. "This fascination that we have with handguns, not just in this city but in this country, has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life."

To explain this is Phyllis F. Agran, who says in his book, "Injuries to Children: The Relationship of Child Development to Prevention Strategies"
Injuries to children from firearms is largely a problem of the proliferation of handguns and the acceptance of handgun violence in our culture. There are an estimated 50 million guns in America, including tens of millions kept in households in which there are children. The young child does not understand the danger of the real object or the difference between it and a toy gun. While "playing" with the family gun, one child somehow kills another child. As for the adolescent who has grown up in our "gun culture," the handgun is all too often seen as the quick solution to conflict.

For these reasons, vote Pro.


Guns kill there is no question about that. The debate is over if we should ban handguns in the United States. I say no for several reasons.
1. Try and take any type of guns away from people in the southern states or any state really, this will cause not only riots but a revolution. The citizens will uprise.
2. Mental health is a far more accurate. Medicate and treating the mentally ill will bring the gun-related homicide and suicide numbers down. If you are going to kill yourself obviously, you have some mental instability. Same with mass shooters and the mentally ill gun owners.
3. Mandatory gun safety classes for all gun owners should be implicated especially if they have children.
4. If someone wants to kill someone, banning handguns is not going to prevent them from killing another. We can't outlaw knives, our hands, any blunt objects can we?
5. In 2013, around 2.6 million people died in total. A little over 30k died from firearm injuries, not all were handgun related. Seems there are more important things to ban such as prescription medication since people overdose far more than they get shot.
6. Banning handguns will not stop crime, criminals will just get more inventive.
Debate Round No. 2


First of all, my opponent has not refuted any of my points. Extend.

Voters, please ignore my opponent's 1, 2, 3, and 6, as they do not have any sources or examples for the reasoning. Although I just said this, I will refute them anyways, in the case that you don't take my recommendation.

For 1: Has this ever happened with any other banned item? Just because marijuana is banned in some places doesn't make everyone revolt and riot against the government; that's just speculation and ridiculous.

For 2: This is again speculation. How do we know that everyone who kills themselves has a mental illness? It simply isn't true.

For 3: How would we enforce this? Just thinking about it, it is common sense that this would also cost a lot of money.

For 4: Handguns are the ideal kill weapon, according to the Violence Policy Center. They are concealable and easy to use. One would not be able to do anything if they were to walk into a place with a knife, which is easily avoidable, but using a handgun is simple and effective at killing.

For 5: This is completely untrue. Nothing in the source linked shows anything about firearm injury, or handgun relation. Voters, I urge you to check the link cited.

For 6: This is also simply speculation. My opponent has not provided any examples of this happening.

Again, my opponent has not refuted any of my points, so they remain standing.

Vote Pro.


FeistyBroad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


You're pretty bossy toward the voters. ...

1. Handguns may kill but there is absolutely NO evidence saying that handguns are the firearm of choice in crimes. You provide no evidence except a biased source that's not credible. "The Violence Policy Center" is not a reliable source, often stating exaggerated information regarding handguns.
I posted the FBI site on guns, that's very credible and also gives you accurate information.

Sub A....Do you have any studies more recent than 20 years ago? 1996 is hardly now. In fact, the pdf file you pulled that from does not even mention handguns. The FBI site does show the most deaths with handguns. I won't deny that. People will still kill even if handguns are banned, there are murders happening without the use of handguns. Knives are used, drowning, fire, fists....should we ban water, knives, matches, and fists as well? Funny enough there are fewer homicides today than in 96.

Sub B....Your facts on suicide are taken from a study done in 1991 in one state. Which make them pretty irrelevant today. However, suicide is done in many ways. There is no current evidence for handguns in suicide. All firearms, yes but not handguns. Connecticut's suicide-by-firearm rate declined after permits were required to purchase guns. In Missouri after the permits were declined by the state, the suicide rate went up. It makes far more sense to require a permit to purchase a handgun than ban them completely. Suicide will happen anyway, with or without a gun, just like murder. Can't ban ropes, people use those to commit suicide as well.

Your second point about owning handguns promotes violence, that's pure speculation you can not say that a parent owning a handgun promotes violence. There could be many other factors for a child to be numb to violence such as Internet and television. Also, the irresponsible gun owners are at fault here. Children should not have access to a handgun or any weapon. Banning guns because a few people are idiots seems irrational. That's like saying ban cars because there are car crashes or there are bad drivers.

As for my rebuttal
1. This is a sheriff in Maryland *just one person*, watch what he says about taking his guns away.
Marijuana is illegal in several states is it not? Yet people still get it, how does that happen. You think when they "take the handguns" they'll get them all? That's just naive. A criminal and non-criminals will find a way to get what they want. Look at drug abusers. All you have to do is what will happen if we hate guns away. Every insane blog, website, gun toting crazy is on there saying what they'll do. It's pretty scary actually.

2. 90% of people who commit suicide have depression which is a mental illness. Not all mentally ill are accounted for.

3. You enforce it easily, they can't purchase a handgun or any gun without taking a safety class. Permits in all states should be mandatory as well. This should have already been a mandatory item in place. Gun safety should always be a top priority. It would cost the person wanting to obtain the handgun. Why should the government or our tax dollars pay for someone who wants to own a gun? It's not a necessity, if they really want a handgun they'll pay. Would create more jobs as well for people training gun owners.

4. Kind of an overkill people will kill with or without guns. If someone wants to murder someone they will do it by any means necessary. I guess we agree to disagree here because they'll just use a shotgun or a knife or any other means.

5. This is not false actually I was off by 20k, homicides than I posted which actually hurt your case. Check the CDC for all deaths related to anything but murder almost 2.6 million deaths Then look at the FBI site 5,782 murders by handgun. Total homicides in 2013 were 12,253. If you look at the FBI chart, handgun homicide is down. It seems it's improving.

6. The evidence is there, homicides are not only committed by handguns...
Other guns969397116123
Firearms, type not stated1,8281,9331,6111,7691,956
Knives or cutting instruments1,8361,7321,7161,6041,490
Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)623549502522428
Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)1817769751707687
Other weapons or weapons not stated904872858802850

People will still get handguns if they're banned, but it won't matter because handguns are not the only way to kill someone. Guns are out there already, there is no going back now.
This is also covered under our second amendment the right to bear arms.
It's entirely too late, guns are out there already. This is why I'm against taking handguns from people. It will cause more problems than the country is prepared to deal with at this time.
Debate Round No. 4


Thank you to my opponent for their case.

First of all, my opponent says that the information from the Violence Policy Center is unreliable, however they get this claim from a website called "justfacts". Does this sound reliable to you, voters?

I will now defend my case.

My opponent says that the pdf mentioned in my case doesn't mention handguns, but in the sentence right after that he says that it does show deaths with handguns. Pretty contradictory. Also, my opponent mentions that knives, drowning, fire, and fists are also used to kill, but do these amount to the total homicides by handguns? No, they don't, in fact even the numbers my opponent brings up show that handguns kill much more than any other weapon. Also, do you use handguns for any other purpose besides shooting? No. You drink water to live, and cook with fire to help with life. The argument brought up by my opponent is ludicrous at best.

My opponent says that my statistics on handgun suicide are just from a single state, and yes, they are. However, California is just a single example of suicide with handguns. My opponent also says that there is no current evidence for handgun suicide. This is completely false. According to the NY times, "More than 60 percent of people in this country who die from guns die by suicide.", and according to Newsweek, "Gun suicide has a completion rate of 85 percent." This is because of the previously explained easy access to the handgun. Guns make suicide too easy. Public health experts say ready access to firearms makes it easier for people to act on suicidal thoughts. And about 85 percent of suicide attempts that involve guns are successful, compared with less than 3 percent of those involving drug overdoses. Over all, guns were used in about half of the 41,000 suicides in 2013, according to the New York Times.

My opponent also brings up very contradictory evidence within Missouri. They said that "after the permits were declined by the state, suicide rate went up". This proves my point. Gun regulations were declined, which means more people had guns, so more people committed suicide. Also, the claim that "suicide will happen anyway, with or without a gun, just like murder. Can't ban ropes, people use those to commit suicide as well" is completely speculation. Also, referring back to what I have said previously, ropes are used for many other things. Plus, as I have states, guns were used in about half of the 41,000 suicides in 2013, suffocation had about half of firearms, at just 10,000 according to the CDC.

My opponent says "90% of people who commit suicide have depression which is a mental illness". Not only do they provide no source for this, but I can also refute it. My opponent says that depression is a mental illness, however what my opponent is truly talking about is transient depression. It is much more common, and is just for a period of time. Let's say a family member of mine dies. I would then spiral into transient depression, being very sad for a period of time. Normally, I would wait it out, but with a handgun, I can commit suicide so easily and fast that I do it without thinking. Bang. Another person dead.

Again, the statistics my opponent mentions help my case. Handgun homicide is the biggest category of homicide, as stated by my opponent in their statistics. Handguns are the perfect homicide tool, easily concealable and easy to use.

My opponent did not refute my second point. Extend.

I have already won this debate, but I am going to bring in a new point anyways.

P3: Accidental death.
Accidents are very common when it comes to handgun death.
There were "500 Accidental Deaths/unintentional gun deaths in 2013", according to the US Center for Disease Control. Eliminating handguns saves these lives, as an estimated 81% of gun deaths are attributable to handguns, according to the Heller vs. DC case conducted by the supreme court.

Kids can also often find handguns and use them accidentally. A toddler in America shoots someone on average once a week because handguns are so easy to pick up and fire. That means 52 people are shot by toddlers in America each year because of handguns. Nicholas Kristof, NYT 1/7/16

This goes back to my second point, where a 3 year old shot and killed a 1 year old with a family handgun accidentally. Even Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters. Williams said there was at least one adult home when the incident happened. "It"s a sad day for Cleveland," said Williams. "This fascination that we have with handguns, not just in this city but in this country, has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life."

Vote Pro.


You are very arrogant to think you won anything. Voters please choose whoever you want and don't be bullied by my opponent.

You have given no solid evidence that banning handguns will cause any improvement. In fact, there is no way you could possibly show any evidence that banning handguns will make things better because it won't. As you said before drugs are outlawed yet you can still get drugs. Handguns will just go underground causing more crime.

Your new point on accidental death is not accurate, again you're not listing your sources. I have had to research your "claims" on my own and they are all 10-20 years old.

Banning handguns will only make things worse. You can not let people legally have something and take it away with no backlash. Look what happened with drugs. The War On Drugs cost this country billions and made drug use and drug smuggling a normal occurrence. Not only that, but it brings violence.

If you are a gun owner you are responsible for that weapon. If a child obtains your firearm that is the owners responsibility no one else. A child could also run into a fireplace are we going to ban them as well? Your points are invalid when it comes to safety. A safe law abiding gun owner will not put their children at risk with their handgun. Many people own handguns and have never had any issues you are claiming.

There is absolutely no proof that banning handguns will lower the amount of suicide in the US.

Protection is a big part of this as well. If someone breaks into a house and has a gun, the victim is supposed to lay down and take it?

What banning handguns will do is give criminals an advantage over the average citizen. Taking Americans rights away never works to anyone's advantage.

Banning or making something illegal does not get rid of the problem, it brings forth added problems. Banning costs taxpayers millions if not billions. It will even bring about more smuggling from places like Mexico and South America.

The War On Drugs did not work. What makes you think the war on handguns will?

There is no reason to change the US Constitution over handguns. Crime and homicide have improved and 60% of legal gun owners own guns for protection while the remaining 40% own guns for hunting use. How is this a problem?

Out of 6.2 million deaths, only 5k were related to handguns in 2013. It sounds like natural selection to me.

Next my opponent will want to ban food with any fat because it causes heart attacks, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Actual statistics from countries that have banned handguns.....

United Kingdom: The UK enacted its handgun ban in 1996. From 1990 until the ban was enacted, the homicide rate fluctuated between 10.9 and 13 homicides per million. After the ban was enacted, homicides trended up until they reached a peak of 18.0 in 2003. Since 2003, which incidentally was about the time the British government flooded the country with 20,000 more cops, the homicide rate has fallen to 11.1 in 2010. In other words, the 15-year experiment in a handgun ban has achieved absolutely nothing.

Ireland: Ireland banned firearms in 1972. Ireland"s homicide rate was fairly static going all the way back to 1945. In that period, it fluctuated between 0.1 and 0.6 per 100,000 people. Immediately after the ban, the murder rate shot up to 1.6 per 100,000 people in 1975. It then dropped back down to 0.4. It has trended up, reaching 1.4 in 2007.

Australia: Australia enacted its gun ban in 1996. Murders have basically run flat, seeing only a small spike after the ban and then returning almost immediately to pre-ban numbers. It is currently trending down but is within the fluctuations exhibited in other nations.

In conclusion I am (Con) against banning handguns, there is no evidence that banning them will solve any issues my opponent listed during this debate.
Bad people will always have guns, good people should always be able to protect themselves from the bad.
Any law abiding citizen that has a registered handgun is not the problem anyway. It's the criminals that are the problem...Oh, I know let's ban criminals.

Thank you for the debate and good luck.
Debate Round No. 5
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