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The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 923 times Debate No: 84440
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




This will be a Lincoln Douglas style debate. First round is presenting case, and so on and so forth

In spite of background checks and waiting periods, Christopher Harper-Mercer purchased a handgun, and on October 1st of last year, systematically executed his Christian classmates at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. This disrespect for human life should not be tolerated. I therefore affirm Resolved: In the United States, Private Ownership of Handguns Ought To Be Banned.
Before I begin, I would like to offer a few definitions to add clarity to this round.
Private Ownership: being owned by a private individual or organization, rather than by the state or a public body (Collins English Dictionary)
Handgun: "a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having: a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s)."S10; (ATF)
The Value Today Will Be Deontology, the theory of duty formulated by Immanuel Kant. In this theory, he claimed that actions are morally wrong if they are inconsistent with the status of a person as a free rational being, and only those acts that further people as free and rational beings are morally right. Therefore, the goal of justice is that we all have an absolute duty to avoid acts that treat people as a means to some other end and to perform acts that affirm people as ends themselves This value should be preferred on a basis of respect for life. Human life is the precondition for all values attributed to persons and has been referred to as "an almost absolute value in history." The need to protect human life is regarded as basic, constitutive elements of the moral life of any society. Essentially, Kant"s theory holds life to the highest regard, making it the paramount goal of this debate.
The Criterion Today Will Be The Categorical Imperative, the mechanism that Kant formulated to establish moral rules. The imperative consists of two pillars. 1) Act so that you can at the same time will your maxim should become a universal law, and (2) Act so that you treat humanity, both yourself and others, never merely as a means, but always as an ends. This introduces a test of universality to be used when assessing the moral correctness of an agent"s action. Simply put, we must weigh the round on whether or not each side can achieve the absolute standard of treating people as people, not as a step to a further objective. By using the categorical imperative, we can outline that the correct moral judgement of this debate would be to ban private ownership of handguns, as outlined in 2 contentions

Contention 1: A Lack of Handgun Bans Is Inconsistent With The Categorical Imperative.

Subpoint A: The United States Embodies Militarism There isn"t any objection to the fact that the United States is the greatest military power in the world. While this comes with some benefits, the consequences are disastrous. As a country and society, we have become engulfed in militarism, defined by David Kinsella as disposition to"employ military over non-military means of conflict resolution."Because gun ownership represents a disposition to employ violence, it perpetuates this militaristic mindset. Carl Boggs elaborates, writing that "Due to decades of conflict, foreign and domestic, the United States has become the hub of global violence, gang warfare, domestic violence, spontaneous outbursts of youth violence like the one at Columbine High School, and a mass media saturated with images of violence and bloodshed. Linkage between military and civilian forms of violence has come to play in politics, the economy, culture, media, and everyday life since the brutally violent culture has been ingrained into the people of the United States. People are taught to behave like those who are most respected in society, and the military is at the top of that pecking order in America. Politicians put the military on a pedestal while the media downplays their atrocities Due to this, American citizens are think that the way to resolve a conflict is by force, or that knee-jerk military action. If governmental elites appear as regular purveyors of death and destruction, an ethos of violence can be expected to develop as ordinary people follow the lessons taught by the power structure. As a result, a quarter-century of war has polluted American politics, culture and media with the glorification of military violence, and the normalization of everyday violence waged against black youth, immigrants, and others considered disposable, which ultimately promotes individual and small-group violence. Essentially, we"ve become so socialized into a culture that values violence as a solution that we view attack as the primary means of conflict resolution. Our foreign affairs and violent interventions have corrupted Americans to believe in the concept of "us v.s. the world", which has resulted in heightened rates of homicide, domestic violence, and aggression throughout society. Handgun ownership only contributes to this

Subpoint B: Handgun Ownership Exacerbates Militarism
Handguns are commonly associated with defense, and as a result contribute to violence in society. When first developed, according to Historian Michael Bellesiles, Samuel Colt inventor of the handgun had hit on the perfect weapon for gun culture. His revolvers were inexpensive, fired several rounds quickly, negating the need for skill, and we easy to conceal. In short, they were intended for personal use in violent situations. Unable to discover demand for this weaponry, Colt created one. He engraved his guns with heroic scenes, such as a man protecting his wife and children against a pack of savages, armed only with a Colt revolver. We still see this disposition associated with handguns today. As a matter of fact, protection, according to PEW research center, is now the reason that handgun ownership is so common, and as a result, society has become more militarized. Shootings like the one at UCC are symptomatic of a society engulfed in fear, militarism, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and a growing disdain for human life. As the public collapses into these individualized values of a war hungry culture and the lure of private defense, American society flirts with forms of irrationality that are at the heart of every-day aggression and the withering of public life. Handgun ownership only sustains this. According to Dr. Phyllis F. Agran, "For the adolescent who has grown up in our "gun culture," the handgun is all too often seen as the quick solution to conflict, and there has been increased incidence of handgun suicide and homicide among adolescents, ages 15-24." The violent connotation of handguns was further confirmed by psychologist Craig A. Anderson, who found that the mere presence of a firearm primes aggressive behavior. Guns in particular, due to their association with violent behavior, reinforced through common experiences in movies, television, and front-page stories, are linked closely with aggression-related concepts. .This militarism in itself does not respect human beings, and as shown by the evidence, handgun ownership only supports this mindset. It views lives primarily as a means to security, not as ends themselves. We therefore have a universal obligation to oppose this dystopian mindset as I will outline in my second contention.

Contention 2: Handgun Bans Are Consistent With The Categorical Imperative
As established by the prior contention, militarism has pervaded our concepts of security and defense. To adequately address this, we need to begin combating this idea, which begins with instituting a ban on handguns. Levi Asher writes on the subject stating that The world remains war-torn, and many Americans believe the country is surrounded by military threats. This has led to "muscling up" against all possible threats, a practice that has gotten badly out of hand. Our nation muscles up with big weapons, and the people muscle up with guns. There must be a psychological tie between hysterical militarism and hysterical gun violence, and American paranoia caused by a perception of constant global warfare must be a subconscious cause of our obsession with guns. Militarism is gun violence. Look to the example of Dylann Roof or Harper-Mercer, who went on an armed rampage, all because they had an idea they felt they should take up arms for. The lesson to be learned from this is is that action needs to taken to combat the militarism in society. While taking away handguns will not ultimately solve this issue, it is clearly the most crucial step in doing. Reid Rusonik elaborates, The symbolism of coming together to say we will do everything possible to eliminate the means by which our precious young are destroying each other would send a powerful message that we do think these young men have great worth. We really don't have to live with handgun violence. It does not have to be part of life. We can evolve past it. Judge, what we can take from this is that a handgun ban will provide a remedy for the issue of militarism in the United States. To ultimately achieve respect of persons, we need to put people in a position in which their respect as persons is acknowledged


Hello ladies and gentlemen, I will be the con for this lovely, and sure to be entertaining debate. As stipulated somewhat by the first round rules the pro laid out, I WILL NOT make any rebuttals in this first round, but more so will lay down my strong contentions which consists of A: Defending human rights such as the 2nd amendment. B: Defending the handguns themselves. C: Illustrating the positives of having Handguns and D: Provide some psychological arguments, and go over some consequences if handguns were to be banned.

So here we are as a nation torn apart due to the events happening in lets say the last 20 years give or take. There's been a lot of changes, and there has been a lot of up and downs and as we progress here in the United States, one thing should be crystal clear and rather obvious, and that is: we the people are slowly losing the rights we have as citizens. I think it's important to realize that we're always going to have bad people in this world, and face terror attacks. I also think it's important to realize that no matter how many apples there may be, there is way more many GOOD apples in the basket, and that is a fact. So what I'm essentially saying to make this easy to understand is that there are more good people who own handguns than there are bad ones that make up only a small part of this huge majority that does behave and follow the laws.
So to me, it's very narrow minded to even consider banning handguns just because you see multiple bad stories on the news but did you know that there are many good stories being told about people using handguns to protect themselves or save others? Did you know that? You probably didn't because the media doesn't really like to write out those articles and it's sad OH but wait, could there be an underlining secret such as a hidden agenda they have? Have you guys ever thought about that? Also, while the pro linked out a lot of negative stories, I will in return send everyone a link to also check out (credit to the guy in the comments for posting this). I mean honestly, I SHOULDN'T have to link you guys such stories about handguns saving lives, but there is some people in this world that are blinded by what the media tells them.
Lets go a little deeper shall we? Most of the school shootings don't even involve handguns, they involve assault Rifles (columbine) also a shotgun and so many others. Sure, handguns may have been present, but most of the victims were riddled with assault rifles (Colorado theater shooting although handguns were present, everyone was killed by assault weapons), and I will bring this back up in round 2 for my rebuttals, but for now, will continue on. So, most involve assault rifles, and lets keep going. Lets talk about the psychological effects the media has on people, and terror organizations like ISIS who do these horrible things in such massive genocidal events. Did you know that ISIS wants you to be afraid? Granted, ISIS is using assault weapons too, but these events that keep happening, whether it's US related or not, it's safe to say that one hidden agenda is to scare you away from guns, and protecting yourselves! Are we going to let ISIS win? Are we we? Are we going to let the media fool us and scare us to believing that handguns are the problem when in fact there are so many beautiful stories where they have saved many lives?

We all know the negatives of having handguns, the media and news outlets paint that picture well as I said above, and not to beat that dead horse, but you have to go back to the subject of that and think about it what they are doing to you guys when they make these click bait articles to fire you up, and get you to ticking and thinking irrational. The positives of having a handgun is quite obvious, I do not need to list them, but again, some people are brainwashed into thinking they are bad. Take for example someone breaking into your house. Are you going to grab a kitchen knife, or would you feel more safer in the situation at the very least with a handgun? Answer that honestly to yourself. Not to mention, there are many public stories that don't see the light of day where robberies were taking place and a normal citizen like you and me had the handgun to stop the robberies from taking place.

To me, handguns aren't the problem. It's the people who do these terrible things that are the problem. There should definitely be no doubt better background checks, psychological testing in which case test someones temper, and just all sorts of testings done (it might be a little more costy sure, but it sure as hell beats all the black markets you will see if you were to ban guns). Also, how is it fair to ban handguns now? There is so many people in this country that own a handgun, so now are we just going to flat out ban them and give potential bad people who own them a advantage point over someone who's considering buying a gun for protection? There is no way it would be right in today's age to ban handguns period. Maybe back then, like way back then it could have happened, and would have worked, but today? Never. Not a chance.

The crime today is going up, but not because of handguns, but I would argue due to the media brainwashing citizens, and (accidentally) by not fault of their own (I hope) promoting violence like copycats who want their 15 minutes of fame on TV for doing something wrong because the person before them were able to get 15 minutes of fame. Also, lets not forget these other organizations who promote violence like the #blacklivesmatter group who is nothing more than just a terror group using what goes on in the news to exploit, and carry out a hidden agenda (getting more blacks to be more aggressive) and the crime rate just keeps going up. Lets not forget the criminal system by court of law is very weak. People get a slap on the wrist (and we are talking strictly USA laws here, and I am quite aware of how peaceful Norway is and how weak their system is but how it yet works so well which is due to the culture, and yadda yadda) but I digress, and do not want to stray from the topic at hand here which is violence is being promoted through organizations, and news outlets.

Not just that, but video games, music, TV, all of which consists of more violence than ever before. Parents raising their children in the worst way possible, economy going down, hoods not progressing but rather staying the same as they are. Do you really expect crime rates to drop given all this stuff going on? Stuff you could list off for days in.

This has been said so many times, and I hate to say this myself, but its true. Guns do not kill people, but people kill people. Did anyone read the story about the man in Japan or China who took a knife into a crowded area and ended up injuring over 30 different people or more? That didn't involve a handgun did it? These big manufacturers who make these guns aren't going to stop because there is money to be made. So what would really happen is criminals would be able to get these guns a lot more easier than they already do.

If anything, this should all be alarming of how our freedom is being threatened, and being scared is not the way to go about things. We need to be stronger as a nation. Because if you look at the bill of rights and how they are getting stripped a little down year after year, it should be scary if anything cause citizens are giving in just for that supposed protection of having stuff banned or outlawed like handguns rather when all it would do it amplify the problem and make things much worse. I mean, we are already losing amendment one slowly which is our right to free speech. Do you think you that right has been the same after all these years? NO. You can't go to town without having to be politically correct. Amendment #2 the right to bear arms has been getting adjusted. Assault rifles are currently being banned, and it's just going to keep getting worse if the people remain afraid.

I would argue that parents need to raise their kids better. Argue that there should be a change in black culture, particularly in ghettos. Again, most of these crimes are happening due to the social constructs of our society. The violence on TV, the violence in video games (and yeah I love GTA to death like anyone else) but you just cant have your kids constantly playing those games, or even worse, without moderation. You should sit kids down, and tell them the differences between what they see on TV, and what they see in the real, and explain to them the very consequences of doing such acts in the real world. It's sickening that life has become this way, but that's to be expected because again, with sunshine, you have to have rain. With the good, you have to have bad. What I am trying to say here folks is that this is a double edged sword, and you can't just look at it one way because it's more than that. What about all those good stories where a handgun was used to save a life? Are we going to not pay attention to those heroes? It's a slap in the face really, basically those actions were for nothing! Why does it have to be that way? Because..... Because.... The media says.

Again, to give up our guns is to give in and due whats expected by the terrorist, and media. To give up our guns is to lose our amendment that our founding fathers worked hard to provide.

There's always going to be two sides to a book. Social media is always going to be a two sided book, and trick you. That's the price you have to pay, just because there is a few bad apples here and there does not warrant the good apples having to suffer because so. How many of you hated getting homework whenever some spoiled little kid in class wouldn't shut up and kept talking? Was it fair that the whole class got homework? No.

So with that said, I look forward to round 2, listing my rebuttals, defending what i had to say.
Debate Round No. 1


Tate.V forfeited this round.


Sadly it looks like the pro decided to concede this debate which would have been a really good debate.

However, I do want to mention something I didn't in round 1, and it's a point I want to make about the media getting inside your heads.

Before the 1930's, Marijuana or as we know it today "Weed" was legal pretty much. However, after the 1930's, things changed cause you see, there was this guy who was the head of the federal of narcotics, and well, that guy decided to make a strong movement against this drug. He figured if he called it Marijuana, it would seem scary to the public, and make them afraid. Guess what happened next? There were newspapers about how this drug destroys your brain and makes you go crazy. I mean this continued until it became illegal to smoke weed.

Fast forward today, and we know that Weed in itself has many positive uses. MANY. It can treat a variety of medical conditions, calm some people down, and above all, there is pretty much no chance to overdose from Weed, and I don't know if there is even one single case of someone overdosing from it on the internet.

Now we are slowly seeing Weed become legal in every state, slowly, and it wasn't so bad after all. People were just afraid and believed it was bad. Sure, it's not completely positive, just like Handguns, but the point is, no one looks at the positives in life, and focuses on the negatives. People are quick to believe what the media says.

I can ramble on about this forever, but seeing that the Pro decided he doesn't want to continue, please vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Tate.V forfeited this round.


Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Kierhein 9 months ago
If this debate isn't accepted by tomorrow, I will take you up on it.
Posted by Tate.V 9 months ago
Don't worry about it man, I'm just trying to get some practice for a tournament and I'd be super grateful for a round
Posted by Sam7411 9 months ago
Wish I could debate this, but as a freshman in high school I doubt that I have the experience and knowledge in sociology etc., to discuss the ownership of guns through Utopian ideals, and the theories of certain individuals.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times, so conduct to Con.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct due to FFs. Pro makes the case for militarism, but never touches on crime and self defense which the Con adequately brings up as a reason. Further more, Con demonstrates a well thought out (and unrefuted) approach to fear and rash decisions. While its Not entirely a strong argument, it beats "FF", hands down, and carries what to me is most convincing, that being research to a position before hasty solutions is implemented that could be unconstitutional and not work to begin with.