I as Pro, will be arguing for a gun ban in the United States, and my opponent, Gmork, as Con, will be arguing against a gun ban.
R2: Opening Arguments
Gun Ban: Illegal to purchase, possess, or transport firearms.
Look forward to a good debate!
It should be noted that this is for the beginners tournament.
A) Gun Storage
Harvard Injury Control Research Center analyzed a number of national random-digit dial telephone surveys and found that,
“Many gun owners report storing their guns loaded and unlocked. Gun training is often associated with an increased likelihood of storing firearms in this manner.” And that, “Some 400 parents with firearms in the home responded to questions about firearms storage. Over 20% of parents had a loaded firearm and 8% stored at least one firearm loaded and unlocked. Households with teenagers were somewhat more likely to store firearms unsafely.”
In, “a national random telephone survey of 2,770 adults… of the 392 respondents who had at least one child and one firearm in the home, 22 percent had a loaded gun, 32 percent had an unlocked gun and 8 percent had a gun stored loaded and unlocked.”
“More than 1.6 million U.S. children live in homes with firearms that are stored loaded and unlocked. Because the guns used in youth suicides and unintentional injuries primarily come from victims’ homes, storage practices that allow for easy access to a firearm pose a threat to the safety of young people.”
Via the inability to store firearms properly; a teenager going through the extremely difficult time of adolescence has easy access to a weapon that they should not have. Whether that means that they bring it to school to show off to friends, to kill numerous classmates, or to kill themselves. Now while a substantial amount of teenagers wouldn’t take advantage of this easy access for harmful uses, the fact that any amount could is too many.
This easy access to firearms poses many other problems as well. Anyone with a mental disability, or falsely identifying a friend/family as an intruder, or someone who is drunk, someone who is on drugs (not in their right mind), a marital fight, a toddler or young child mistaking it for a toy, etc. could all end in an unwanted death.
This ease of access to firearms spawns more homicides, more suicides, more accidental shootings, and more deaths.
B) Firearms & Suicide
“Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and suicide across states, 1999-2001. States with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm suicide and overall suicide. This relationship held for both genders and all age groups. It remained true after accounting for poverty, urbanization and unemployment…states with more guns had higher rates of suicide.”
Owning a gun is a dangerous possession to have; you will actually be three times more likely to choose to commit suicide than someone who doesn’t own a gun. (http://www.thedailybeast.com...)
“In 2010, 38,364 people killed themselves. In more than half of these cases, they used firearms. Indeed, more people in this country kill themselves with guns than with all other intentional means combined, including hanging, poisoning or overdose, jumping, or cutting. Though guns are not the most common method by which people attempt suicide, they are the most lethal. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death.”
What we can draw from the evidence is two things:
(1) Most suicides are done by firearms.
(2) Suicide by firearm is the most lethal method as 85% end in death.
Now while a ban on firearms will not decrease the amount of people that will commit suicide, it will save lives.
For every successful suicide by poison, there are 42 attempted suicides by poison. That’s a 2.38% fatality rate.
A 6% fatality rate, for around every 17 attempts, only 1 succeeds.
Overdose on Drugs:
A 12.3% fatality rate, for every 8 attempts, only one succeeds.
75% fatality rate, for every 4 attempts, 3 succeed.
If someone fails to commit suicide, they are rushed to a hospital where they are treated for their injuries. Then they are taken to get treatment to help their depression, this treatment works 80-90% of the time and the victim does not commit suicide again.
“Most suicide attempts do not result in death. Many of these attempts are done in a way that makes rescue possible. These attempts are often a cry for help."
Many people who commit suicide don’t actually want to die; they just want help with their problem. Having a suicide attempt less likely to be successful gives the victim the opportunity to seek help, fix their problem, and save their life. A ban on guns fixes this issue.
C2) Firearm Accidents
"In 2007, the United States suffered some 15,000-19,000 accidental shootings…American children under age 15 were nine times more likely to die of a gun accident than children in other advanced wealthy countries… About 200 Americans go to emergency rooms every day with gunshot wounds…”
Firearms are extremely deadly weapons; therefore extreme caution and responsibility are necessary when handling them. Despite the aggressive training required to get a license;
“Take a 14-hour course (8 hours classroom, 6 hours range) in the carrying and use of firearms given by a Bureau- certified firearms training instructor at a Bureau certified training facility… Pass the written and range exams given at the end of the course”
This goes to show that despite intensive training measures, gun accidents still occur.
Firearm accidents are also much more likely to occur than other harmful accidents. For example, poison containers come with lids that are generally more difficult to remove and knives require very solid pressure in certain areas on the body to be fatal, all a gun requires is a pull of the trigger.
Gun accidents are the worst kind of death; they are senseless, completely devoid of purpose. They leave the person who committed the act with a terrible sense of guilt that stays with them for the rest of their life.
With gun accidents sending 200 people to the emergency room every day, and thousands of people with gunshot wounds every year, we have to realize that guns are not worth the risk.
“Handgun purchase was more common among persons dying from… or homicide (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.7), and particularly among those dying from… or gun homicide (OR 3.3; 95% CI 2.1 to 5.3), than among controls. No such differences were seen for non-gun suicide or homicide… Handgun purchasers accounted for less than 1% of the study population but 2.4% of gun homicides, 14.2% of gun suicides, and 16.7% of unintentional gun deaths.”
The study concluded that; “Among adults who died in California in 1998, those dying from violence were more likely than those dying from non-injury causes to have purchased a handgun…legal purchase of a handgun appears to be associated with a long-lasting increased risk of violent death”
Evidence shows that the act of purchasing a handgun significantly increases your chances of a violent death. These statistics match what you would expect from a society where guns are legal. If someone is wielding a gun against an attacker who just wants to steal some items from their home, they are placing both themselves and the attacker at greater risk of death in the process.
“Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention.”
Of the 12, 765 murders in 2012; 8,855 of them were performed with guns. That’s 69.4% of all murders performed with a firearm.
If guns are banned, a murderer will have to use some other type of weapon that is less effective than a gun would be. A ban on guns would lower the effectiveness of murders and save the lives of murder victims.
The United States should enact a nation-wide ban on all firearms to; reduce suicide rates, reduce deaths from accidents, and reduce homicide rates.
Thank you to Pro for creating this debate.
Guns are a tool, and like any tool, it depends on how it is used. There are major pitfalls with America's "gun culture", but, as the saying goes, guns are not the problem, people are. Unfortunately, guns are a necessary evil in today's society, but banning guns in the USA would only put more people at risk in various ways.
If the USA were to eliminate all guns, that would leave our military, police, secret service, bounty hunters, and even private bodyguards very underpowered in the event the "enemy" has one for obvious reasons. The resolution states all guns are to be banned, which clearly would include them.
In the event Pro did not mean this, then Pro acknowledges the necessity of firearms for these people to combat whatever threat necessities the gun's presence. Whether that be a gang uprising, a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt, or just a run of the mill traffic stop gone bad, clearly there would be reason for police to carry firearms.
Why does Pro feel that these people are allowed to carry firearms, and not others? If the government allows these to use firearms, why not allow others that are deemed worthy to possess them, such as off-duty or retired police officers to protect against revenge plots by gangsters, random burglars, or even rapists targeting either them or someone in their proximity? Again, this further states there is a danger to citizens outside of uniform, and, again, a firearm is the solution. So, logically, ordinary citizens are in danger from threats as well, or could use them to protect others.
As such, Pro is either stating that guns either must be eliminated 100% by ALL Americans, or he is admitting the lack of guns puts the nation, law enforcement, and the general public itself at some risk to which firearm possession mitigates.
It is often cited that guns are for protection, and they are an equalizer. While this is true, it is often glossed over what this means. It protects in more than just shooting people, it can shoot things, and it can diffuse a situation by restoring the balance of power. In a world without guns, strength in numbers is just as overwhelming as brute strength. A woman approach by three men with intent on raping her is more likely to be gangraped than if she was approached by a lone would-be rapist. A gun can equalize the situation.
Further, defensive gun use has been shown to protect individuals and stop crime.
A new paper from the Violence Policy Center states that “for the five-year period 2007 through 2011, the total number of self-protective behaviors involving a firearm by victims of attempted or completed violent crimes or property crimes totaled only 338,700.” That comes to an annual average of 67,740
Using Pro's numbers and sources, this means that guns prevent or mitigate more crimes than guns are used to murder, accidentally shoot, or use for suicide. This is clearly a net benefit.
III. All firearms are not created equal and neither are their purposes
There is a world of difference between a fully automatic machine gun, a handgun, and a rifle, and there are a variety of uses. Aside from protection, guns are used to simply shoot....anything. It can be used for hunting, used for sport like skeet, or just a way to have fun and shoot a target. They can be a displayed and revered for historical purposes, they can offer piece of mind, and they can be used to blow off steam.
Pro wants to eliminate all the uses for guns, harmless or beneficial as they may be. I suppose Pro wants the rancher to use a bow and arrow to fend off bears, coyotes, wolfs, rabbits, and prairie dogs, as well as any human poachers or thieves. Gone will be the days of hunting deer or pheasants for meat. And those people in rural or desolate areas where help is not around the corner, well, they better be able to fend off their attacker by sheer wits and strength - it is not a surprise that Alaska and South Dakota have nearly a 100% higher rape rate than other states where populations are more concentrated. In fact, most rural states have a higher rape rate than urban states.
IV. Not all crimes use guns, but all criminals prefer to avoid guns
As mentioned before, a gun can be an equalizer, and many crimes are committed without guns. For example, let's take the husband that beats his wife routinely. No gun. But, if she had a gun, or a friend had a gun, they could put a stop to this behavior by merely threatening action. In the crimes that the culprits do not have a gun, a gun likely trumps their power, and they will retreat, looking for easier prey, or hopefully, rethink their lives.
Criminals often seek easy prey, for whatever their goal is: whether it is to simply rob someone for quick cash, steal some smokes at a gas station, or even if it is just to outright kill someone, randomly or otherwise. This is most noticeable in mass shootings that habitually occur in "gun-free" zones, such as schools, malls, theaters, and even military bases (which have guns, but they are not readily available). In the last five years, mass shootings occurred in gun-free zones 92% of the time.
Gun ownership has increased from 1992 to 2011, and the rate of violent crimes has fallen nearly 50%, the firearm murder rate dropped 39%, and criminal gun use lowered as well 69%.
Also, in this time, there has been "pro-gun legislation", such as "stand your ground" - which allows more leniency for victims to defend themselves instead of making them retreat, repeals of city-wide gun bans in Washington D.C. and New York City, and the wider acceptance of conceal carry laws. In other words, being a criminal is more dangerous than it used to, and as a result, crime has gone down.
Clearly, guns are not the problem, it's the way people use them - like with any other tool known to man.
Thank you Con for that presenting your case, I will now respond to each contention the best I can.
R1) Absurdity and Catch-22
My view is very reasonable; no one should be able to privately own a gun. Only police, law enforcement and the military should be owning or possessing guns, to advance the public welfare.
Ordinary citizens or body-guards do not need access to firearms because they already have access to many other methods of safety. For example, for burglary you could lock your door, install a security system, call the police, use another weapon, etc.
Con states that guns stop more crimes than they cause. This is absolutely false.
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (1973-2013) found that:
Out of the 29,618,300 violent crimes that were committed between the years 2007 and 2011, only 0.8% of the victims used a firearm in self-defense (the least used self-defense technique).
Even where access to guns is relatively easy, few people choose to use them in self defense. There are always going to be more criminals with guns than good people with guns. 100% of people in this country are at risk to gun violence.
This includes threatening the criminal with the weapon. If the victim of a crime only uses a firearm 0.8% of the time, it is hard to believe how firearms stop more crimes than homicide, accidental death, and suicides put together.
I would also like to point out that Con has no evidence to support his claim that guns prevent more crimes than they cause, therefore it holds no weight.
R3) All firearms are not created equal and neither are their purposes
Con asserts that firearms have other uses such as hunting, shooting targets, etc., and that taking away guns would take these beneficial uses for guns.
I would like to think that the lives taken by gun homicides, accidental shootings, and gun suicides are more important than the enjoyment that hunting, or shooting at targets may bring.
Con also says that guns are necessary for citizens that reside in rural areas, so that they can fight off bears and wolves. Yet the amount of deaths that occur from wolf attacks and bear attacks are extremely minimal.
The last bear attack was last year, in 2014. Several of these examples included people who had access to guns.
The last wolf attack was 5 years ago, in 2010.
If we are going to talk about deaths, we should address larger numbers and more consistency.
Con then mentions that Alaska and South Dakota have a higher rape rate than other states, he says that this is due to the fact that these states have lower population densities. Yet rape rates and population density have no correlation to each other.
If we believed that there was a correlation, we should expect to find a lower rape rate with states with more guns. Yet both of the states Con mentioned have extremely high gun ownership rates.
“More than 41,000 South Dakotans have permits to carry handguns or conceal them in their cars - the highest rate per capita in the nation…”
“The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, and Nevada... Alaska: Household Gun Ownership: 60.6 percent…”
Alaska and South Dakota both have very high gun ownership rates; as a result they then should have a low rape rate. Yet as Con mentioned, they have one of the highest rape rates in the country. If anything, a high gun ownership concentration in these states suggests a reverse correlation. That increased gun ownership could lead to increased rape rates through use by criminals.
R4) Not all crimes use guns, but all criminals prefer to avoid guns
As I mentioned in R2, firearms are rarely used by the victim to stop the crime, only 0.8% if the time to be exact.
“Criminals often seek easy prey, for whatever their goal is: whether it is to simply rob someone for quick cash...”
Yet the presence of a firearm immediately escalates the situation, what would have been a quick theft, is now a scenario where the victim and the criminal are both pointing a gun at each other and a loss of life is significantly more likely.
Con then makes the argument that criminals only pick on easy prey, which would explain why mass-shootings occur in gun-free zones 92% of the time. So it follows that we should arm the people to defend them against the shooters. Yet Con is completely wrong, it is actually the opposite.
“Epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”
This just goes to show how much of a bad idea Con is proposing. Doing what Con said would actually put victims of mass-shootings in more peril, 4.5 times more peril to be exact.
“A study conducted by Mother Jones found that, in 62 mass shootings over 32 years, there were exactly zero instances of a killer targeting a place because of a gun ban. New data from Mayors Against Illegal Guns confirm this point, by showing that in all 56 mass shootings between 2009 and 2013, “no more than one quarter of the shootings occurred in public spaces that were so-called ‘gun-free zones.” Neither the motive nor the location of a mass shooting, therefore, have anything to do with ‘gun-free zones...places like schools and offices are dense, populous environments that naturally attract shooters who seek to rectify perceived mistreatment or unfairness. That they happen to also be gun-free zones is coincidence.”
There is no correlation between mass-shootings and gun-free zones.
Con actually brought up more arguments in his conclusion, so hence this section.
Con states that increased gun ownership is the cause of decreased crime. This is utterly false.
Police funding cuts is just as likely a cause for the increase of crime.
“The nation’s law enforcement agencies are confronting severe budget cuts and unmanageable layoffs, and they are fundamentally changing how they keep the public safe… Over one-third of the agencies that applied for 2011 COPS officer hiring funding reported an operating budget drop of greater than 5 percent between 2009 and 2011… Nearly a quarter of American cities surveyed have made cuts to public safety budgets.”
Thank you Pro for your opening arguments. I present my rebuttal to them.
Pro talks about gun storage and how it may be linked to higher deaths, with no clear correlation. An unlocked gun in the drawer five feet from the ground is in no danger of being found by a toddler. Nor can Pro say definitively that these tragic consequences are even from improperly stored firearms. In a house where all individuals respect guns, there is no need to lock them. Similarly, in a house where the gun in locked in the safe, it is by no means impossible for a teen to acquire said gun. Proper storage does not automatically lead to safer houses, and his saying it leads to higher death counts is 1) a bare assertion with no proof, 2) implied concession that the current death tolls by guns are at the maximum, and 3) is an issue that can be remedied by legislation and does not require an outright ban. After all, automobiles are often misused with people texting and driving, and there is no talk about banning either cell phones or cars, merely greater enforcement of common sense legislation, whether it be distracted driving or gun storage laws.
Guns are effective in their lethality, there is no denying this, but to blame the gun for suicide rates is ridiculous. As Pro mentioned, suicide attempts are made every day, using a variety of methods. Pro's main argument boils down to the success rate, but cannot state with any certainty that without a gun, people would stop trying to, or succeed in, killing themselves.
Pro attempts to combine gun ownership, easy storage, and suicide as a correlation; however, UK is a country most applauded for its gun control policies, as evidenced in its 6.6 guns-per-100-residents rate, compared to USA's 88.6. In 2013, the suicide rate in the UK was 11.9 per 100,000, compared to 12.6 per 100,000. Clearly, the issue of suicide is not due to gun ownership, nor improper storage, and even if the latter, a complete ban is not in order.
Quote from Pro:
"In 2007, the United States suffered some 15,000-19,000 accidental shootings…American children under age 15 were nine times more likely to die of a gun accident than children in other advanced wealthy countries… About 200 Americans go to emergency rooms every day with gunshot wounds…”
This is fuzzy math. 19,000 accidental shootings is about 52 per day. So, the figure 200 per day is due to ALL gun shots, accidental or otherwise. 50% more children are poisoned each day than total Americans are shot, and some of those shot are by police, criminal activity, or even in defense of others.
In fact, ER visits in America from falling off ladders total 164,000, and result in 300 deaths. Ladders are half as deadly, but approximately 8x more injury inducing than accidental gun fire - should Ladders and poison be illegal, too?
Using Pro's source: http://www.infoplease.com...
Did anyone notice that with gun ownership going steadily up, the rate of murder by gun has stayed fairly constant since 1995 - ranging from 66.7% to 69.4%, all while the total number of murders, and total number of gun murders, drop from over 13,790 to less than 8,800? Pro needs to explain how there are more guns in homes, and yet, less murders, since his entire argument links the two together.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend guns don't present a problem in society, nor am I going to pretend they are not a dangerous tool; but they are just that - a tool. Pro has failed to establish a link that shows more guns equal more violence. With less guns, the UK is just as suicidal as the USA. With more guns, there are less murders in the USA. There are more dangerous tools out there that do more harm than guns, such as ladders, household cleaners, and automobiles.
Thank you Con for your rebuttals, I will now defend my arguments to the best of my ability.
Con claims that ease of access and gun deaths have no correlation. To demonstrate this; he gives an example of a toddler not able to know the location of a gun because it would be five feet above the ground, out of the toddler’s reach. Yet evidence directly negates Con’s claims,
“Approximately one of three handguns is kept loaded and unlocked and most children know where their parents keep their guns. In one 2006 study, 73 percent of children under age 10 reported knowing the location of their parents’ firearms, and 36 percent admitted they had handled the weapons.”
It is hard to believe my opponent’s claim that easy access to guns does not cause gun accidents, when 36% of kids admit to have handled their parents’ weapons.
Con then makes three claims about the statement ‘easy access to guns does not cause more deaths’
1) it is a bare assertion with no proof
It is simple logic; a troubled person is more likely to commit suicide if they know the location of a gun in their house, and it’s unlocked and loaded than if it is in a storage device, locked and unloaded, and inaccessible. A child is more likely to handle a gun and have an accident if it is in a drawer, unlocked and loaded, than if it is locked away in a storage device, inaccessible.
I have provided mountains of evidence from a variety of sources to back up every proposition I have made, it is Con that has made the bare assertion.
2) implied concession that the current death tolls by guns are at the maximum
I’m not sure what this means. Con is accusing me of somehow mentioning somewhere that ‘gun death tolls are currently at their maximum.’ This completely false; I never said anything of the sort. Even if there was any truth to this accusation, it does nothing for Con’s case; it is completely irrelevant to the debate and does not impact the resolution.
3) is an issue that can be remedied by legislation
My opponent has had 2 rounds to propose legislation, yet has failed to bring any to our attention. After Con makes this claim, you would expect some legislation, he does not provide any. This is merely a claim lacking any sort of evidence that would give it worth.
I would like to ask the voters to vote for the case that is clear and straightforward rather than the unstated one.
Con then makes an analogy to cars, that cars should be banned because they kill people too. This is a red herring; this has nothing to do with our gun debate. Also, automobiles are transportation vehicles; they are an essential part of life for today’s society, guns are not. But more importantly, we are talking about guns, not cars.
Con concedes the main point I was trying to make in my argument, the lethality of guns:
“Guns are effective in their lethality, there is no denying this”
I can say with certainty that without a gun, less people would be successful in suicide. It is simple logic; guns are the most lethal way of suicide (as Con conceded), taking away guns will force people who want to commit suicide to use another method (less lethal method), therefore suicides will be less lethal, and more people will survive them. This then gives victims the chance to recover and get help, and prevent suicide in the future. It is extremely simple and straightforward.
Con drops my first argument in the category “Firearms & Suicide”, Con instead brings up statistics which actually support my argument; more guns in the US, and more suicides, less guns in the UK and less suicides.
Con does two things here; drops my arguments and chooses to attack my numbers instead, and then brings up red herrings.
1) As far as the numbers, I’ll take them; it’s still a lot of people that die from gun accidents.
2) Con brings up topics completely irrelevant to the debate. Con makes the argument that poison and ladders kill people as well, so therefore we shouldn’t ban guns. That’s like saying that I shouldn’t save this cat stuck in the tree, because children are hungry in Africa. It is a red herring, and completely irrelevant to the debate. We are talking about guns, not poison and ladders.
Con drops both my arguments; my argument that a gun escalates a simple crime into a deadly scenario, and that murderers will have to use another, less effective weapon therefore making murder less effective and saving lives. Both these arguments are dropped.
Con then attempts to have the best of both worlds. Con suggests that ‘guns in the home have led to a decrease in crime’ yet earlier says that,
“Similarly, in a house where the gun in locked in the safe, it is by no means impossible for a teen to acquire said gun.”
If a gun is locked in a safe in the home, it is hard to believe that a resident of the home would be able to run to the safe, put in the combination, take out the gun, and most likely have to load the gun, and then face an attacker who had already entered their house before this entire process even began. If gun owners have the benefit of safe gun storage, they do not have the benefit of deterring crime. Yet if a gun owner has a gun stored improperly, but ready for use, this increases the risk for suicides, gun accidents, etc. Con cannot have both of these benefits.
As far as Pro’s statistics, this could be the result of many different scenarios. A change in police funding could be part of it, it could also actually be because of gun ownership rates. According to PEW Research Center (http://www.people-press.org...), gun ownership has actually decreased slightly over recent years.
But the point is that this could come from a variety of different causes.
Con has dropped numerous arguments, and even directly conceded a few, while I have defeated each and every one of Con’s. Con has brought up red herrings and irrelevant arguments. This has been a fun debate and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like to wish my opponent luck in the rest of his debating career and thank you!
Gmork forfeited this round.
|Who won the debate:||-|