The Instigator
Nickc92
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheFreeThinker
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

No more sale of Semi-Automatic weaponry to the public

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Post Voting Period
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after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,655 times Debate No: 15466
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

Nickc92

Pro

I am arguing for the stopping of the selling of semi-automatic weapons to the public. Con must explain for why we shouldn't stop selling these weapons to the public.

I am speaking for in terms of all of the general public (licensed people included).
No one should be able to own a semi-automatic weapon. There is no need to own a weapon with that much power and destructive potential.
TheFreeThinker

Con

Great topic to debate! Challenge accepted ;)

"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."

The second amendment of the United States Constitution gives every citizen the right to keep and bear arms.

The constitution itself does not specify which types of arms a citizen is allowed to posses, but is clearly states that the reason to allow the ownership of arms is to ensure the security of the state.

The advantages of arms ownership are twofold:

1) It gives law-abiding citizens the means to defend themselves from criminals, who by definition do not follow the law and would arm themselves even if it was against the law.

2) It ensures the ability of the people to enforce their sovereignty and their right to elect and legitimize a democratic form of government.

Private gun ownership is a strong deterrence for a leader to try to use force, or even a standing army, to subjugate the people.
A President, Senator, Representative or General will be forced to think twice before trying to stage a Coup D'etat in the US knowing that he will have to answer for is actions to over 300 million armed citizens.

Not allowing civilians to legally own and bear semi-automatic, or for that matter, automatic firearms would reduce the effectiveness of the deterrence provided by the Second Amendment.
A ban on semi-automatic weapons would not prevent criminals from getting their hands on semi automatic weapons, or converting manual weapons into semi- or automatic weapons.
A militia composed of people armed with non-semi or non-automatic weapons only would be far less effective.

Finally, there are many other machines with far greater destructive power that can be accessed by pretty much everybody.
If a person really wants to massacre 20 people, he doesn't have to have a semi-automatic weapon, he could just as easily get into his car and run pedestrians over.
Debate Round No. 1
Nickc92

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

First, I would like to address my opponent's use of the Constitutional 2nd Amendment;
Like he said, it does not state which type of firearms. It should be common knowledge that when this amendment was made, weaponry was significantly different from the way it is today. The rifles took about 30 seconds to reload for one shot and they were not even accurate enough to aim for a target 200 feet away. Thinking realistically, would our forefathers have set that amendment the same way if the weapons were able to kill 10 people in 5 seconds?

I would now like to address my opponent's 1st point;
"It gives law-abiding citizens the means to defend themselves from criminals, who by definition do not follow the law..."
So by this reasoning, my opponent is basically saying that we as law-abiding citizens have the right to kill a non law-abiding with a semi-sutomatic weapon if he/she tries to steal a hat off out head.
According to my opponent's reasoning, we can say to the police, "I shot him 5 times in the back because I was defending myself from him." Police says, "Oh, what did he do?" Citizen, "He tried to steal me hat."

Now i will address point 2;
"It ensures the ability of the people to enforce their sovereignty and their right to elect and legitimize a democratic form of government."
My opponent later goes on to say, because we as citizens have these semi-automatic weapons, it prevents the leader from using force because 300 million armed citizens will fight back.
This is simply immoral. It will never be socially acceptable for a citizen to fire upon a leader.

Now to address my opponents next point;
A militia has not been used or even remotely needed in the US for hundreds of years. Again, not socially acceptable. It will never be socially acceptable in the US for a group of people to roam the streets with semi-automatic weapons ready to kill another group of people.

On the last point;
So just because it is just as easy for a serial killer to kill people another way, it makes it okay to keep the weapons just giving him/her another option?

Vote Pro
TheFreeThinker

Con

I just realized that this is a 5 round debate... this is gonna be fun ;)

My opponent points to the fact that when the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was written, weaponry was significantly different than today.
He also argues that the forefathers would have not have written the amendment "if the weapons were able to kill 10 people in 5 seconds" and that "The rifles took about 30 seconds to reload for one shot and they were not even accurate enough to aim for a target 200 feet away"

First of all I would like to clarify that this assumption is based on pure speculation on the part of my opponent.
Furthermore, the Second Amendment doesn't say "guns", "rifles" or "firearms". It uses the more generic and broad term "arms".
There were plenty of "arms" at the time of the implementation of the Second Amendment that were able to "kill 10 people in 5 seconds". Those arms include but are not limited to rifles that could be fired every 15 seconds and were accurate to up to 300 yards and lightweight, mobile cannons with a range of over 800 yards that could with one shot "destroy an enemy company". [1]

The most important issue that my opponent seems to miss, is the fact that the Second Amendment creates a balance of power between the civilian population and the forces of the government or between the civilian population and an invading army.

The Second Amendment clearly states that the right to own and bear arms is necessary to the security of the State.
Weapons technology has improved for everybody. An invading army of a dictatorial domestic force would without any doubt be armed with more that manual weapons, therefore, in order to keep the balance of power intact, it is necessary to make sure that law abiding citizens can lawfully arm themselves with equally sophisticated weapons.

In the attempt to discredit my first point, my opponent states that

"by this reasoning, ... law-abiding citizens have the right to kill a non law-abiding with a semi-sutomatic weapon if he/she tries to steal a hat off out head"

and that according to my reasoning
"we can say to the police, "I shot him 5 times in the back because I was defending myself from him." Police says, "Oh, what did he do?" Citizen, "He tried to steal me hat." "

This is a complete distortion of my argument. My opponent does not recognize the difference between being technically able to engage in an act of self-defence with the aid of a weapon that is technologically equal or better to an aggressor's weapon and the abuse of self-defence.
The semi-automatic weapon is not relevant in this attempt of argumentation, as a person who would seek revenge after being robbed of a hat could easily use a different tool, like an ax or a hammer to wrongfully kill the robber.
On the other hand, a person who needs to act in self defense after being assaulted by somebody in possession of an automatic weapon would find himself in an asymmetrical situation if armed with a manual firearm or not armed at all.

Allow a citizen to lawfully own and bear a semi-automatic weapon does not condone nor encourage the criminal use of it.

Trying to discredit my second point, my opponent states that

"It will never be socially acceptable for a citizen to fire upon a leader"

This statement clearly seems to ignore that in a democracy the people are sovereign, and that if a leader becomes subversive and dictatorial, it is not only socially acceptable but morally necessary for the people to use force to reinstate a democratic form of government.

This is a core element of the Declaration of Independence, which states that

"whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive ... it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

There are several examples throughout the course of history of democracies being hijacked by leading figures with dictatorial aspirations.

Before the Roman Empire, there was a Roman Republic.
Before the French Empire there was a French Republic.
Before the Nazi Germany, there was the Weimer Republic.

It is interesting to note that those democracies were subverted because the people did not have the means to dispose of the new dictatorial governments who held a monopoly of force.

It was the official policy of Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler, to deny citizens legal gun ownership unless they were government workers of members of Hitler's NSDAP.

Coup D'etats are not rare events, but a fairly spread phenomenon [2]

My opponent continues his argument by stating that

"A militia has not been used or even remotely needed in the US for hundreds of years. Again, not socially acceptable. It will never be socially acceptable in the US for a group of people to roam the streets with semi-automatic weapons ready to kill another group of people."

Throughout the history of the United States, militias have been replaced with a standing army. The most powerful standing army the world has ever seen.
However, the Supreme Court in the case of Presser vs Illinois of 1886 that while citizens had no right to create their own militias, it is within the States authority to regulate and implement Militias.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court has unequivocally stated in District of Columbia v. Heller of 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago of 2010 that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right of every citizen of the United States.

I would like to note that my opponent keeps mixing up the right to own and bear arms with the unlawful killing of people. These are two very distinct issues.

In his last point, my opponent states that
"just because it is just as easy for a serial killer to kill people another way" allowing the legal ownership of semi-automatic weapons gives "him/her another option".

This statement completely misses the point of the debate, because legislation against ownership of semi automatic weapons will only be effective for law-abiding citizens. A person who wants to commit murder will not be held back by a law that prevents anybody else to be lawfully allowed to own a semi-automatic weapon. On the contrary, stripping away from law abiding citizens their ability to efficiently defend themselves with technologically advanced weapons would just make them an easier target for criminals.

The Second Amendment is the backbone of a free society and a democratic form of government!

Don't give up your hard-earned freedom! VOTE CON!

1] http://www.doublegv.com...

2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Nickc92

Pro

Nickc92 forfeited this round.
TheFreeThinker

Con

I'm new here and too sure what the rules are when somebody forfeits a round. Am I supposed to keep debating or wait for an answer?
Debate Round No. 3
Nickc92

Pro

I am also relatively new to this site, but as far as I know, when a person forfeits a round, you may keep on debating because the opponent may have just missed his/her turn.

This is what happened to me, I was not able to get on and debate in time, and for that I apologize. I am back now and ready to finish.

Now back to the debate;

My opponent tries to turn around what I said in the previous round by clarifying what the amendment was referring to. I talked about how back in the time, when it was written, there were no weapons that could do the extent of damage a semi-qutomatic weapon could. My opponent tries to contradict what I was saying by talking about different kinds of weapons (not just guns).
In my previous argument, I was referring to only guns, because this debate is based on guns and no other weapons. So bringing up canons was irrelevant.

I do not feel that my next argument was a distortion of my opponent's. He specifically stated that semi-automatic weapons give people "the means to defend themselves from criminals..."
In the hypothetical situation I presented, a person was defending them self against a criminal. When one reads the rule that my opponent said, he/she will realize that my situation was an example of the very thing that my opponent was talking about.
My opponent noticed this and realized that the situation I gave was quite unethical, however it still abided by his rule, so in a effort to redirect the argument, he said that the semi-automatic weapon was not relevant in this specific situation... If this is the case, then why did he even bring it up for this debate? This debate is about semi-automatic weapons, so either way, my opponent loses this part of the debate.
Either his argument was irrelevant, or he gave an unrealistic rule that does not help him at all for this debate.

In my opponent's next attempt to invalidate my argument, he talks about how it is socially acceptable to fire upon a leader. He makes some point about older civilizations and past times.
The key word I used in this part of my argument was "socially." In today's United States, it will most certainly NOT be socially acceptable to fire upon a leader... say, the president. When I use the word "socially," I am referring to the general public.
How would the general public react to a shooting of the resident? How would his supporters react? We can see this by past events.
Now just imagine that, all those hurt people, all those angry people, except now, according to my opponent, it is socially acceptable to fire upon leaders with semi-automatic weapons. The chaos would be unimaginable. This just supports my main argument for no more semi-automatic weapons to the public.

My opponent takes my last point and says "...ownership of semi automatic weapons will only be effective for law-abiding citizens. A person who wants to commit murder will not be held back by a law that prevents anybody else to be lawfully allowed to own a semi-automatic weapon."
This statement is unrealistic. Mostly because at one point, even people who are criminals NOW, were innocent at one point. It only takes one time commit murder. Of course there are people who have outstanding records, however this certainly does not limit the the chance for someone without an outstanding record to commit murder. This innocent person could very well, and realistically, be an innocent law-abiding citizen who decides that he/she wants to go murder 20 people with his/her automatic weapon. In this scenario, my opponents argument is, once again, invalidated.

My opponent's arguments are too loose and have too many holes. In realistic modern day society, these arguments are not strong in the defense of selling semi-automatic weapons to the public.

VOTE PRO!
TheFreeThinker

Con

All right thanks for explaining the rules! Now back to business ;)

My opponents believes that I have turned around his argumentation by referring not only to rifles but other types of weapons as well.

I would like to point out though, that in his original argument my opponent wrote:

"It should be common knowledge that when this amendment was made, weaponry was significantly different from the way it is today"

and

"would our forefathers have set that amendment the same way if the weapons were able to kill 10 people in 5 seconds?"

My opponent did not limit his argument on rifles, but clearly stated that there were no "weapons ... able to kill 10 people in 5 seconds".

This is, as I have proved not correct. Furthermore, even if my opponent had specified that he was referring only to rifles or handguns, the argumentation would still be flawed, as the Second Amendment does not refer to "guns", "handguns" or "rifles", it uses the more broad and generic word "arms".

Even if this debate is "based on guns and no other weapons" - although the title of the debate is not "No more sale of Semi-Automatic Guns to the public" but "No more sale of Semi-Automatic weaponry to the public" - the point that my opponent was trying to make is still invalid since his assumption that there were no weapons able to inflict great damage is wrong.

My opponent fails to recognize his inability to distinguish between a lawful act of self defense and the deliberate killing of a human being as an act of revenge.

The example with the person who shoots the robber of his hat five times with a semi-automatic weapon is meaningless and the use of a semi-automatic weapon, in this case, irrelevant.
An act of self-defence, under US law, is the right for civilians acting on their own behalf to engage in violence for the sake of defending one's own life or the lives of others, including the use of deadly force.

My opponent's example was clearly not an act of self-defence, therefore the use of force, by means of a semi-automatic weapon, a knife or by bear hands, would not be legal anyhow.

If however, a person is in his own house and attacked by armed intruders, his use of deadly force with a semi-automatic weapon is within the law. Preventing a law abiding citizen from legally own a semi-automatic weapon would put him in jeopardy in this circumstance, as it would be harder for him to defend himself with a manual weapon or with no weapon at all.

In his next attempt to contort my argument, my opponent writes that define as 'socially acceptable to fire upon a leader" and
that "in today's United States, it will most certainly NOT be socially acceptable to fire upon a leader... say, the president. When I use the word "socially," I am referring to the general public."

This is a vainglorious and deceptive misrepresentation of my argument. I have clearly stated that it would be acceptable only if "a leader becomes subversive and dictatorial" and with the intent "to reinstate a democratic form of government."

If a President or other political, social or military figure were to become subversive and would for example, dissolve the Congress, arrest members of the courts or use military force against the citizens of the State, then it is within the right of the people to use force against it. This principle has its foundation in the idea that the government is of the people, by the people and from the people and the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution safeguards the right to the people to be sovereign.
A ban on semi-automatic weapons for the civil population would shift the balance of power to the forces of the state or of an invading power in the case of an armed conflict.

In his last argument, my opponent tries to rebuke my point by writing: "there are people who have outstanding records, however this certainly does not limit the the chance for someone without an outstanding record to commit murder. This innocent person could very well, and realistically, be an innocent law-abiding citizen who decides that he/she wants to go murder 20 people with his/her automatic weapon."

My opponent seems to hint that a person who wants to commit murder wouldn't be able to if the possession semi-automatic weapon were not legal. He does not recognize that being legally able to own a semi-automatic weapon does not encourage or excuse murder and that a person who is determined to commit murder can kill people with a multitude of largely spread instruments and machines other than semi-automatic weapons. He also seems to ignore, that since a criminal, by definition, is someone who acts against the law, making a law banning the ownership of semi-automatic weapons would prevent him to acquire one.

My opponent tries to make the case that banning the legal ownership of semi-automatic weapons is a case of public security, weather I attest that allowing ownership of semi-automatic weapons is a matter of individual rights and liberty, and as Benjamin Franklin said: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Gun ownership is a fundamental right that we should not give up in exchange for more governmental control in our private lives which comes masked as a false sense of security!

Let Freedom Ring! Vote CON!
Debate Round No. 4
Nickc92

Pro

I thank my opponents for his responses.

My opponent tries to prove how his argument is relevant. However, in this attempt he just displays how his understanding of the debate as a whole is not entirely correct. He focuses on that fact that I did not state "guns" in the title, therefore it can mean any weaponry. He is is putting emphasis on the wrong part of the debate title. The emphasis should be on "semi-automatic." This is what this debate is centered on, and if one has an understanding about weaponry, one will know that "semi-automatic" typically refers to guns, therefore making this part of his argument wrong.

In my opponents next argument, he tries to contradict my scenario about the person getting their hat stolen. He tries to make it irrelevant by pointing out that, that is not an act self-defense. However, in his first point he states, "It gives law-abiding citizens the means to defend themselves from criminals, who by definition do not follow the law and would arm themselves even if it was against the law." The scenario I made up was to point out the faults in this reasoning. The way I did this was; I created a scenario that followed the logic of my opponent's reason that was realistic and also exposed the holes in his reasoning. A common person reading that scenario would realize that it still abides by my opponent's reasoning, and is totally a supportive part of my argument.
My opponent clearly realized this and tried to change what he was saying in the first argument by making it more beneficial to himself. This action does not help him now that I have pointed out his original thoughts.

For my opponent's next point, he basically reinstates the same point about it being acceptable to fire upon a leader if they become non-beneficial to society.
To counter this, I will clarify my last argument;
I talked about how the leader's followers will become angry with this and then fire upon the ones who are in a non-supportive position of the leader.
This is a point that my opponent fails to see the importance in. He does not realize, realistically, how firing upon a leader would be devastating to social society. Regardless of how unorthodox or (for lack of a better word) terrible a leader or president becomes, he/she will always have followers. There will always be people who support his/her work and will be willing to fight and kill to defend it.
Lets say there is a divide of ideology and some people want to kill a leader and others want to defend him/her. This is undoubtedly a possible scenario. The ones who are not in support of the leader decide to kill him/her. This causes and uproar from the leader's followers. They then retaliate by shooting up some of these people. Then the non followers retaliate, and so on and so forth.
If semi-automatic weapons are completely legal among the public, this situation would be impossible to take under control. Police or SWAT team teams (who actually need these kind of weapons for their job) would be outnumbered and killed as well. If semi-automatic weapons are not legal among the public, the police and SWAT teams should have a significantly easier time taking control of this situation due to their superior weapons.

In my opponent's last argument, he completely misunderstands my point. He seems to think that I feel that if semi-automatic weapons are illegal there will not be murder. This is not what I was saying. The main point of that argument was that these weapons just give a murderer another easy option to kill. Why give them that?

I am anticipating that my opponent will try to counter this with one of his past arguments; the point he made about not giving legal ownership to criminals.
To stay one step ahead I will try to reinstate one of my past arguments that my opponent also seemed to not understand.
My opponent seems to think that only people with criminal records already will commit murder. This is untrue. I do not think that it is debatable that someone without a record could commit murder. It is certainly possible for someone who has been innocent for his/her entire life to go out and kill someone with a semi-automatic weapon that they've had because they had been a non criminal until this point.

As my last point in this debate, I would like to point out that I am not arguing for no gun ownership, I am just arguing for no ownership, among the general public, of semi-automatic weapons.

It is FAR less beneficial to give typical civilians this kind of power than not.

VOTE PRO!!

I would like to thank my opponent for his arguments, and apologize once more for not being back in time for round 3. This has been a good debate.

Once again, vote pro!
TheFreeThinker

Con

Thank you for your response, we are almost done ;)

I would like to thank you for the interesting debate!

First of all I would like to point out that it was my opponent, not me, who chose the title of the debate.
If he wanted to put more emphasis on a specific type of weapon he should have done so, I have just debated based on the topic.

In a dire attempt to defend his fallacious example he made round two, my opponent claims that my example has "faults in his reasoning", when this is not the case.

In my original argument I wrote: "It gives law-abiding citizens the means to defend themselves from criminals"

My argument clearly reefers to lawful self defense, which as I stated before, is defined under US law by "the right for civilians acting on their own behalf to engage in violence for the sake of defending one's own life or the lives of others, including the use of deadly force."

What my opponent described was an unlawful act that would remain unlawful in spite of the weapon or tool used to commit it.

My opponent clearly lacks a rudimentary understanding of criminal law and is not able to differentiate between an act of self defense and an intentional murder.

My best argument in favor of keeping semi-automatic weapons for sale to the public has been made by my opponent in round five.

He writes:

"For my opponent's next point, he basically reinstates the same point about it being acceptable to fire upon a leader if they become non-beneficial to society.
To counter this, I will clarify my last argument;
I talked about how the leader's followers will become angry with this and then fire upon the ones who are in a non-supportive position of the leader."

My opponent clearly and unmistakably writes that if a President or political leader would become subversive and install himself as a dictator, any attempt by the civilian population to reinstall democracy will be met with brutal force and that the leader's supporters will fire upon the ones who are in a non-supportive position.

We can be sure that in this scenario, the usurper's weaponry will include semi-automatic and more sophisticated weapons, which will make the rest of the civilian population, if their sacrosanct right to ownership of semi-automatic weapons had been taken away, unable to organize any effective resistance and reinstate a democratic form of government.

We have seen government and dictatorial brutality against citizens in the past, we are seeing it right now in places like Libya, and Bahrain. The Second Amendment defends our right to chose our elected representatives!

Don't give up democracy! Don't give up your right to keep and bear arms! Support the Second Amendment, legal ownership of semi-automatic weapons and Freedom!

VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Brenavia 6 years ago
Brenavia
I agree with Con, and would have broken this stalemate if I had arrived in time to vote.
Posted by THE_OPINIONATOR 6 years ago
THE_OPINIONATOR
reduce it to three rounds and I will accept
Posted by Nickc92 6 years ago
Nickc92
Fixed it to just semi-automatics.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
This is a false dichotomy. I believe we should continue selling the semi-automatics, so would argue on that front alone. If you don't mind dropping to just that, I'll debate you.
No votes have been placed for this debate.