The Instigator
Pro (for)
35 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
56 Points

On balance, a ban on civilian firearm ownership would be beneficial to the United States

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Post Voting Period
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after 15 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,625 times Debate No: 63666
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (172)
Votes (15)




DK and I have been planning to do this debate for a couple weeks now. Standard debate rules apply; first round for acceptance, no new arguments in the final round, no semantics, no trolling, etc. I doubt any of that will be a problem, here.

A quick note on the resolution-- the debate will NOT be revolving around the implementation of a gun ban; it will be about whether or not the effects of a gun ban which has already been implemented are positive.

I look forward to an excellent debate :D
Good luck, DK!


I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks, Mr. Keller.

FRAMEWORK: This debate revolves around net utility. If I can show that, on balance, a ban on civilian firearm ownership results in a positive net gain for American society as a whole, then the resolution is affirmed. Note that for the purposes of this debate, we are assuming that such a policy was successfully passed and enforced, so arguments from constitutionality and public opposition hold no weight. Also note that since it is specifically a ban on *civilian* firearm ownership, police units and the military would still be allowed to own firearms.

The most obvious positive impact that a gun ban would have is a decrease in homicide rates. This is rather intuitive-- if we take away weapons which make committing homicide easier, then homicide rates will inevitably decrease. Gun rights activists claim that even if guns were removed from society, violent crime would still continue at rates which are close to current rates (i.e. "guns don't kill people, people kill people"), but this is patently false-- if it were true, then cities with lower rates of gun availability would have very similar homicide rates to cities with higher rates of gun availability, yet no such trend exists. Instead, there is a clear upwards correlation between gun availability and homicide rates, as demonstrated by a large number of studies conducted by reputable research institutions:

"We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990s. We found that across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded." [1]

"Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide." [2]

"Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003. We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide. This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty). There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide." [3]

"Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, according to a recent study, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners."

There is no denying it-- the prevalence of guns has a direct relationship with higher homicide rates. Guns simply facilitate killings that wouldn't typically happen without their presence. Such weapons were specifically designed to efficiently inflict fatal injuries-- due to their ease of use, versatility, long range, and other deadly features, guns by their very nature make murder *much* easier to commit; their mere presence in a tense setting can allow for what normally would have been a heated argument or fist fight to turn into a homicide. This combination of reliable statistics, observations, and reasoning leaves almost no doubt that a ban on civilian firearm ownership would lower homicide rates.

CONCLUSION: Since such a significant decrease in homicide rates would be considered a substantial 'net benefit to society' under any reasonable standard, we arrive at the obvious conclusion that a ban on civilian firearm ownership would almost certainly result in a net benefit to society. There are quite a few possible objections to my case that I would have liked to pre-empt, but since I anticipate that many of those same arguments will be appearing in Con's own case, I will abstain from doing so in the interest of avoiding redundancy.

As of now, the resolution is affirmed.


[1] Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

[2] Hepburn, Lisa; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40.

[3] Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine. 2007; 64:656-64.

[4] Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., Risk Factors For Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From A Multi-Site Case Control Study, 93 Am. J. of Public Health 1089, 1092 (2003),




Premise I: Correlation of Gun Ownership and Violence.

As Pro’s only case goes, gun ownership correlates with murder rates. This isn't entirely true. As Washington DC is a great example, where high gun laws + low gun counts are matched by high murder rates (1). Notably the murder rate has gone down, but it has in almost every state, so this is a nationwide trend, not a gun control trend. In fact, this will come back to haunt DC in Premise III.

A long compilation of data I put together shows that, as of 2010, states with strict laws (what I defined as having 3 of the 4 applicable laws listed [Firearm Registration, Owner License required, "Assault Weapon" Law, NFA Weapons Restricted]) averaged at a murder rate of 6.75 per 100,000. Meanwhile, states with Assault Weapon laws and Firearm restrictions averaged at 7 and 7.2 per 100,000. The average for all states? 4.4 per 100,000. The only two categories to have a murder rate less than the average were states with no laws or with open-carry laws, at 3.9 and 4.2 per 100,000. (2 [sources for compilation are 3,4]). Note that the data is from the year 2010, while the original source has been updated to 2011. The 2010 numbers can be found in Source 1 of this page.

As the data goes, higher gun restrictions and bans do not correlate with lower homicide rates. It appears to be the opposite, in fact. But murder isn't the only violent crime, and gun laws aren't the only determining factor here.

Pulling together a list of each state’s gun ownership and several violent crimes rates (5), we see several realizations. The first is that aggravated assault does not correlate with gun ownership in the least. Neither in a pro-gun or pro-control way.

The next thing we notice is that the rate of murder also does not seem to correlate in any noticeable pattern, although as shown prior, gun laws do show a correlation.

We do get a large correlation with robberies though, where the rate of robberies decrease on average as gun ownership goes up. The exception being Kentucky, whose robbery count would be out-of-place anywhere on the chart.

This all being said, it’s apparent that lower gun ownership rates don’t correlate with any statistic except for robbery, where the correlation is pro-gun. But to see the finer details, we can cut the chart into four groups. LOW ownership (0% - 29%), MEDIUM ownership (30% - 39%), HIGH ownership (40%-49%), and VERY HIGH ownership (50%+). What does that data say? (6)

Murder Rate
LOW = 4.0
MEDIUM = 4.3
HIGH = 4.2

Not a notiable correlation. The 0.2 per 100,000 gap is too small to act on.

Aggravated Assault
LOW = 239.8
MEDIUM = 218.4
HIGH = 234.1
VERY HIGH = 240.3

Again, no major difference between LOW and VERY HIGH. MEDIUM and HIGH seem to be the best area, but those still range from 30-49% gun ownership. Hardly matching Pro's idea of a world with a ban on firearm ownership.

LOW = 129
MEDIUM = 92.9
HIGH = 82.9
VERY HIGH = 47.2

Here, we see a massive pro-gun correlation. The highest robbery rate in the VERY HIGH group is 102.2, lower than all but two LOW ownership states.

Total Violent Crime
LOW = 395.6
MEDIUM = 348.8
HIGH = 341.3
VERY HIGH = 328.2

While Pro can claim what he’d like, Murder (which has very little correlation between rate and gun ownership) isn't the only major stat, or even the most important one. Total Violent Crime is, generally, lower the higher Gun Ownership goes up. This is the main statistic to consider, and it does not support Pro's claim.


Premise II: Guns Kill People.

This argument is based on the faulty principle that an inanimate object can act or do things. Until Pro can show prove of a gun pulling it's own trigger, we can conclude that an inanimate object can not act, and the action must than be the human's.

Pro's logic is an attempt to shift blame from the killer to the gun.

We conclude with this formal logic:
A) Inanimate objects can not perform actions.
B) Guns are inanimate objects.
C) Guns can not perform actions (humans perform the action of pulling a trigger.)
D) Killing is an Action.
E) Guns can not kill.

Therefore: Guns can not kill. Although they can be used to kill, like a knife or Wii remote can be used to kill, but none the less, did not, itself, commit the action as it can not perform actions. The action (pulling trigger) must be done by a human.

Premise III: A Look at Homicide Rates Globally.

Despite Pro's attempt to prove homicides would decrease, other nations prove this to not be the case. Britain, the holy grail of Gun Control, seems to hide a past that counters the Liberal claim. In 1997, the British Gun Ban was implemented with the murder rate of 11.5 per million. Prior, the highest was 13 per million. The nation begin a near perfect climb upwards, ending at 18 per million (an increase of almost 40%) in 2004. For the vast majority of the 2000's, the murder rate was higher than before the gun ban. It is, as of now, around the same as before the gun ban.

The UK has, however, one major difference in their crime measurements. They only add in crimes where someone is convicted. If someone is murdered, but the police can't find the murderer, it isn't counted. This greatly decreases what their crime rate looks like. We know how big of an effect this has, because if used on the US, murder rates go from 4.7 to 2.26 per 100,000.

Two other nations who implemented gun bans... Ireland and Jamaica. The nations implemented a ban in 1972 and 1974, with murder rates of 0.4 and 11 per 100,000. Afterwards, they saw immediate increases in murder rates. Of course, this isn't about the short-term implemantation, but the long-term effects after implemantion. Where are the nations 40+ years after implemantation? Ireland and Jamaica are now at 1.4 and 58 per 100,000. This is an increase of 3.5x and 5.2x from before the ban (all numbers written respectively.)

But what about in the US? There are numbers for that. Washington DC and Chicago's gun ban took place in 1977 and 1963. DC's violent crime rate was 1,426.5 per 100,000. The Gun Ban did nothing to halt the rising rate, which continued to grow as high as 2,921.8 per 100,000. It has gone done to 1,243.7 per 100,000, but understand that this correlates with a massive nation-wide decline in crime, of which DC is lacking behind (7). DC's crime rate relative to the nation is still higher now than in 1977, showing it's struggling to keep up with the decrease in crime the rest of the nation has enjoyed. It was 1.3 (1 being equal with the national average) than, but has sense climbed to 1.8 (almost twice the national average). Chicago has gone from a straight 1, to 1.5 ( passing a complete 2.25 in 1997 [over twice national average.])

This proves that Gun Bans do not work, and on occasion, correlates with higher rates of violent crimes. Be it in a State, or a nation with a full ban. (8 [ for whole Premise.])



Despite Pro's best efforts, Gun Bans correlates only with an increase in crime or has no correlation at all, depending on the case. Gun Ownership has zero correlation with all rates except for Robbery, where higher ownership = less robberies. Gun laws, however, correlates with murder rates in a manor that greatly harms Pro's case.

While I've shown gun bans only increase crime or does nothing to stop it, I've also proven that US Cities with gun bans begin lagging behind other cities in violent crime rates.

A Gun Ban would not help the US, and even seems to correlate with higher crime rates in other nations and cities, requardless of how long it has been in place.
Debate Round No. 2


Note that the *only* thing Con has done in response to the studies I cited is contradict the findings in them with his own research. Now, allow me to points out a few outstanding problems with Con's approach, here...

Burden of Proof

First and foremost, Con's method of argumentation simply doesn't negate the resolution. I have completely fulfilled my burden of proof by providing viable studies which thoroughly affirm the resolution; thus, the onus is now upon Con to fully dismantle my arguments, and simply citing sources which contradict mine, as he has done, does not accomplish this. He has to at least provide some sort of reason to prefer his sources. Otherwise, we could just go back and forth throughout the rest of the rounds throwing more sources at each other, and the debate would never progress anywhere. As it now stands, we should prefer my sources by default.

Source Reliability

I have cited studies from reputable research institutions such as the Harvard School of Public Health and the Violence Policy Center, which would obviously have the resources to engage in accurate, extensive studies of the relationship between gun ownership and crime rates. Meanwhile, Con's data is basically a compilation of numbers that he has gathered from various places around the internet. Of course, since he is relying solely on numbers without taking into account other factors which affect crime rates (which formal research institutions *can* take into account), his logic is a blatant example of correlation/causation fallacy.

In other words, Con has not provided any reason for us to believe that the supposed correlation he has found between low rates of gun ownership and high crime rates actually implies a direct causation between the two variables. There are a large variety of factors that must be taken into consideration when attempting to observe such social trends, and merely browsing over general statistics such as a state's annual homicide rate more or less ignores all of that. This idea is well-articulated in the following article excerpt:

"[A] study [on gun violence], by Professor Michael Siegel at Boston University and two coauthors, has been peer-reviewed and is forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health. Siegel and his colleagues compiled data on firearm homicides from all 50 states from 1981-2010, the longest stretch of time ever studied in this fashion, and set about seeing whether they could find any relationship between changes in gun ownership and murder using guns over time.

"Since we know that violent crime rates overall declined during that period of time, the authors used something called 'fixed effect regression' to account for any national trend other than changes in gun ownership. They also employed the largest-ever number of statistical controls for other variables in this kind of gun study: 'age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanization, poverty, unemployment, income, education, income inequality, divorce rate, alcohol use, violent crime rate, nonviolent crime rate, hate crime rate, number of hunting licenses, age-adjusted nonfirearm homicide rate, incarceration rate,and suicide rate' were all accounted for.

"No good data on national rates of gun ownership exist (partly because of the NRA's stranglehold on Congress), so the authors used the percentage of suicides that involve a firearm (FS/S) as a proxy. The theory, backed up by a wealth of data, is that the more guns there are any in any one place, the higher the percentage of people who commit suicide with guns as opposed to other mechanisms will be.

"With all this preliminary work in hand, the authors ran a series of regressions to see what effect the overall national decline in firearm ownership from 1981 to 2010 had on gun homicides. The result was staggering: 'for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership,' Siegel et al. found, 'firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9R43; percent. A one standard deviation change in firearm ownership shifted gun murders by a staggering 12.9 percent.'" [1].

For this reason, Con's data is inadequate. This becomes especially evident when we see that he attempts to establish his correlations by referring to the high crime rates of areas such as Washington DC and Jamaica, which are particularly notorious for having high poverty [2] and ineffective policing [3], both of which are factors that are much more likely to cause high crime rates than a lack of guns [2] [4]. Meanwhile, in the studies that I cited last round, efforts at taking other relevant variables into account *are* mentioned (especially source 2 & 3), thus furthering my point about how the findings of reputable research institutions, due to their access to financial resources and such, are much more likely to be accurate.

General Objection

Aside from statistics, the general idea that higher gun ownership would lead to lower crime rates is wholly implausible. Firstly, I provided a sound rationale last round for why guns naturally lead to more homicides-- their mere presence in hostile situations facilitates domestic violence (which is the most common setting of homicide [5] ) because of how they are specifically designed with features to make killing easy. More importantly, firearms do not serve as an effective form of self- defense, so it makes very little sense that higher gun ownership would deter crime:

According to research conducted by the Violence Policy Center, there are a number of practical issues that make it nearly impossible for a civilian to ever effectively use a gun for self-defense. The vast majority of civilians are not well-trained enough to safely handle a gun even in ideal conditions (i.e. an enclosed shooting range); in an actually-dangerous situation, there are also "extreme physiological and psychological effects that the experts, many of whom have on-the-street law enforcement experience with firearms, agree inevitably occur in an armed life-or-death confrontation (the only situation in which lethal force is justified in self-defense)," [6]. To suggest that the average civilian could actually successfully utilize a firearm for self-defense where it actually counts is patently absurd. There is no way that whatever minimal 'benefits' that could come from the self-defense aspect of civilian firearm ownership actually outweigh the increased homicide rates caused by it. And it shows-- "in 1998, for every time that a civilian used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 51 people lost their lives in handgun homicides alone." [6].

As for Con's "Premise II", I would like to think that he is trolling. Obviously when I say "high gun ownership leads to more homicides", I am not implying that the guns themselves are killing people-- I am implying that guns facilitate homicides, as was explained earlier.


1. Con's approach of fighting sources with sources does not work due to the debate's BOP structure; he has the burden to make us prefer his sources to mine, so without doing so, his entire argument amounts to nothing

2. The superficial, numbers-based nature of Con's stats renders them inferior to the studies I have provided due to the sheer number of external factors which have a significant effect on crime rates, yet are not represented in the data that Con focuses on.

3. The very idea of "more guns = less crime" itself is nonsensical. Guns are proven to facilitate domestic murders, and have very limited use for self-defense, so it is entirely unfeasible that guns could possibly deter crime.

The resolution remains affirmed!



Pro's only case here is that gun violence relates to ecomonies (shifting away from the actual guns) and that people aren't trained enough for guns.

Premise I: Burden of Proof - Source Reliability.

This claim is unfounded and unsupportable. I needed to prove that statistics show that gun ownership doesn't correlate with more violence and that gun bans don't work. I have provided strong statistical evidence of both, and sourced both with enough that they can be fully replicated within minutes. Pro, however, has some sourcing issues I didn’t have the character limit to point out last round.

The first issue being that many of Pro’s sources can not be checked or reviewed. His sources, specifically source 2, has no specific methodology mentioned. It mentions alot of other studies, but not what studies they are, or what their methods were. There is no means of checking the methods used.

Another issue was source 1, which tested the top nations, but left out a major variable… It was the 1980s and early 1990s. The time was known internationally as a time of unquestionable violence (1). To include this study as relevant and an important variable in Pro’s case is no better than claiming that too many people are killed by war every year, using death tolls from 1940-1045 as your only evidence. Using a measurement from a time of extremes is fallacious when judging the normal average. The study, as well as another study in that group, are from a time that can not be used to accurately judge the effects of firearms in normal circumstances.

The issue with this source 3 is that it measures homicide across only three years. Three years do not help to account for the effects of decreasing or increasing ownership of firearms over time. I used 2 years (2010 and 2011) in my last round to prove that pro’s stats weren’t absolute, and are challengeable, to say the least, but I will account for the long term, as well as the effects of shifting ownerships in Premise II. On a note, my methods can be seen, and tested, and replicated. Pro’s can not. And the source of each stat used in my study is available, Pro’s is not.

The last source to be criticized is Pro’s femicide study, which tests only 220 proxies, and 343 abused control women… Across 11 cities. At 20 proxies and 31 women each city. This allows for no true understanding of any given city’s scenario. Had it been 220 and 343 examples from each, we’d have a more well-rounded study, but this study is too far stretched across too few examples.

Pro's R3 sources aren't much better, including ThinkProgress and Motherjones. Pro wants voters to pick his sources, but until R3, his sources couldn't be read or checked, and his R3 sources include the two most bias sources in the debate. While I replied this one time for the sake of refutting an attack (least I drop it), it should be noted that attacking my sources (which included 2 .gov websites and [who sourced back to the FBI site]) was cowardly and unwarranted.

1) (p.g. 2.)

2) All mentioned sources are in Pro’s R2 ending.

Premise II: The Long-Term correlation.
I’ve compiled a list of the past 54 years (3, 4, 5). As the data shows, Gun Ownership doesn’t particularly seem to correlate with the violent crime rate. The only time when it strongly correlates is in the 80s and early 90s, when violence rose to unnatural proportions. This correlation, however, is likely because gun ownership increased as a response to violent crimes. This is seen as gun rates actually went down when crime rates rose, and didn’t increase until afterwards. The only correlation that promotes Pro’s case is during 1983 and 1993, but seeing as gun ownership spiked years after violent crimes begin dropping in 1993, it’s obvious that gun rates weren’t responsible for the increase in crime, or crime would have peaked when gun ownership peaked, not years before. We see that before and after the infamous spike in violence (which was an extreme era, and can't be used to determine the norm), gun ownership didn’t relate to violence at all. If Pro’s case were accurate, than after the year 2000, violence should have respiked. During the year 2011, gun ownership was equal to 1980, the very year that violent crimes were at their peak.

The same for Assault Crimes, where the only correlation exists during the 1980-1990 period. However, this time we see that the spike in gun ownership correlates with the spike in assault afterwards, implying, once again, that it’s was a response to the spike in assaults.

The unorthodox 1980s and 1990s aside (reread Premise I if you don’t understand), guns do not correlate with violent crimes.

Regarding poverty and unemployment. While this might be true in nations with a history of high violence and bad governments, it doesn't apply properally in the US. If it had, the year 2001 - 2010 would have the highest violent crime rates in the past 54 years. Instead, they are among the most peaceful years since the 60s. Pro's claim doesn't stand here.

Jamaica, again, is evidence that Pro's claim is wrong. Jamaica's murder rate has, since the gun ban, gone up almost every year. It's GDP has gone up almost every year (in Real Growth and PPP.) It's unemployment has gone done nearly a third since 1998. It's poverty is literally half of what it was in 1992. Economically, the country is in a much better shape since the 1990's, and yet the murder rate has only ever increased the whole time. Pro's case does not hold up to the real world(6).

Washington DC and Chicago's murder rates began rising after the Gun Ban, not the recession. If the economic downturn was to blame, the two cities would have seen a large increase in violent crime the the 2000's. DC saw a decrease (although still lagging further and further behind the nation). Pro's claim also doesn't deal with Britain and Ireland. His claim doesn't cover them, and given the 2001-current recession, doesn't truly cover the US either, or Jamaica given Jamaica's economy and murder-rate doesn't support pro's claim (while the rising murder rate proves mine.)

Pro tried shifting from "Guns cause crime" (which I debunked with numerous charts and graphs) to "Economies cause crime" (which I also debunked.) If economies cause crime, than guns aren't the problem.





Premise III: General Objection:

Pro's main case here seems to be that civilians aren't trained enough for guns. This isn't a gun ban issue, but a training-requirement issue. Pro's claim supports using an extreme proposal in place of the more realistic, more proper, less expensive, more appropriate option. Following Pro’s logic, many could also claim banning voting and the use of credit, instead of using education to fix the problem.

It seems a bit unreasonable to want someone to be in extreme danger, rather than to go too far in self defense. Putting the life of the attacker before that of the victim is unrealistic. Pro's case is a matter of picking a worse bad over a better bad, for the sake of the bad guy.

Pro brings up Premise II. It relates to the claim he made in R2;

...(i.e. "guns don't kill people, people kill people"), but this is patently false... - Pro

Pro made the case into a full argument in a prior debate, so it was only rational to refute it before it found a place here.


I have shown, regardless of Pro's claim, strong evidence that Gun Bans have backfired, and that pro's economic claims aren’t supported by reality. I have also shown that Gun Ownerships do not correlate with violent crime rates. And I have done all this with straightforward numbers that can be replicated by anyone who wants to see for themselves, while Pro's R2 claims have no reviewable sources that stand to scrutiny. And his economic numbers and claims in R3 don't match reality.

I have proven with observable numbers and stats that Pro’s claim stands no ground. A Gun Ban would not be benefical.

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks for the debate, Mr. Keller!
It's been a challenging one, for sure.

== NEG CASE ==

1. Correlation vs. Causation

Con has totally neglected to address the central objection I was making. I'm not trying to question the authority of his sites; I am objecting to how he is using his data-- it is a blatant example of correlation/causation fallacy. His approach of looking at only two variables (gun ownership and homicide rates) fails to take into account *any* of the other factors which can affect violent crime rates, such as poverty, ineffective government, or internal strife. The only time Con attempts to contextualize his data is when the correlation is not in his favor (e.g. Great Britain, 1980s), otherwise fully accepting the correlation for what it is. Unless he is applying some sort of double standard, this means that he acknowledges that correlation alone is not a reliable indicator of the relationship between gun ownership and homicide rate, yet Con's *entire* case is based upon correlation alone. Without addressing this fatal weakness in his evidence, his sources become meaningless, thus causing his entire case to fail and losing him the debate.

2. General Objection

Con has entirely missed the point of me bringing this objection up at all. But before I get into that, I would like to note that Con has failed to contest *either* of the observations I made in this objection; since it is too late for him to do so now (final round), he has essentially conceded that 1) guns do facilitate homicides, and 2) that guns are rarely useful in self-defense / crime-deterrence. With established, we see that original purpose of the argument was *not* to serve as an independent reason to favor a gun ban, as Con seems to believe, but rather to serve as a further critique of Con's data use. The point was that, since guns are logically only capable of increasing violence rates (in accordance with the two initial observations), it is extremely implausible that Con's correlations carry any significance. And since Con has basically conceded the two observations this objection is based on, he allows another fatal blow to be delivered to his case.

3. Specific Rebuttals

Here, Con attempts to use loads of specific evidence to try minimizing the impact of other variables on crime rates... Firstly, all his evidence focuses on debunking the poverty-violence link, but that is only one of many variables that I mentioned, so none of Con's focus on this really helps his case much... Secondly, to suggest that poverty doesn't cause crime is just factually inaccurate, as there is an established causal relationship between the two-- unemployment, a lack of education, social discrimination, and need for basic resources do, indeed, drive impoverished people to resort to measures such as violent crime [1]. Thirdly, all of Con's attempts at disassociating economic well-being from crime rates are either based in more correlation/causation fallacy or misconceptions:

-- He claims that because crime rates in the United States didn't go significantly up during the recession, poverty must not be linked to crime. Yet again, this ignores other factors involved in decreasing crime rate; it is widely known that a major contributing factor to the recent decrease in US crime rates is the massive increase in prison incarceration [2], given that "the number of incarcerated citizens in the US has more than quadrupled" since 1980 [3].

-- He applies the reverse of that logic to Jamaica, claiming that Jamaica's economy has greatly improved in recent years despite increased violence, but he relies on crude numerical measures of economic health such as GDP and unemployment rate to reach this assessment. In reality, looking at the country's economic history we see that it has been plagued with money problems since its founding due to political strife, failed welfare programs, and a lack of affordable education. "Today, the Jamaican economy is faced with several long-term economic problems including high interest rates, exchange rate instability and increasing internal debt" [4].

Sub-conclusion: Con's data has been thoroughly debunked. There are most certainly many other variables affecting crime rates, and Con's extensive use of correlation/causation fallacy completely ignores them all. Moreover, those correlations contradict basic observations about the nature of guns (which he has conceded), thus logically invalidating any possibility of his evidence negating the resolution.

== AFF CASE ==

In response to my BOP argument, Con attempts to give some mild criticisms of my sources and make us prefer his evidence to mine. But before addressing those, let's first note that given how Con's own data has already been shown to be extremely questionable, my sources already have the advantage.

1. Con claims that because he cannot review the specific numbers or methodology behind my studies, we shouldn't trust them. Firstly, the actual numbers *are* available in the publications that I have cited-- the fact that Con does not have access to those publications is out of my control. Secondly, there are several specifics provided within the quotations themselves regarding the methodology used in those studies, so Con's complaints in that respect are illegitimate. Furthermore, it is reasonable to trust that data gathered by such reputable institutions is generally accurate for the same reason that a satellite photo of Earth taken by NASA can be generally be considered reliable evidence of the Earth being spherical.

2. Con claims that his methods can be "seen and tested" and are therefore superior, but that really doesn't hold *any* value if those methods are fallacious to begin with. Thus, this observation does not serve as a reason to prefer Con's sources.

3. The fact that the 1990s were a time of increased violence around the world should not have any real bearing on the observed results in my cited study-- if Con's claims regarding guns reducing violence were true, then even in times of widespread violence, the areas with higher rates of gun ownership would have lower levels of violence. But, as expected, such a trend does not exist.

4. A short-term time frame isn't necessarily a reason to reject a study unless Con is able to show that there were abnormal conditions during that time (2001-2003) that would have significantly altered the results. The researchers did a very thorough job of accounting for external variables in that study, so there is really no reason to question this study on that basis alone. The same goes for small sample size with regards to source 4.

5. Besides his own opinion, Con gives no real reason to believe that ThinkProgress or MotherJones are biased to the extent that none of their information should be accepted.


Despite all of Con's data, he has not at all shown that a lack gun ownership has actually caused an increase in violent crime in any case; unlike in the studies I cited, this fallacious numerical approach abjectly fails at accounting for the various external factors affecting rates of crime, and for that reason alone, my evidence is much more reliable. Morover, Con has essentially conceded my 'general objection', which takes out all of his correlation-based evidence in one shot with its compelling rationale that guns cannot logically prevent crime, so it is ridiculous to suggest that a lack of guns somehow caused more violence. Considering that, along with my evidence that guns facilitate higher homicide rates, we are lead to the conclusion that a gun ban can only be beneficial to the United States.

The resolution is affirmed!

Vote Pro :)

[2] *

* (Control-F "one obvious answer")



Thank you, Pro.

Rebuttal I: Cause and Correlation.

For Pro to bring this up is hypocritical. Most of Pro's case is based off Correlation. In all of R2, his one case was implying nothing but correlation. And he used sources that implied only correlation. In R3, his case was once again based on correlation.

Pro's whole case comes together to say "Guns correlate with violence." Making this argument of his backwards and ironic. His other argument was that "Bad economics, not gun bans, correlate with high violence," again, another correlation that only assumes. Meanwhile, my case comes together to imply that there was NO CORRELATION. The opposite of what Pro is saying. Gun Bans were always followed with Increased Violence. Whether voters believe Gun Bans led to the violence or were unrelated, it's true that the Bans were never followed be decreased violence.

Pro- "See this Correlation?"
Con- "Nope. See this lack of Correlation?"
Pro- "Con's using Cause and Correlation!"

Pro's Cause and Correlation argument is not only wrong, and in no way reflects my claims, it actually represents his own arguments well. Pro's case tries to prove correlation. Mine try to prove no correlation. Then using the Cause and Correlation argument against me is unwarranted and hypocritical.

Rebuttal II: General objection.

Pro is mistaken to assume I didn't tackle those claims. I tackled the claim that Guns Facilitate Violence in Premise I of R2, and Premise II of R3. I need not tackle his one claim in every single Premise. It would be repetitive and wasteful. All of R3 - Premise II went into showing that guns don't equal violence.

Pro makes only a half reference to his "Guns don't help in self-defense" case. It's easy to say I didn't refute Sentence A, when Sentence A is reliant on Sentence B (the sentence that I refuted, and by doing so also refuted the sentence that depended on it.) Here is the full context.

"...there are a number of practical issues that make it nearly impossible for a civilian to ever effectively use a gun for self-defense. The vast majority of civilians are not well-trained enough to safely handle a gun even in ideal conditions..."

As we see, the logic runs like this:

A] It's impossible to use a gun for self-defense properly. Because...
B] Civilians aren't trained enough.

By taking down Logic B, Logic A stops being relevant. But Pro specifically left out Logic B, as well as Logic A's dependancy on it, to make it look like I never refuted Logic A. In reality, I explained why it was wrong using two arguments.

Pro has lied about me not refuting his claims, cherry-picking his own argument and mine to do so. I had, in R2 and R3, fully dealt with both of his claims, dropping neither of them.

Rebuttal III: Specific Rebuttals.

A) Poverty and Crime.

I never claimed that economic stress didn't lead to violence in most nations. In fact, I even said "...this might be true in nations with a history of high violence and bad governments..."

If you read my case, you will see that I said that Pro's claim (regarding Jamaica and the US) was wrong. The US is a full example that economic stress isn't correlating with increased murder rates in Chicago and DC, as 2000-2010 proves in full. Chicago and DC didn't see Violent Crime Rate Increases go any faster in the recession. And that violent crimes rates were almost equal with the US just before the ban, despite high economic stress. This shows that financial problems aren't the cause in those cities. The US also saw no increase in Violent Crimes during the recession.

I also pointed out the same case with Jamaica. Pro makes the case that I"m not accounting for the right variables. The first problem is that Pro only ever brought up Umployement and Poverty rates. I brought up Poverty, Unemployment, GPD Real and GPD PPP. So Pro's argument is, again, hypocritical and only represents his case, not mine. Pro again reverts to his article, ignoring the actual longterm economics I introduced. Including info from 20+ back showing that Jamaica's economy had increased in the long-term.

"...(Jamaica's) poverty is literally half of what it was in 1992" - R3.

I never said Economics didn't lead to issues in all nations, just that Pro's excuse that economics explains the high violence rate in the two cities and in Jamaica was wrong... And the numbers prove it. Both Pro's numbers and GPD.

Pro has not accounted for the economy of Britain and Ireland.

B) Incarceration Rate.

Pro said "Gun Ownership has correlated with Violence." When I shown that there was no correlation, but Gun Bans did correlate with higher rates, Pro said "Well it's because of economic problems." I proved Economics weren't in his favor, and he is now saying "Well that's because of higher incarceration rates." Excuse after excuse... But higher Incarceration rates may explain the decrease in murder rates from the 1990s, it does nothing to explain why violent crime rates never went up with Gun Ownership before or after those years.

Rebuttal IV: Source Reliability.

NO ONE has access to Pro's sources. The fact that his sources can't be reviewed is everything. We can't see his methods or source of numbers.

"the fact that Con does not have access to those publications is out of my control." -Pro's statement. If you do not have access to his studies and can't review them, this is Pro's reason why you should just trust his sources anyways, while not trusting mine.

Pro also claims that there are specifics that we can see on the page... I brought up those specifics (such as the years tested) to prove why they aren't reliable. While Pro's sources are locked, mine are open. My methods are visible, as are where my numbers come from, and all 7 studies I did can be replicated on the spot. My methods are not fallacious at all. I have tested every single state, and four relevant nations over half a century. To claim my methods are fallacious is a long-shot when his methods can't even be tested. And regarding his three-year study; I tested 54 years, which included the three years his study tested.

My claim that the 1980-1990's were a time of mass violence hold ground here, as his sources almost entirely get information from those years. As I said earlier, using War World II to prove too many people die in war each and every year.

Review of The Issues:

Pro's arguments were:

- Guns Correlate with violence.
I proved through 7 different methods and over 54 years from R2 to R3 that this isn't true. There is no Pro-Ban correlation on any level.

- Economics is why Jamaica, Chicago, and DC, have high violence.
I proved that all three have had increasing murder rates since before the recession (which would have, if Pro was right, caused larger crime rates increases in Chicago and DC). It's one thing to say A happened, then B happened, therefore A caused B... But to say A happened, then B happened, therefore B caused A? That case is automatically wrong. The only place that might have worked was Jamaica, but I've shown Jamaica's economy is much better now than in 1990, while the murder rates have only ever increased, the opposite of Pro's claim.

- My sources are wrong.
My sources include highly trustable sites that CAN BE VIEWED AND TESTED. My studies can be replicated and proven just by reviewing the numbers I tested. None of Pro's sources can be tested. To which Pro replied that whether you could check his studies wasn't his concern.

I have proven with 7 different methods and studies, that in all 50 States, there is no correlation between gun ownership and violence (except Robbery, but in my favor), even across 54 years.

I have proven that Gun Bans do NOT lead to less violence, but has aways been followed by increased violence. It is the voters choice to decide if this means:

1) Gun Bans caused higher violence.
2) Gun Bans don't effect violence.

But without a doubt, they do NOT lead to lower violence. In NONE of the reviewed nations and US cities, over 50+ years, have Gun Bans been followed with lower violence. The Resolution is Not Affirmed.
Debate Round No. 4
172 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
The sources for all of my charts were in my rounds, not with the chart.
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
Thanks for the RFD, Wrich!
Posted by wrichcirw 2 years ago
DISCLOSURE: I was asked by PRO to provide an RFD for this debate, and I lean slightly PRO on the resolution.



This was a close debate:

Both sides argued convincingly.
Both sides used a lot of sources, although both sides had problems with sources to a more or less equal degree.
CON followed the letter of the resolution much more closely than PRO did. This debate is about gun bans being beneficial or not. PRO"s main argument was that gun prevalence was not beneficial, which is not exactly what the resolution stipulated.
PRO criticized CON on correlation vs causation, but did not establish causation himself.

Overall, had I scored this, it would have been a wash - args CON (one point only) negated by conduct PRO. I thought CON was the slightly more skillful debater. Many of PRO"s attacks unfortunately ended up exposing the exact same problems in his own argumentation.

Good debate, cheers. What I got more out of this debate than anything else is that it's exceptionally difficult to substantiate any position on the issue, at least for the US.
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
hahaha i understand, thanks, blade ^_^
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
Aww, I wasn't trying to hurt your self-esteem! You did great, which I should have said. I have a bad tendency to focus too much on the's like "yeah this was good whatever butlookatTHISproblem"...mostly because that's part of how the vote is decided. But seriously, this was an fine debate overall and I enjoyed reading it (several times...)
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
Thanks for the RFD, bladerunner.
It reduced my self-esteem by a bit, but it also taught me a valuable lesson on how to structure my arguments and burden of proof next time :/
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
Thanks for your patience, Pro & Con, for the delayed RFD.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
RFD 1/8:

An interesting debate, as gun control ones often are. It went a bit squirrely, though; I'll explain why I think so as I go through the RFD.

R1 outlines a very basic framework and notes that this debate will NOT be about the implementation or likelihood thereof, it will be about whether a ban, if it were successfully implemented, would be net beneficial.

R2 begins the debate proper. Pro outlines the basics of his position: that it would be a ban on civilian ownership of guns, so the government would still have guns, and that he intends to show an "on balance...positive net gain".

He claims that a gun ban would result in a decrease in homicide rates. He says this is "intuitive" because "if we take away weapons which make committing homicide easier, then homicide rates will inevitably decrease." While it may make intuitive sense, it is up to Pro to establish it.

Pro says that " Gun rights activists claim that even if guns were removed from society, violent crime would still continue at rates which are close to current rates (i.e. "guns don't kill people, people kill people"), but this is patently false-- if it were true, then cities with lower rates of gun availability would have very similar homicide rates to cities with higher rates of gun availability, yet no such trend exists. Instead, there is a clear upwards correlation between gun availability and homicide rates, as demonstrated by a large number of studies conducted by reputable research institutions"

Pro then summarizes findings to establish his point, and concludes that a reduction in homicide rates is a clear net benefit.

This is, essentially, his entire case. The rest of the debate (spoiler alert!) because quibbling about whether it's as "patently false" as Pro claims.

He needs to definitively establish a benefit for it to count.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
RFD 2/8:

"On balance" resolutions are usually seen as having a shared BoP, but that's largely because there's an expectation that there will be an exploration of many benefits and harms, and the debate will come down to how they're weighed.

Here, instead, this debate essentially turned from its original resolution to:

"A gun ban will reduce homicide rates"

This is the subcontention that Pro makes as of R2, and, as Con notes at the beginning of *his* R2, it's Pro's only case. That rather changes the dynamic of this "on balance" resolution, and the way the debate subsequently went only solidified that. Pro had the BoP for the contention, and it was largely conceded by Con through silence on the matter that, if Pro DID manage to establish his subcontention, it would be sufficient to win the benefit, and by extension the debate.

The issue here is that this is now a two-layer debate, focusing on one contention that has to be established in order to garner a win. If it had been the *actual* resolution, I believe Pro would have been wise enough to frame it was "A gun ban will *likely* reduce homicide rates", or something along those lines. It would give him more "wiggle room", and lower the bar for his BoP. But, because it's a subcontention, he doesn't. He wants this to be accepted as an absolute fact--which means he has to *establish* it was an absolute fact. Granted, we can quibble about what's considered an 'absolute fact', but the point is that there's a difference between "I'm more likely to be correct", and "this is definitely so"--and Pro has seemingly painted himself into the latter corner, which I knew even this early on was going to be dangerous for his case.

Con opens his R2 with noting that Pro's only contention is the homicide rates.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
RFD 3/8:

He then provides alternative statistics as his Premise I, to combat Pro's contention that no guns would mean a lower homicide rate, intending to establish that " higher gun restrictions and bans do not correlate with lower homicide rates. It appears to be the opposite, in fact."

He acknowledges that "But murder isn't the only violent crime, and gun laws aren't the only determining factor here." He shows that gun ownership doesn't strongly correlate in any negative way to crimes. In fact, he gives evidence that gun ownership doesn't strongly correlate to most things, and the correlation he does provide is that of high gun ownership leading to a lower rate of robbery.

For his Premise II, he rebuts the arguments Pro made about guns killing people. It's semantical and not particularly compelling, and I don't think it was directly rebutting Pro as much as it was rebutting the statement that he drew as an equivalency about the dangers of guns. It wasn't that great, but it didn't hurt his case.

As his Premise III, he looks globally and gives examples of where gun bans were implemented and murder rates went up in other countries. He notes that the UK didn't see a dramatic decrease, and tells us a pretty important piece of information about how they calculate their rates (which I was unaware speak to a country rather than the debaters for a second: that's a terrible way to get statistics on the matter, UK, for shame!)

Con talks about how gun bans which were implemented in the US didn't reduce violent crime--a little strange, given that Pro talked about homicide rates, so I'd have expected Con to address that specifically.

The rest of this debate started to become a source war, and I'll get into it, but it's worth noting that Con's sources are slightly less preferable, but his presentation is far more preferable. Rather than simply quoting conclusions, he gives us graphs and data breakdowns.
15 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I don't have time to write an incredibly detailed RFD at the moment. I pretty much gave equal credibility to both side' and it seemed like more guns equal less violent crimes. The increased murder rates seemed obviously tied to people being able to defend themselves from violent attackers with more lethal force. I don't really see much downside in increased murder rates of robbers and rapists while a decreased rate of people being mugged and raped. I thought this debate was clearly one that had an even split as far as the burden of proof was concerned. I was extremely impressed with Con's arguments. I don't think I've seen the pro gun side use numbers to their advantage this effectively before.
Vote Placed by jzonda415 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I would give spelling to Pro, but arguments are Con's. It seemed to be a case of academic studies vs. observed outcomes. Albeit some of the studies obviously looked at outcomes as well, but with Con's - it was shown that Pro's correlation isn't necessarily true. Normally, I'd lean more towards academia, but Con effectively showed why his sources were dominant, including the sourcing of the statistics given. Whereas in Pro's, as Con effectively pointed out, they utilized older data from previous decades and some were untraceable at all. In regards to preponderance of evidence, Con overcomes with a greater amount, especially with the UK example. Due to Con providing evidence in a manner that makes me believe a ban would be more harmful than beneficial, I award him the win.
Vote Placed by kbub 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: The debate centers around sources, and both sides made good arguments for why theirs was relevant. However, I must side with Pro's, whose data comes from reliable soures and--this is key--has been analyzed and interpreted by reliable sources (peer review). Most of con's sources are not controlled for other factors, and even though Pro can't prove causality, Pro's statistics are as close as scientists can come w/o experiments. IMO, usually a few great studies can beat many less well-interpreted studies. Pro did a good job showing the widescaled correlations, and also gives strong logic for the explanation of the data, countering well Con's more counterintuitive suggestion that guns increase crime. But even if Con's argument were true, I weigh homicides more heavily than crimes in general (lives lost). I also buy the turn that home protection can lead to additional loss of life, though this wasn't important
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Full disclosure: I was asked to vote on this by Con, since it's a tie and there's a small window of time left. That didn't affect my be honest, I expected to vote for Pro. But this degenerated into a source war. Which is unfortunate, because I think there were several arguments Pro could have run that would have been more successful. Particularly given the hypothetical nature (he could even have tried to argue an implementation issue). But in the end, Pro had BoP, and I really don't feel he fulfilled it. As always, happy to clarify this RFD--I might even post a longer one in the near future, when time is less of an issue, just on principle (I'm really not used to just using the RFD box). Rest assured, I did read it...but reading it takes like 1/10th the time as making what I consider a "good" RFD.
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a rather low BoP to fulfil in this debate. Pro framed it as such and I feel DK walked into the trap. As such this debate largely distilled down to the question: "Do more people die if there are more guns or not". Here my vote for Pro is for two reasons. First, the studies Pro presented indeed did control for extraneous factors, they were reviews and they were targetted directly at the resolution. The opposite was true was Kellers. Also I am penaliing Con for presenting statistics which obviously run into a plethora of false considerations, and failed to acknowledge the limitations of his own data, as such came across as rather dishonest over-representation of what his facts state. Given Uchihi was measured and only argued as far as his facts allowed, Pro makes gains for having a more sound case. Pro did allude to superficial factors (such as social effects of gun ownership) but didnt really expoand on these. Regardless the "Guns kill people" was sufficient enough to win.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Disclaimer: I am biased here, against CON's position. I strongly support PRO's position. Both sides did well. But, this is about this debate was won by CON. RFD to follow in comments.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Abstain due to problems with RFD.
Vote Placed by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Overall a great debate. Before I get into my reasoning, I want you both to know I'm against a gun ban. Although I live in Canada, I would like to be able to own guns. Anyway, I'm voting Pro for several reasons - His arguments were not countered with the opposite, they were simply countered with "you're wrong." His arguments (backed with credible sources, not just a bunch of graphs) were slightly better and well put together, and he proved that the homocide rate went down when guns were not present. Although one could argue a gun "ban" is different than guns not being present, it's incredibly similar. It also deters people from using deadly force if they feel violent tendancies. Con was also sarcastic (especially in premise II) and avoided any type of logical argument. He also avoided a few other of Pro's arguments. Although Con did bring up good crime stats, murder stats outweigh crime in general. Good debate, I'm on Con's side, but Pro won.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments