Res: The United States should institute a ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms.
Debate Rounds (4)
1. All DDO civility rules apply.
2. Hyperlinks to sources must be made available at the end of an argument. Conserve your characters.
3. Round 1 is only for acceptance of the rules and definition of terms.
4. Round 2 is for establishing cases. Side Con may rebut Side Pro if he/she has enough characters, but must establish a case of his/her own prior.
5. Round 3 is for clash/rebuttals and rebuilding previous points.
6. In Round 4, the sides are encouraged to crystallize the points of the round into clear reasons why one side or the other won. New arguments are not permitted unless direct responses to points brought up in Round 3. New sources are NOT allowed. However, common knowledge is permissible (i.e. "The Hawley-Smoot Tariff was a bad idea" not "In 2010, 9,251 farms used 1-9 organic acres").
7. Wikipedia is NOT a source. You may use the links from the Wikipedia page, but Wikipedia is not acceptable.
8. All speeches must be posted within 24 hours.
9. Side Pro has the burden of creating a plan for the proposed ban.
10. Side Con may or may not create a counter-proposal.
1. An RFD must be given.
2. Do not use outside sources or information in making your decision. Judge purely on the arguments made during the round.
3. Replace the category "Who had better spelling and grammar" with "Who had better organization and structure."
4. Read the entire debate before voting.
I know I set up many rules, but I would like a nice, clean round with an opponent ready to debate this topic.
Hopefully, Side Con will accept the following definitions.
The United States: The Federal Government of the United States
Automatic firearms: Firearms allowing for the firing of multiple rounds without multiple clicks of the trigger.
Semi-automatic firearms: Firearms allowing for the firing of multiple rounds with multiple clicks of the trigger without pulling back a hammer, safety, or other mechanism after each shot.
I eagerly await my opponent's acceptance, and I am looking forward to this round.
Plank 1: Congress and the President will establish a legislative ban on all firearms meeting the semi-automatic or automatic qualifications established in Round 1"s definition, including transfer, importation, and manufacture.
Plank 2: The federal government will establish a gun buy-back program similar to those established in Australia or the United Kingdom.
Plank 3: Money for the gun buy-back program will come from the Navy Procurement fund for destroyers and battleships, a 100 billion dollar funding source (1). Other sources of revenue will come from eliminating the repatriation tax loophole.
Plank 4: Guns used by police forces, state defense forces, the National Guard, and the US military are exempt from the ban.
Plank 5: The federal government will establish a Federal Weapons Task Force, equipped with state-by-state branches, for oversight of this project.
I have three contentions to support this plan.
Contention 1: Significantly decreasing the number of automatic and semi-automatic firearms in the USA is critical for national security.
Looking at the number of total gun deaths in the United States, we see an overwhelming number of people killed each year by assailants with firearms: 32,163 in 2011 alone. Approximately 11,000 of these were from homicides (2). Furthermore, gun massacres have proven a huge threat to our national security. 12 died at Columbine in 1999, 32 at Virginia Tech in 2007, 12 in Aurora in 2012, and perhaps most tragically of all, 20 children and 6 teachers in Newtown (3).
The number of deaths has steadily risen over the past few years. Trends from Bloomberg analysts indicate, by 2015, gun deaths will actually exceeding the number of automobile-related deaths in the US (4). These trends are both shocking and appalling. Conversely, guns are rarely used for self-defense, used only about 67,740 times per year. In 2010, there were a mere 230 justifiable homicides, while there were over 8,000 criminal homicides.
The guns themselves are designed for extreme lethality. The multi-firing capability allows an assailant to fire again and again without fear of having to pull back a hammer or other mechanism. This allows a deranged assailant to kill multiple people quickly, a tragic occurrence not removed from reality.
For sake of American safety, a ban on such weaponry is necessary.
Contention 2: A ban on automatic and semiautomatic firearms is morally correct.
When examining morality, there are several modes of thought. In this case, the most compelling is Jeremy Bentham"s utilitarianism, and the famous "greatest happiness principle." Namely, the most moral decision is that which increases the greatest overall happiness of society and reduces the greatest overall pain of society. This is measured in 6 dimensions: intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity, fecundity, and purity (6).
The current world has an extreme amount of pain due to firearm violence, as evaluated by these categories.
1. Intensity: Death by firearm may be quick, but one cannot deny it hurts. Furthermore, for those hospitalized by gun violence, a lifetime of paralysis and misery could ensue.
2. Duration: Perhaps the pain is quick, but our nation"s issue with gun violence has been around since our nation"s inception.
3. Certainty: So long as a weapon exists, there will always be someone to abuse it. Gun violence is certain in any world, but becomes more and more probable as more guns are available.
4. Propinquity: As my first contention indicated, mass shootings are becoming more and more common. Tragedies are occurring sooner than ever.
5. Fecundity: Since semi-automatic firearms repeat easily, it is highly likely to presume a person will shoot again. Thus, the fecundity, or likelihood of something happening again, is extremely high.
6. Purity: Death by firearm is rather devoid of pleasure.
Looking at a federal assault weapons ban, we see a drastic decrease in the amount of pain.
1. Intensity: If the assailant does not have a gun, death is far less likely.
2. Duration: So long as the ban is in place, one is far safer from firearms, and will likely live much longer.
3. Certainty: This is best defended by my third contention. See below.
4. Propinquity: The positive effects of a gun ban happen rather rapidly. Once most guns are removed via buy-backs or manufacture decreases, there is a very swift increase in not dying.
5. Fecundity: If there are fewer guns around a person, it is far more likely for the person not to get shot.
6. Purity: Perhaps NRA advocates will be unhappy, but the loss of property (with a refund) is small compared to the loss of life.
Furthermore, looking at a different school of thought, eliminating most of our nation"s semi-automatic and automatic weapons protects the most important of our three natural rights as established by John Locke: life. Without life, one cannot exercise any other right. Thus, the policy best respecting life is best for the nation"s morality.
However, a policy will only best respect life if it works, bringing me to my third contention.
Contention 3: Assault weapons bans have proven feasible and effective.
Now, I know what you are thinking: "An appeal to history is a LOGICAL FALLACY1 Therefore, you are wrong." Allow me to explain one thing: just because something is logically fallacious, it is not necessarily false. In fact, precedent is considered in nearly every government decision. The US has never decided to wage a land war in Russia during winter, partly due to the failures of Charles XII of Sweden, Napoleon, and Hitler to do so. The Supreme Court uses precedent constantly. If we are not to include precedent as part of arguments, then "examples" as we know them do not exist.
Thus, it is fitting to look at other nations" semi-automatic weapon bans as mirrors to our own. UK gun bans have been immensely successful, with most criminals resorting to "archaic flintlock pistols" and "retrofitted flare guns" (7). This is due to the British gun buyback program, which proved immensely successful. Indeed, British gun bans have eliminated more 200,000 guns from the streets. This has saved countless lives.
Australia has had similar successes. For the general population prior to the Australian gun buy-back program, "the average annual firearm homicide rate per 100,000 was .43 (range .27 to .60); after the buy-back program came into place, the average annual firearm homicide rate was .25 (range .16 to .33). And this is not a simple case of correlation not equaling causation. For the primary decreases in gun violence were from the guns purchased in the buy-back program. This is a significant case of cause and effect.
With this in mind, we ought to consider what is truly best for our nation and the American people. If we truly treasure our public safety, then it is our obligation to establish a ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms " the plan Side Pro has provided.
I will establish my case in a reasonable manner and show why I think a ban will ultimately accomplish nothing. The first thing we must take a look at is how many guns are already in private ownership. Through multiple surveys and studies we can see that there are around 270-300 million guns in private ownership. With your proposal you have stated that a gun buy back program is the solution to solving this problem. When we look at how it affected Australia while it is arguable that it decreased the homicide rate, the one thing that is for sure is that it only decreased the guns in private ownership minimally. Lets first take a look at how many citizens in Australia own guns. It is estimated between 3 million to 3.5 million guns are circulating in private ownership. That is almost exactly a 90 percent less guns than we have in private ownership. The Gun buy back program reduced this number from 3.8 to 3.5 which was very marginal. If we applied and assumed the same figured would occur in america that would reduce our rate from 300 million to around 272,00,00 if we go by the same percentage. I rounded the number off with basic math, it would actually be repeating but that is a verily accurate rough estimate. As we could see that would virtually do nothing for reducing the gun count in private ownership. With federal regulation and laws in place, there is also no way the government could go take back the guns that are in private ownership, it would virtually be impossible. Even if they were to try, it would result in our nation going into a rebellion like we have never seen. So saying people would voluntary give up their guns for a reward is a long shot at best, and even it were to have the same results it virtually would accomplish nothing.
Now when we also look at these numbers. The automatic guns in private owner ship make up around 1 percent of the total guns, actually it comes in under one percent. With all gun related deaths assault rifles themselves make up 1 percent of gun related deaths, with very few cases. If there is a case where someone used an assault rifle it would be few and far between. So to say an assault rifle ban is necessary would be irrelevant in some ways due to the fact, that they make up under 1 percent of gun related deaths.So lets take a look at semi auto weapons, such as some pistols. Now a viable argument would be a way to limit pistols, seeing as how they rank in around 90 percent of all gun related deaths. As you can some from my previous paragraph , banning them or recalling them would not work, so the next solution would be to stop production. The issue with this is that one, you are denying citizens the right to defend themselves in a reasonable manner, and also are overlooking all the guns that are still in private ownership. Again to try and ban pistols would be illogical. My solution which i believe is a viable alternative to this issue is to slowly cut production of high capacity magazines and limit magazine sizes that civilians can purchase. This would take away that sense of invincibility that you were speaking of. Most of the mass shooting happen because someone walks in with a pistol and can fire off countless rounds before anything can happen, imagine trying to do that with a 6 round magazine or a old school revolver, it would put back in a sense of fear in criminals and would result in less crime by itself.
Also another point would be the one that most people present, a ban on fire arms is stepping on the constitution. We are guaranteed the right to bear arms, this is not negotiable. How you can define arms is quite subjective in some cases, but we are afforded the right to defend ourselves with reasonable means. Instead of initiating a ban, i think a better alternative would be increase and promote more strict regulations of purchases, and maybe even initiate a mental health mandate to accompany gun regulation and purchasing.
The last point I will make is the one you probably were expecting and the one most ignorant people make. Guns to not kill people, people kill people. I will tread very carefully as i defend this point. While i am fully aware, Guns are catalyst are the cause of death, there has to be someone operating it for that death to occur. It could happen with a knife, a car, or any other thing that could be used a tool. You take away someones motive to kill, you solve the problem. A gun will never fire itself. As you have stated and I agree, guns give people a means by which to carry out their misdeeds but that is because of the sense of power that you spoke of. As i have mentioned as well, limited magazine sizes is one solution to this and help take away that feeling.
In conclusion, i will sum up what i have stated. I believe a ban or even a buy back will ultimately accomplish nothing and be a waste of time. If it were to happen it would have a minimal effect due to the large number of firearms that we have in private ownership. Also due to these large numbers, it is impossible and not a viable option to ban them all together. Mixed in with our rights that are withing the constitution and the promises within it, i think we have the right to bear arms to defend ourselves from foreign and domestic affairs. I in turn propose we try to add a mental health mandate to purchasing guns, and also install a way to check up on people who purchase them. Run random background checks to see if their condition has changed. Mixed in with limiting magazine sizes of pistols and ar15s and other type of guns, i believe this is the best of both worlds and a far more viable option than proposing a full ban.
Now i turn this back to my opponent.
A few sources: I will not list them all because i am sure no one will take the time to go through them all. I could just over 20 but i will stay with just 2 for now. There are multiple sites giving the number of guns in ownership, i went with the ones with highest percentage, granted some site may very slightly.
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Looking at Side Con"s speech, we can distill his case down to three main contentions and a counter-plan, which we will then look at one by one.
1C: The plan proposed by Side Pro is not practical/effective.
2C: The plan proposed by Side Pro is unconstitutional.
3C: Guns don"t kill people; people kill people.
Counter-proposal: Limit magazine sizes.
STARTING with 1C, we must first notice this point comes into direct clash with Pro"s third contention. Thus, by refuting this argument, we reassert and build upon the points brought up in Side Pro"s third contention. Keeping this in mind, my opponent asserts Pro"s plan will not work on the grounds that the buy-back program Pro put forth will not eliminate enough guns in private hands. While Pro put forth a reasonable precedent for such a policy, Con took serious issue, namely, "When we look at how it affected Australia while it is arguable that it decreased the homicide rate, the one thing that is for sure is that it only decreased the guns in private ownership minimally."
Con then did some calculations, but many of his figures proved quite confusing. Apparently, the Australian buy-back program decreased "this number" from 3.8 to 3.5. What is this number? What do the 3.8 to 3.5 refer to? Millions of guns? Numbers of households owning guns? Gun homicides per 100,000 citizens? Due to the ambiguity in Con"s argument, we do not know what he is referring to. Thus, his calculation of the reduction of guns in the United States does not have any content validity, as we do not know what content is being evaluated. The number has no meaning since we do not know what he is measuring.
Conversely, if we look at some other sources, we find a far greater impact of the Australian buy-back program. A Harvard University study found the buy-back to have reduced gun owning citizens by 20%, almost halving the total number of gun-owning households (1). In the US, this would eliminate nearly 60,000,000 guns.
But my opponent has two other key points under this contention. First, a mandatory buy-back program along the lines of Australia would cause "a rebellion like we have never seen." Even if this reduction ad absurdum was true, voluntary systems already in place in the US have done wonders for reducing the number of guns. Two counties in New Jersey, with voluntary buy-back programs, have already netted 14,000 weapons since December 2012 (2). These programs have worked, as seen in both Britain and Australia, and the New Jersey model demonstrates the US can support similar programs effectively.
My opponent"s other argument along this line: eliminating assault rifles will not do enough. I agree. But as the resolution states, Side Pro is against semi-automatic weapons as well. In this case, that is any gun where you can fire a bullet without having to cock back a hammer or other such mechanism with each shot. Therefore, the vast majority of modern handguns (Glock, SIG Sauer, etc.) would be banned under Pro"s plan.
2C: The plan proposed by Pro is unconstitutional.
My opponent believes Side Pro"s plan is "stepping on the Constitution." This, however, denotes a lack of understanding of how the Constitution works. ANY Constitutional right can be limited. After all, hate speech is illegal, but one has the 1st Amendment. "Stop and Frisk" exists, but so does the 4th Amendment. A weapons ban can co-exist with the 2nd Amendment; it just cannot infringe upon the amendment to a degree deemed unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. So, in evaluating whether or not a policy is constitutional, we ought to use SCOTUS precedent to determine the answer.
I produce two cases to support why Pro"s plan is constitutional. First is Palko v. Connecticut (3), establishing what makes a right fundamental or not. If a right is "essential to a fundamental scheme of ordered liberty," it is fundamental. Sadly for the 2nd Amendment, the SCOTUS generally considers it not essential to this scheme. Thus, the SCOTUS treats it with what is known as "rational basis" review, established by a second case, McCulloch v. Maryland. In rational basis review, if Congress as a "legitimate state interest" in enacting a policy, it is deemed constitutional. In this case, there is a clear legitimate state interest. Thus, the SCOTUS would deem such a policy constitutional. My opponent"s 2C does not stand on actual court merit.
3C: Guns don"t kill people; people kill people.
I will keep this brief. As my opponent correctly notes, guns actually do kill people, through giving criminals a sense of power. With a knife or a club, a lot can go wrong. You can be disarmed. You could accidentally hurt yourself. Your victim might actually hurt you more than you hurt him. With a gun, you can keep a safe distance away yet still kill someone. Criminals feel in control. Yet limiting the magazine size still allows for this control; the criminal still has the distance, firepower, and repeating capabilities. All too much can still go wrong, and will go wrong in the world proposed by Side Con. So long as semi-automatic handguns are still floating about the streets, there is a severe threat to national safety.
With that, let"s look at Side Con"s counter-plan in greater detail.
CP: Limit magazine sizes.
First off, I am not saying Con"s plan is bad, per se; it just isn"t the most effective way to regulate firearms. While Con has noble intentions, his plan only serves to prolong gun homicides in this country, increasing the possibility for gun massacres through keeping semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the hands of the public. These guns still have repeating capabilities and enough distance to keep victims far enough away. The gradual process Con endorses will undoubtedly take longer to pass than the plan proposed by Side Pro, even assuming Fiat power. Thus, while Con"s plan does work towards more effective gun control, his plan will cost our nation more lives than Side Pro"s plan.
Now let"s rebuild upon the points brought up by Side Pro.
Side Con only rebutted one plank of Pro"s plan, the second. Yet, as I elaborated upon in rebutting his first contention, a gun buy-back program can and will work. The funding sources I have used are solvent, with enough money to fund the guns the nation can buy-back. And, as New Jersey has shown us, US citizens are willing to sell their guns.
Looking at my contentions now,
1C: Significantly decreasing the number of automatic and semi-automatic firearms in the USA is critical for national security.
My opponent never refuted this point. It appears he agrees how necessary some form of gun control is. Nonetheless, he did drop this argument.
2C: A ban on automatic and semiautomatic firearms is morally correct.
My opponent never addressed this argument as well. Yet, looking at our plans, one side definitively limits the fecundity, certainty, propinquity, intensity, duration, and purity of pain in our world. That is Side Pro.
3C: Assault weapons bans have proven feasible and effective.
I addressed this contention in refuting my opponent's first contention.
With all this in mind, let us review why Side Pro is the better idea for our nation. Both sides agree something must be done to limit the number of gun deaths in this country. Yet only one has proposed a solvent plan dealing directly with the problem at hand: the number of semi-automatic and automatic firearms in the country. While Con does some work towards a safer nation, Pro takes a far greater step: one consistent with our national values, morality, history, and yes, our Constitution. There is thus no other option but Side Pro.
Private Ownership : noun
1. the fact of being owned by a private individual or organization, rather than by the state or a public body
Now that we have established that, I would first like to address his point about a Gun buy back program. He states
" A Harvard University study found the buy-back to have reduced gun owning citizens by 20%, almost halving the total number of gun-owning households (1). In the US, this would eliminate nearly 60,000,000 guns."
To me this argument is a fallacy within itself. The way it is stated is even illogical. If the buy back program actually did reduce gun owning citizens by 20 percent, how could it be possibly presented that it halved the number of Gun owning households? By definition a citizen is a resident of that country.So let us take this argument into consideration. Each and every "gun owning citizen" is a party of a "gun owning household". so using sheer logic would it not be easier to assume that if 20 percent of citizens turned in Guns by using the buy back program that nearly the number of "gun owning homes" would decrease by a similar, maybe slightly higher amount. Pros argument states that there is a 30 percent difference in the two, which would be in the millions. We both came up with entirely different numbers. My surveys as posted along with multiple other sites show that the buy back in Australia decreased the total number of guns by around 10 percent in some cases, and that is being generous. I will say this number constantly changes by which source you use, so for the sake of argument I will use pros argument of 20 percent. The first thing we must recognize is that different countries have an entirely different legal system along with a different number of people within the population. Pros argument is essentially, If it worked in Australia it can work here. If we took that line of thinking and applied it to other topics of politics such as health care, we could try and mimic Canada but again this is illogical to make that assumption. so let us take the 20 percent mark. Even if as pro states "this would eliminate nearly 60,000,000 guns.", because of the population difference why this could make a dent, still leaves around 260 million more guns in the hands of Citizens. To put this is simple terms that is still nearly 100 times the amount of Guns that are circulation in private ownership within Australia. So to assume because Australia gained a decrease in crime so we will do the same is an error in reasoning. Also bear in mind a Gun buy back program is optional. We have around 15 states(mainly southern ones), that are around 80-90 percent opposed to a gun ban. Others are split or are near even(New jersey as he stated is one of the states is primarily liberal, he is not accounting for the other states which are conservative and would not so happily hand over fire arms). So to assume this will play out the way it did in Australia, as i have stated many times is illogical.
He then states that banning guns is within means of the constitution. It clearly states(I also find no need to cite this source because it is common knowledge), "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." No matter how Pro chooses to play semantics this argument stands without me having to build on it alot. This right is promised to us within the framework of our nation. I will add this point to further demonstrate this to demonstrate what would happen if we were to take away guns from citizens. In 1982, the city of Chicago instituted a ban on handguns. This ban limited civilians from possessing handguns except for those registered with the city government prior to the law. After this law was legally initiated, the number of murders committed with hand guns increased 40 percent. That is not just a small step in the wrong direction, it is a giant leap backwards. Many other states have experienced the same thing with limited conceal carry permits. When you take the permits away, the number of crimes increase because there is no way for a citizen to defend himself and also criminals have no reason to fear doing crimes because they know that no one is armed. I think it is perfectly logical, in fact I think it is common sense to conclude that without a way for citizens to defend themselves crime rates will increase because criminals have no deterrent.
My opponent then admits that people are the primes cause of Gun related deaths. He then admits however that Guns are a catalyst for crimes, which I 100 percent agree with him on. The issue with this argument falls back to the other. Hypothetically if you remove guns from private ownership there is no deterrent for the criminal. He states by banning certain types of gun, a criminal will loose his driving force to commit crimes because he will not have the means to commit then. Since logically criminals operate outside of the law, we have no reason to believe they will abide by it and not own semi auto or fully auto hand guns or rifles. Whether we ban them from citizens or not , criminals will still have them. Even if pro is elected president and institutes his beloved Gun buy back program, we still will have over 260 million guns in private ownership which are by all means available to criminals. As i have stated this argument presents a bigger problem, it takes away the deterrent. As we can obliviously see, prison is not a good enough deterrent due to the mass amount of murders that happen on a daily basis. If you take away someones right to defend themselves, you are removing the shackles from criminals and making innocent civilians easy targets.
Pro also agrees that my solution to stop all distribution to large magazine capacity weapons to solution is an entirely viable argument, he believes his argument is a means to a better end. While he has offered no argument to disprove my logic that banning large magazines on weapons is a bad idea, and I in turn have refuted and tore down his statements, I believe we logically can conclude that pros argument is not sound. I have shown you that banning semi auto and fully automatic weapons will in term accomplish hardly nothing, and do more harm than it causes. I have supported this by using multiple facts to support my theories as I addressed pros incomplete proposals and rebuttals. I also have offered a viable medium for both sides of the table. So for Pro to prove me wrong he must take each and every point i provided and tear it down and provide a viable alternative, supported by hard evidence.
I now turn the floor back to my opponent.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Inductivelogic 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I was voting on one of cons religion debates and saw this and had to vote. This is almost impossible to judge due to the fact it was so even. I do believe that Pro had better spelling and grammar so that mark goes to him. The only reason I am picking con is because i believe he addressed the rebuttals directly and countered them in a way that was worded slightly better. All the sources were viable and accurate so that stays tied along with a Majority of the rest of the topics Pro for Grammar Con for arguments
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