The Instigator
KADET_4N6
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
martianshark
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Resolved: All US Citizens from high school onwards should be taught how to handle a firearm.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
KADET_4N6
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,229 times Debate No: 23746
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

KADET_4N6

Pro

It is my position that all US citizens should be taught how to safely operate a firearm in high school, possibly making it part of the 1 required health credit for high school graduation.

1st round should be acceptance.

Points and evidence will be brought up from the second round onwards.
martianshark

Con

My main stance is that although it may be good in some situations, it isn't necessary for all kids to be forced to handle firearms. I have several arguments, which I will put in Round 2. Begin your arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
KADET_4N6

Pro

Ok, thanks for accepting, this should be good.

Just for clarification the High School Students would simply learn how to safely operate a firearm and be taught their respective states' laws concerning ownership and legal use. They would not be influenced to buy a firearm.

1. It would increase Safety

Time and time again we hear horror stories of students believing that a gun is nothing but a toy to be gawked at with friends and brought to school. they too often believe that guns are romantic and that it is completely OK for them to use weapons for "Vigilante Justice". By implementing Gun Safety classes as a required part of the High School Curriculum in Health, we help change this image so that weapons like firearms are better understood and used safely.

Accidental Shooting deaths were the cause of 680 deaths in 2008 (most recent source I could find) as well as 15,500 injuries.

In addition to these numbers, The Survivor Club went on to state that, "Each year approximately 100 people are injured or killed while cleaning a firearm and failing to exercise proper caution. Every gun, whether loaded or unloaded, must be treated as if it is loaded at all times. Many accidental shootings occur because someone believes a gun is unloaded, points it at someone and pulls the trigger as a "joke." The problem is, many guns can still fire even after the magazine has been removed if a bullet has been inadvertently left in the chamber."

The answer according to the American Rifle Association is that, "Gun owners and those who live around firearms, including children, must be taught the proper use and treatment of firearms "

That is one of the only ways that accidental firearm deaths can be reduced.

2. By teaching firearm use and safety in school, we encourage our citizens to be more proactive in their rights as stated in the Constitution.

Th citizens must be aware of their rights in order to know how to exercise them, and be able to use them in times of great need. When the time calls, we need our citizens to be able to know that they have the right to defend themselves, when you are in a life or death situation, the last thing that needs to be going through your head is whether what you are about to do (probably to save your life) is legal.

The importance of defense cannot be understated, according to the "Birth Place of the Second Amendment Society", "The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year-old gang-banger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender."

For these reasons of defense, firearm education is critical to the general safety of the populace.

3. Gun Education has been proven to lower crime rates.

The country where gun education has been proven effective is Switzerland, and it is thus the country in which I base this contention.

The Swiss are a unique country in that the have the most well-educated populace in the realm of gun safety and use as every able-bodied male is required to learn to operate a firearm. In fact almost every household in Switzerland has an assault rifle in it. You would think that this would be dangerous but according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the rate of unintentional deaths per 100,000 people in Switzerland is .13, compared to the US's .23.

Even more shockingly the homicide rate in Switzerland is also considerably lower at .53 per 100,000 as compared to the US's 4.14.

The statistics cannot be refuted, for two very similar countries economically and socially, the main difference is Gun education laws, and that difference means that.

The US has almost twice as many unintentional deaths (rate-wise)
The US has 8 times as many homicides (also rate-wise)

Therefore, it would be logical to assume that by increasing education that we benefit the entire country when it comes to safety, which is in all honesty the focus of this debate.

Best of Luck.
martianshark

Con

I am going to start with a few of my own arguments, and then rebut Pro's arguments.

As I stated in my opening, being taught how to use a firearm isn't necessary in most situations, as many people will never operate guns. If a person wanted to learn how to operate a gun because he wanted to go hunting or learn to defend himself or join the military, he could easily learn this through separate gun lessons, or in military training.

Pacifists:
For some people, such as really extreme pacifists, it may be against their beliefs to handle a gun, even if they won't actually be firing it. These people would be forced against their will to handle guns (or at least be penalized for not), which is wrong.

Handicapped:
How is a guy with both his arms chopped off supposed to handle a firearm? This means it is impossible for "all" citizens to be taught to handle firearms.

Firearm Training:
Once again, if someone wants to learn to use a gun, there's nothing stopping them from joining a class, such as this one: http://www.saginawfirearms.com... It isn't necessary to make this a mandatory part of education, especially since most people don't need to know the proper way to handle a gun. In some places though, it might be good to have an optional gun class at school.

School Gun Ban:
Most schools ban guns and even things that resemble guns. If the resolution was to become the law right now, there would be a contradiction. Several school's rules would have to be changed, and this could become very complicated.

All of your arguments are basically talking about better safety and lower crime rates as a result of gun operating lessons (you gave no sources by the way). Instead of forcing high schoolers to handle guns, I think it would make more sense to simply teach kids to not play with guns as a regular part of elementary school. Teach them that guns are not toys, and promote against violence. This would decrease accidents and violence without anyone being required to operate a firearm. Other safety issues, such as the proper way to hold a shotgun, can be learned elsewhere if the person decides he wants one.

Also, just because Switzerland has a lower crime rate doesn't mean it's the result of gun safety lessons. It could have something to do with the fact that the U.S. has more guns than any other country, with almost 90 guns per 100 people. Switzerland only has 46. http://en.wikipedia.org...

That's all I have to say at this point. I look foreward to my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
KADET_4N6

Pro

My opponents only two contentions really circle around the fact of actually using a gun, not learning how to, which is what I base my case on.

"Pacifists: For some people, such as really extreme pacifists, it may be against their beliefs to handle a gun, even if they won't actually be firing it. These people would be forced against their will to handle guns (or at least be penalized for not), which is wrong."

This would not violate pacifism, first off pacifists don't believe in violence or killing, but this is not what these classes would teach, they would only teach how to use a firearm. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is the quote I would respond with to that with because what would be taught is not how to kill. This argument would also make them not able to use knives for something as simple as cutting vegetables because they too are used for killing. Due to the overly presumptive and illogical nature of this contention, it is not relevant in the debate.

"Handicapped: How is a guy with both his arms chopped off supposed to handle a firearm? This means it is impossible for "all" citizens to be taught to handle firearms."

This is a trivial objection and is therefore fallacious. a handicapped person would not be in normal classes in the first place as all academics require writing, such students are already on special courses in which they are exempt from many classes which they cannot compete in, such as P.E. and health. Therefore, the contention falls.

"Once again, if someone wants to learn to use a gun, there's nothing stopping them from joining a class"

You can join a class for just about any subject in school, but that's not the point, the point is that this has to do with public safety, and I have yet to see any source that contradicts my statement that the country will be safer.

"Most schools ban guns and even things that resemble guns. If the resolution was to become the law right now, there would be a contradiction"

Schools also ban having sex on campus yet we still teach sexual education in school. The contention fall because it is irrelevant.

"Also, just because Switzerland has a lower crime rate doesn't mean it's the result of gun safety lessons. It could have something to do with the fact that the U.S. has more guns than any other country, with almost 90 guns per 100 people. Switzerland only has 46."

This is a misstatement for a couple of reasons.

1. this is only small firearms, when you add all weapons (i.e. assault weapons that are banned here), the rate for the Swiss nearly doubles, leveling it with the US.
2. In America, only 30% all households have a firearm (http://www.gallup.com...), whereas in Switzerland, every household by law has a firearm by law.

Your facts only took weapons vs. people not weapons per household or they would be much different.

Switzerland and the US as I said before are very similar, so this wide variance in crime can only be pointed to gun education and matters of self-defense, it is the only logical explanation.
martianshark

Con

The only real way to learn how to operate a gun is to actually operate it. You can learn gun safety without handling a gun, but gun operation is a different matter. It would be difficult, unreliable, and possibly dangerous to show someone how to operate a gun without actually testing them by having them operate it themselves.

Pacifists:
Some people are more extreme then that, and believe that even handling a gun would be wrong. This usually doesn't go as far as knives because a gun is designed to kill or wound something. A knife, on the other hand, is a tool that comes in various styles for different purposes that do not necessarily include killing. A pacifist wouldn't be using fighting knives; they would be using kitchen knives, which are designed for cooking, not killing.

Besides that, some people actually don't use knives for this reason. Chinese vegetarian Confucius is believed to have influenced the use of chopsticks in China to promote against the use of knives while eating. http://www.infoplease.com...

So this argument is valid. Making someone handle a gun when it's against their beliefs is wrong.

Handicapped:
Your resolution states that ALL citizens should be taught how to handle a firearm. Even if the handicapped person was in a special type of school, this doesn't solve how he is supposed to handle a firearm when the law requires him to do so. This contradicts the resolution, and thus it is a valid argument.

Firearm Training:
You have proven nothing here. If someone wants to learn to handle a gun, he can learn it elsewhere. There is no reason he should be forced to learn it in school. Public safety is a completely different matter; as I already stated, students may and should be taught about gun safety, but there is no need to teach them how to operate a gun if they won't actually be using one.

School Gun Ban:
Sex education is completely different from learning to handle a gun. Sex education doesn't mean we teach how to have sex and have them practice having sex. It means we teach them how to be responsible about sex. In the same way, we should teach them how to be responsible about guns, but this doesn't mean we need to actually have them handle guns. Besides that, this rebuttal is irrelevant. The argument here was that it would make things complicated for schools because of the gun ban.

Switzerland:
1. Sources?
2. Your source was posted all the way back in 2005. The amount of guns per people is likely higher nowadays. Also, the amount of guns per household instead of per 100 people doesn't necessarily have to do with why Switzerland has a lower crime rate. How does weapons per household instead of weapons per people change anything? Lastly, showing someone how to operate a gun without giving everyone an assault rifle isn't going to change anything in America. The reason the crime rate is lower in Switzerland is most likely because of the fact that everyone owns an assault rifle in addition to being taught gun operation. When everyone owns a powerful weapon that they know how to use, most people won't be stupid enough to commit a crime. If we taught people how to use a gun, but didn't force them to own one, it will have no effect on the crime rate.

You have not shown how gun education is the "only" explanation for less crime. How do you know it doesn't have to do with their culture, or a different reason that we haven't discussed, or because it's a combination of education and ownership as described above? It's entirely possible.
Debate Round No. 3
KADET_4N6

Pro

KADET_4N6 forfeited this round.
martianshark

Con

Pro's forfeit was not deliberate. As you can see in the comments, we attempted to work this out through messaging, but things didn't work out in time. To make things fair, I will not say anything else in this Round. Just pretend the debate was only three rounds long. The only thing I will say is this:

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by KADET_4N6 4 years ago
KADET_4N6
Oh well...sorry about that. It was a good debate until I screwed it up....
Posted by martianshark 4 years ago
martianshark
Try it now. Hurry.
Posted by KADET_4N6 4 years ago
KADET_4N6
It says that you're not accepting messages at this time....
Posted by martianshark 4 years ago
martianshark
If you send me a message with your arguments, I'll quote it in my final post. Please send it to me within a 24 hours so I'll have time to make my post.
Posted by KADET_4N6 4 years ago
KADET_4N6
Sorry I didn't mean to forfeit the last round, Exams were distracting me. Please vote con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
KADET_4N6martiansharkTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: All of cons points where logically debunked or factually refuted. Meaning CON wins this debate, and fulfills his BOP (in this scope of debate). The Switzerland data and polling is again accurate. PRO wins args, con gets conduct for FF.