The Instigator
shatteredseren
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
minddrag
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points

Resolved: Assault weapons should be banned for civilian ownership.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/8/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 499 times Debate No: 86261
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)

 

shatteredseren

Con

Thank you to whomever accepts my debate challenge, and I look forward to a fun and challenging debate!

For clarification, "Assault weapons" will be defined as a semi-automatic firearm with a barrel shroud and pistol grip that has the capability to accept a detachable magazine.

First round will be acceptance. Second will be contentions. Third will be a period of cross-examination with a maximum of five questions and a minimum of one. Fourth round will be responses to cross-examination. Fifth will be closing remarks.

All sources must be cited.
minddrag

Pro

Hello shatteredseren, My name is minddrag. I know I have accepted a lot of debates in the past couple of days, but I hope you would like to debate me. I hereby accept your debate and your definitions.
Debate Round No. 1
shatteredseren

Con

Firstly, I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge.
Since both Pro and I have agreed on the definition of an assault weapon, I will begin by analyzing each of the features of that specific type of firearm, and how each does not necessarily add to the lethality of the weapon.
First, let us look at semi-automatic fire. Contrary to common belief, semi-automatic fire is not "rapid-fire." Rather, unlike machine guns, semi-automatic weapons fire a single bullet per trigger pull, and some of the energy from the exploding gunpowder is redirected to eject the spent casing and chamber another round. While it is true that semiautomatic fire allows more bullets to be fired in a given period of time, banning all semiautomatic firearms is simply impractical. Virtually all modern pistols with the exception of revolvers are semiautomatic, as are many hunting rifles and a large percentage of shotguns.
Second, the barrel shroud. Despite sounding frightening, a barrel shroud is a device designed for comfort purposes; It prevents the shooter's hands from being burned from the heat of the barrel. In fact, many hunting rifles use a block of insulating wood to achieve the same purpose.
Third, the pistol grip. Despite the well-intended belief of those wishing to restrict pistol grips, the device is solely designed for ergonomics; Holding a pistol grip or thumbhole stock is more comfortable than having to bend the wrist in order to fire. It does not allow "hip-firing" as some would have you believe, unless the weapon is fully-automatic. Even in that case, it is highly inaccurate compared to aiming down sights and would probably result in fewer deaths even in a mass-shooting situation because ammunition would be expended so quickly.
Detachable magazines are the most dangerous of the assault weapon's features, but even then they are not unique to assault rifles. Found on many popular hunting rifle models, most handguns except revolvers, and some shotguns, detachable magazines simply allow the rifle to be loaded more easily.
I have also commonly heard the claim that "No one needs an assault rifle." This is strictly speaking true. No one NEEDS any kind of firearm. However, the topic of this debate is not an all-out ban on any gun, but rather a ban of a specific class of weapons. Saying assault weapons are useless for civilians, however, is an outright lie. They are extremely popular for numerous activities, including but certainly not limited to hog, coyote, and varmint hunting, three-gun competitions, and general target shooting. In fact, the AR-15 is the most popular style of rifle in America, and is also the most popular weapon for home defense, according to the National Rifle Association and NBC News. While assault weapons are not the best at any one activity, they are very versatile and thus better for those without the resources to purchase a gun for every different hobby.
Since they are factually no more deadly than any other semi-automatic rifle, and useful for a variety of peaceful activities, I can see no reason to ban them and strongly encourage a vote against the resolution.
I look forward to hearing my opponent's response.

https://www.nraila.org...
http://www.assaultweapon.info...
http://www.wsj.com...
http://dailycaller.com...
http://www.nbcnews.com...
minddrag

Pro

Good morning (or afternoon or night, depending on where you are) to all readers and to my opponent. I think you for your opening speech, and must admit I was quite taken aback by the skill shown and validity of the arguments presented against the resolution, and would like to congratulate you on a very worthy opening argument. I will now move on to my opening argument.

Not only do I believe we should ban assault weapons, I believe that we need to define them more broadly. I propose we define "assault weapons" as any semi-automatic weapon capable of firing rounds size 9mm or higher, to include shotguns, with a magazine capacity higher than 10. I believe this because whether for hunting, home defense, or sport, civilians do not need more than 10 rounds to accomplish the mission. Regardless of this ban, we should require a minimum of background checks, mental health screening, and firearms safety and employment training (on a five-year recurring cycle).
Now that I have asked for a refinement of the definition, I would like to rebut a few of my opponents points, before I move onto my constructive speech.

Your first point is that semi automatic weapons is not rapid fire. I would first like to present this quote from http://www.gunsandcrime.org... about the fire rates of semi automatic rifles: A person can pull (and release) a trigger about three times per second. A rare person might be able to pull four times per second. I would consider 3-4 shots a second as rapid fire. Although I will not challenge the point of rapid fire, because that would be very trivial, but I would just like to outline the fire rates of assault rifles.

I do agree with you that detachable magazines are the most dangerous part of an assault rifle, (although you could state that the bullet is the most dangerous part :P) and I would like to point out that not only do they allow for faster reload, they can contain more bullets than a normal magazine, allowing for faster and more prolonged firing.

I do agree that people do need firearms, for recreational purposes and to be kept in the home for defense, and I would congratulate you on cutting off my opening argument, which is why it took longer than normal for me to write and release my opening argument.

Now that I have completed my rebuttals of your opening points, I will move on to my constructive speech.

Many people opposed to banning assault weapons will say that criminals don"t follow the law, which I agree is true.
However, I would like to point out that most of the shootings we are seeing in the news are not being committed with firearms obtained illegally. These are weapons that are being purchased legally by the shooter or someone close to the shooter. Almost inevitably, we find that the shooter is suffering from some sort of mental illness and that there had been warning signs. Banning Assault Rifles would make some progress on the issue, without being overly restrictive or violating the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but gives the reason to maintain a well-regulated militia. It does not say that citizens should be able to keep and bear any and all type of arms. Further, the training and screening requirements would go very far to keep the militia well-regulated.

Furthermore the massacres at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and the 142 school shootings since Sandy Hook, illustrate that military style assault rifles and easily concealed handguns equipped with large capacity ammunition magazines are now the weapons of choice for mass shooters. These semiautomatic weapons are far more powerful and lethal than standard issue law enforcement service weapons.

If this does not convince you, contemplate the risk of terrorists purchasing military style assault weapons in the 33 states and at the thousands of gun shows that don"t require a criminal background check or even proof of ID.
Some argue that because most people in this country killed with firearms are shot with handguns, a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines would do little to reduce most gun violence. While there is truth in the raw numbers, that argument fails to capture the lethal capacity of military style assault weapons and the now daily mass shootings in America.

As of early December, there had been more mass shootings of four or more people in the US than days in the year. The common denominator in almost every one is an assault rifle and high capacity ammunition magazine. The prevalence of mass shootings has people rightly wondering if they are safe sending their children to school or going to malls.
An assault weapon ban would not end all gun violence in this country and it might not significantly reduce the average 90 Americans killed by guns each day. But it would help reduce the daily mass shootings. It might also help us begin living without the fear of being massacred in a public place.

In conclusion, the banning of assault weapons and high capacity clips would do a lot to decrease gun violence in the United States. I do agree that some assault rifles should be allowed for civilian ownership but only for use for target shooting and/or hunting. But these would be pistols specifically made for target shooting, and hunting rifles. It is for the reasons that I have described above, and the reasons I will outline, that I as side pro believe that this resolution "BIRT assault rifles should be banned," must and will stand and I would firmly encourage a vote in support of the resolution. I look forward to hearing my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2
shatteredseren

Con

As per pre-agreed upon structure, we will now move on to a period of cross-examination, with each side asking a minimum of one question and a maximum of five. The next round will be responses to cross-examination questions.

1) You mentioned that an assault rifle can fire at a rate of 3-4 shots per second. To the best of my knowledge, the only way this is even remotely possible is with a hair trigger, which is extremely rare on assault rifles. Also, this speed reduces accuracy greatly. The maximum effective firing speed of a semi-automatic rifle is about 45-60 shots per minute, which amounts to about one shot per second at a maximum. My question is, how would, in a mass-shooting situation where only the shooter is armed, firing 180-240 shots per minute be more effective at killing a great number of people than taking time to fire one shot into each person, given that police will take a few minutes to arrive and one would exhaust numerous magazines in that time?
2) You proposed redefining an assault weapon as any semiautomatic weapon with a caliber greater than 9mm and a magazine capacity greater than ten rounds. Are you aware that this would effectively be banning almost every .45 pistol on the market, while not affecting common "assault weapons" such as the AR-15 at all, since that rifle usually has a caliber of .223, which is about 5.7mm? (About 40% smaller than a 9mm bullet, which is almost exclusively used in pistols and submachine guns)
3) Do you recognize that putting a cap of 10 rounds on magazine capacity would ban just about every 9mm and .22 pistol on the market, which are the most popular cartridges for women's self defense?
4) Are you aware that less than 2% of total gun crimes and only about 25% of mass shootings involve any kind of "assault weapon," essentially making the issue a non-problem compared to handguns murders?
5) Since magazines, regardless of capacity, can be switched out in only a few seconds, what would be the purpose of restricting ammunition capacity given that a killer could simply carry a few more magazines?
I thank my opponent for his well-thought and timely response, and eagerly await his cross-examination questions.

http://reason.com...
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com...
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com...
http://assaultweapontruth.com...
minddrag

Pro

As per the pre-agreed upon structure, I will now move on to my period of cross-examination, asking a minimum of one question and a maximum of five. I will ask three questions. The next round will be responses to my opponents cross-examination questions, and accepting his answers to my questions.

1) In your speech you stated that "pistol grips do not allow "hip-firing" as some would have you believe, unless the weapon is fully-automatic." You also stated that "Hip-firing is highly inaccurate compared to aiming down sights and would probably result in fewer deaths even in a mass-shooting situation because ammunition would be expended so quickly." Considering that mass-shootings often take place in crowded areas with compact bodies and many spread out but compact crowds, how ammunition being expended quickly would result in fewer deaths in a mass-shooting situation?

2) Continuing my previous line of questioning I would like to ask, how would inaccuracy be a good thing in mass shooting situations?

3) In your speech you stated "Assault weapons are factually no more deadly than any other semi-automatic rifle". Presented with the statistic that 72% of mass shootings used an assault weapon and over 50% used extended magazines [1], do you still consider the argument that assault weapons are still less widely used than other weapons true?
Thank you for receiving my corss examination, and I look forward to your answers, and your cross examination questions

Resources used this round:
[1] http://www.motherjones.com...
Debate Round No. 3
shatteredseren

Con

Firstly, I thank my opponent for such thought-provoking questions. With that, I will attempt to effectively answer the cross-examination questions posed.
1)To answer this question, I entreat my opponent to consider the following scenario: a mass-shooter walks into, say, a crowded movie theatre, with people placed compactly together as he stated in the question. Say the shooter possesses five magazines, each with a capacity of ten rounds, as my opponent would like to limit magazine capacity to. There are fifty people in the theatre, not including the shooter. That means that if the shooter uses more than one round on even a single person, as would be the case if he was firing inaccurately, at least one person would be guaranteed to survive. Rather simply, the shooter would run out of bullets. On the other hand, if he was firing accurately, giving him time to aim down sights, he would be able to maximize fatalities given that a police response would more than likely take longer than exhausting ammunition supplies. In short, accuracy increases lethality towards UNARMED civilians, whereas hip-firing is designed to save a soldier"s life when he is under attack from dozens of ARMED opponents and thus does not have the time to aim.
2)As explained above, accuracy maximizes killing capacity, whereas inaccuracy simply leads to additional ammunition being expended.
3)There are two issues with the statistic presented here: firstly, it only takes into account "mass" shootings, and secondly, it is highly misleading. To address the first issue, I will start by accepting Mother Jones"s definition of a mass shooting as described in my opponent"s source. The trouble with "mass shootings" is that despite near-constant media attention given to them, those particular incidents, while tragic, only compose a fraction of murders in America. As for the second issue, as I have already stated, total murders committed with rifles of any type, not just assault weapons, account for under 2% of all murders. Even Mother Jones"s statistics, which only include data from mass shootings, confirm that a plurality of mass shooters use semiautomatic handguns, not assault weapons as currently defined by any law or for the purpose of this debate, to commit their heinous acts. I believe that my opponent confuses handguns for assault rifles, as the only source he reported stated that handguns account for 71 of the 143 weapons used in mass shootings. Of mass shooters" weapons, only 20 of those 143 were defined by Mother Jones as "assault weapons." Only about a third of them even used "high-capacity" magazines. Thus the statistic cited by my opponent is incorrect. On the other hand, according to all the sources I reviewed, "assault weapons" accounted for a minority of weapons used in mass shootings. While it may or may not be accurate that assault weapons lead to more fatalities in a given mass shooting, the same will be true of any rifle, since the bullet itself is usually larger than common handgun ammunition. This lethality is not unique to assault rifles; all rifles will be deadlier than a handgun round-for-round. Highly-publicized mass shootings tend to use assault rifles, in my opinion, for the "fear factor;" that is, to an untrained eye, an AR-15 appears to be far more frightening than a .30-06, even though the latter has a bigger bullet with more powder behind it. Any terrorist"s goal is to create fear, and if a certain type of rifle is more effective at doing so, he will use it even though it might be less deadly than his grandfather"s old hunting rifle.
I thank my opponent for presenting such interesting questions, and look forward to hearing his response to mine.
minddrag

Pro

Thank you for your interesting questions. My answers can be found below.

1) To answer this situation I would like to first pose a situation for a mass shooting. A shooter is in a school with an assault rifle as described above. The shooter is concealing the weapon as they walk into the halls when classes are switching so many students are in the hall. The hall is approximately 1.5-2 meters wide and 20 meters long. In a crowded hall there would be approximately 25 students every 20 meters and approximately 3 students wide, so about 75 students in one hall. If you can rapidly shoot at 180-240 shots per minute and you are in a confined area, you can easily kill or severely injure 20 students by just firing straight down the hall. Coupled with the low accuracy would actually injure and kill more students as you would not fire straight you would fire on an angle. Remember that these shooters are stressed and believe they have less time than they actually do, so they would not take the time to perfectly aim because after 5 shots all the students would have run away

2) My apologies for any miscommunication on the definition. I proposed to include calibres greater than 9mm not only 9mm and above. This was just to include assault shotguns.

3) I do recognize that putting a cap of 10 rounds on magazine capacity would ben these pistols.

4) I would like to actually point out that you defined an assault rifle as "semi-automatic firearm with a barrel shroud and pistol grip that has the capability to accept a detachable magazine." This means that handguns which usually have all of these features are considered an assault rifles.

5) A human being can only carry a certain number of magazines on his person. Increasing the capacity of these magazines simply increases the number of bullets that can be carried. Also the number of bullets in a magazine means that there is less of a need to reload as you would have to reload after 10 shots instead of say 20. Those few seconds of reload can mean life or death for another human being as there is either a deadly bullet in the gun chamber or there is not.

I look forward to your closing arguments and would very much like to see where you get with my answers. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
shatteredseren

Con

I thank my opponent for his timely response to my cross-examination questions.
As per agreed-upon structure, this will be my closing speech. I will rebut his responses to cross examination questions and finish off my arguments in this closing speech.

First, I would like to address some of my opponent's cross-examination responses.
1) The first immediate issue with my opponent's response is that he stated "the shooter is concealing the weapon." To anyone with a decent amount of knowledge of these particular firearms, they would know this is impossible even with something like a trench coat. A true assault rifle is classified as a "long gun," meaning it is bulky, heavy, and, as the name suggests, long. It is not a weapon that is easily concealed like a pistol. While personal defense weapons and submachine guns are semi-concealable, even in these cases it is not easily concealed and is likely to stand out. In addition, the weapons used in the commonly-reported mass shootings are not PDWs or SMGs, and are, in the cases where "assault weapons" are used, more commonly AR-15's or AK-47's. The other issue with my opponent's response to the first question is that he believes that "these shooters are stressed and believe they have less time than they actually do," which is completely false. The majority of these situations involve completely insane murderers who do not care in the slightest if they are caught by police. For example, in the Aurora Movie Theater shooting, James Holmes simply turned himself over to the cops as soon as they arrived. At Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza took his own life after killing his mother and the schoolchildren. Clearly these murderers do not care if they are caught by police. Their goal is not usually to escape.

2) I do not understand what my opponent is trying to say. As I already explained, banning rifles with calibers "greater than 9 mm" would not affect common assault weapons, which are usually 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm. As far as "assault shotguns" go, there are only two models that I am aware of, only one of which is even legal for civilians to own. The AA-12 is fully automatic only, and since it was made after the 1986, it is already illegal for any civilians to own. The Saiga-12, on the other hand, is semi-automatic and thus legal, but unless modified significantly after-market, it is not only horribly expensive but notoriously unreliable.

3) Even after outright admitting that this would ban common pistols, my opponent still supports a ban on all weapons with a magazine capacity greater than ten rounds. The most common calibers of handguns capable of holding greater than ten rounds are the .22 and the 9 mm, both of which are extremely popular for both self-defense and target shooting.

4) Once again, my opponent fails to show any accurate knowledge of the weapons he is attempting to ban. I am unaware of any true handgun that possesses a barrel shroud, since they are so short. A barrel shroud on a handgun would simply add unnecessary weight for no person since one does not hold the barrel when firing a handgun. For this reason, my opponent is incorrect in stating that handguns would at all be affected by this ban.
5) While superficially true, the amount of magazines that could be carried on a person regardless of whether they are ten- or thirty-round magazines is irrelevant in most mass-shooting situations. The few seconds it takes to switch magazines would not tangibly affect the number of deaths in a situation such as a school shooting. A magazine weighs only a few ounces, or about a pound if it is loaded. The only thing limiting magazine carrying capacity is the number of pockets on the shooter's clothes. Also, there are probably tens if not hundreds of millions of so-called "high-capacity" magazines in circulation currently. Banning those would simply be impractical. For instance, police Constitutionally require a warrant, issued by a judge, to search private property, with that warrant stating exactly what to search for and where to search for it. In other words, eliminating "high-capacity" magazines is simply impractical since police cannot just search a house because the house MIGHT possess a magazine with a capacity greater than ten rounds. Reasonable suspicion is required to even obtain a warrant.

I would like to finish my speech by explaining exactly how the definition of "assault weapon" came up. "Assault weapon" is an invented term. It was created by the anti-gun lobby in order to make weapons that are really no more dangerous than Grandpa's old hunting rifle sound "scary." Although I have been using the term "assault weapon" and "assault rifle" interchangeably throughout this debate, neither one is technically accurate. "Assault rifles" are either select-fire or fully-automatic rifles, which have been banned for civilian transfer since 1986. What we have been debating is more correctly termed a "modern sporting rifle" since that is what it is most commonly used for: modern sports. As stated in my opening speech, the modern sporting rifle is one of three critical weapons used in three-gun competitions (the other two are a shotgun and handgun of any sort). Also used for hunting and general target shooting, modern sporting rifles are so favored because of their versatility. Would you rather have to purchase a rifle for big-game hunting, a handgun for self defense, and a shotgun for small-game hunting, or a single weapon that can accomplish all of the above? Many of us can't afford or do not want to spend the money on three different guns, so we purchase a single weapon, known as an "assault rifle," to accomplish all of the above.
My opponent has failed to put forth any reasonable arguments as to why these weapons are any more deadly than a hunting rifle. While it may very well be true that a mass shooting using an assault weapon will result in more deaths on average than using a pistol, the same could be said of ANY rifle. They have bigger bullets; thus they are likely to cause more deaths. And yet I have yet to hear any people mention banning a .30-06, because, rather simply, it doesn't "look" scary. I appreciate that both my position on the gun control debate at large and my opponent's are both aimed at saving lives. However, banning assault weapons is unlikely to result in many, if any, lives saved. The previous Federal assault weapons ban is a case in point. It failed so miserably because it was trying to solve what is essentially a non-issue. While assault weapons are occasionally used in crime, this use is dwarfed by the deaths occurring from handguns, a significantly less controversial subject.
Put rather simply, the most effective argument for civilians being allowed to own assault weapons as defined is that there isn't really a good argument against it.
I thank my opponent and readers for considering my arguments, and I look forward to seeing my opponent's concluding speech. Thank you.

http://reason.com...
http://www.nytimes.com...
minddrag

Pro

In conclusion, the massacres at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and the 142 school shootings since Sandy Hook, illustrate that military style assault rifles and easily concealed handguns equipped with large capacity ammunition magazines are now the weapons of choice for mass shooters. These semiautomatic weapons are far more powerful and lethal than standard issue law enforcement service weapons.

There had been more mass shootings of four or more people in the US than days in the year. The common denominator in almost every one is an assault rifle and high capacity ammunition magazine. The prevalence of mass shootings has people rightly wondering if they are safe sending their children to school or going to malls.
An assault weapon ban would not end all gun violence in this country and it might not significantly reduce the average 90 Americans killed by guns each day. But it would help reduce the daily mass shootings. It might also help us begin living without the fear of being massacred in a public place.

In conclusion, the banning of assault weapons and high capacity clips would do a lot to decrease gun violence in the United States. I do agree that some assault rifles should be allowed for civilian ownership but only for use for target shooting and/or hunting. But these would be pistols specifically made for target shooting, and hunting rifles. It is for the reasons that I have described above, and the reasons I will outline, that I as side pro believe that this resolution "BIRT assault rifles should be banned," must and will stand and I would firmly encourage a vote in support of the resolution.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by minddrag 1 year ago
minddrag
@Thechuck16, Please review my argument and find the point where I outline the shootings with assault weapons.
@ViceReagant, please view the definitions, so that you can figure out the proper definition, also it is my right is not the point. We are discussing weather that right shall be taken away, so that argument is invalid
Posted by Thechuck16 1 year ago
Thechuck16
Assault is an action not an object. These so called "assault weapons" can be just as easily described as "defense weapons" and in fact would be more accurately described as defense weapons since they are some of the rarest form of gun used to shoot someone offensively.
Posted by Dante756BC 1 year ago
Dante756BC
Assault Weapon is a stupid term.
Posted by ViceRegent 1 year ago
ViceRegent
Assault weapon = any gun that liberals think looks mean.
Posted by ViceRegent 1 year ago
ViceRegent
2nd Amendment and God-given right to self-defense upon which it is based say no.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by rextr05 1 year ago
rextr05
shatteredserenminddrag
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's insistence with mass shootings for much of his argument, shows he did not consider other uses of these rifles, which eliminates without cause almost all reasons for owning this type of gun & is not stated as integral. Yes, I support pro that these killers should not own these guns, altho this ultra small portion of the civilian population should not be the basis of this argument. Pro does not give valid support other than these mass shooters. Pro also mistakenly states that most guns are legally bought & used. Far from the truth. Gangs, drug dealers & other criminals get their weapons thru illegal means. Once again, cuz of your tunnel vision, your reasoning is invalid due to untrue characterization. Much of pro's contentions are unsubstantiated opinion, rather than fact based on research. Con states many facts & calls into question some inaccuracies that pro has given. Pro should have researched both sides of this issue so as to debate with facts rather than opinion
Vote Placed by ColeTrain 1 year ago
ColeTrain
shatteredserenminddrag
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were, for the most part, of little impact to the greater "danger" Pro brought up. While Con's arguments were more about functionality, Pro's arguments of ramifications were much more persuasive. Con could never really defend Pro's point(s) of how guns can be used for ill-will and stimulate violence. Because I am given no framework by which to judge the debate, I objectively value morality above functionality. Since Pro was able to demonstrate, without sufficient refutation, that assault weapons can be utilized to commit crimes, and that a ban could at least help in the effort of stopping such violence, I vote Pro.