The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
11 Points

Resolved: Congress should renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 43,741 times Debate No: 25068
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)




Potential Public Forum topic. Resolved: Congress should renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Assault weapons refers to semi-automatic weapons only.

No new arguments in round 4.
16k can clarify any extra rules if he so desires.


My opponent as pro holds the bop.

That's all.
Debate Round No. 1


Framework Analysis

To win the debate, pro must show that the U.S. would be in a state preferential to the current one if the Federal Assault Weapons Ban were to be renewed.

As I have the burden of proof, it is not necessary for con to bring up any arguments or contentions of his own. Should con do this, he must either disprove every argument I bring up, or manage to outweigh my benefits with his own possible harms. If con fails to do this, then the initial statement is fulfilled, as it will be shown that there are no harms to renewing the ban, and at least one benefit.

The Goals of the Ban

The number one goal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was to reduce the amount of assault weapons used to commit crimes.

As the guns banned by the act are not designed for civilian use and create far too much potential for violence, decreasing the amount of citizens with access to assault weapons was another goal.

The goal was never to completely restrict criminals from having access to such weapons.

One cannot justify negating the resolution because “criminals will still gain access to assault weapons illegally” unless they prove law abiding citizens also need access to assault weapons. Simply put, legalizing something because criminals will always do it is an ineffective argument. The U.S. government cannot justify allowing anyone to have access to these weapons. The main goal of affirming the resolution, then, is to reduce the amount of assault weapons in general without increasing the amount used by criminals.

Assault Weapons vs. Other Firearms

Assault weapons in the hands of criminals pose a far greater risk than other firearms. Semi-automatic weapons are capable of firing far more rounds per minute, enabling criminals to kill more innocent civilians in the event of a massacre. ”The few available studies suggest that attacks with semiautomatics – including AWs and other semiautomatics equipped with LCMs – result in more shots fired, more persons hit, and more wounds inflicted per victim than do attacks with other firearms. Further, a study of handgun attacks in one city found that 3% of the gunfire incidents resulted in more than 10 shots fired, and those attacks produced almost 5% of the gunshot victims.” ( Even without an automatic weapon ban, citizens are rarely able to fight back against such criminals. Therefore, the government has a clear interest in reducing the amount of assault weapons available to potential criminals, while simultaneously allowing citizens to fight back in the case of an attack.

Note that the benefit of a semi-automatic weapon is generally to be able to kill more people, not to be able to kill one person in a faster way. Thus, criminals inherently gain more an advantage by using these guns than law-abiding citizens.

Assault Weapon Bans Work

Following the previous ban, the amount of assault weapons traced back to crime decreased by 66%. When including copycat weapons, this number stood at 45%. As of 2001, only 1.1% of weapons traced back to crime were found to be assault weapons named in the act. This is a sharp decline from 3.67%, the first year before the ban. ( Massachusetts currently has a permanent ban on assault weapons, signed into law by Mitt Romney. "In Massachusetts, firearms kill three out of 100,000 people each year, compared to national average of 10 out of 100,000." (

Criminalizing the ownership of assault weapons dries up the supply, decreasing the ability for most potential criminals to gain access to such weapons. Furthermore, it decreases the risk of a citizen committing an atrocity because they have an assault weapon. While the black market may always exist, the simply rules of supply and demand will cause prices to increase, deterring certain criminals from buying assault weapons over cheaper and far less lethal firearms.

Bans on particular types of weapons tend to be more effective than all out gun bans. Rather than trying to stop all gun violence, the assault weapon ban attempted to stop certain guns from being used in such violence. As it's far easier to get one's hands on a legal firearm as opposed to an illegal assault rifle, the goal was largely successful.

Law-abiding Citizens Should Not Have Access to Extremely Lethal Weapons

This will be explained in more in-depth in the next sections.

There are simply no reasons why an average citizen needs access to assault weapons. Such weapons are meant for military use, not for recreation or self-defense. The inherent danger associated with such weapons is a justifiable reason to affirm the resolution. They are unnecessary, they are designed explicitly for military purposes, and they have a huge potential for additional civilian casualties, when compared to normal firearms.

Unnecessary for Home Defense

Assault weapons pose numerous risks to citizens using them for self-defense purposes in their home. Other weapons, including shotguns and pistols, are capable of adequately repelling intruders without taking such risks. For example, Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police states “An AK-47 fires a military round. In a conventional home with dry-wall walls, I wouldn't be surprised if it went through six of them.”

"In 2004, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed a permanent state ban on assault weapons and said they "have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people." (

Unnecessary for Self Defense

Situations in which one needs an assault weapon to defend themselves are extremely rare. Situations in which one needs an assault weapon and is currently carrying one around are practically non-existent. With the previous ban successfully lowering the amount of assault weapon violence in the United States, an average citizen will have no need to own a semi-automatic weapon for self-defense.

Even if a citizen should ever face such a situation, assault weapons are generally not desirable. These guns are not designed for civilians, they’re designed for military use. An average individual will simply not be able to effectively use the weapon. For a criminal, this is not a problem: Stray bullets kill more innocent bystanders, which they see as a benefit. For self-defense, however, this should be avoided at all costs. The possibility for extra civilian casualties in a self-defense scenario outweighs the benefits of being able to shoot more often. Furthermore, anyone who is able to effectively use an assault weapon to its maximum potential will more than likely be able to outmatch an amateur criminal while using a normal firearm.

Unnecessary for Recreation and Sporting

Fairly self-explanatory argument. Semi-automatic weapons are by no means required to be effective at hunting or other recreational activities.


Assault weapons are far too dangerous, regardless of whose hands they are in.

Criminals gain more an advantage by using an assault weapon in a massacre than a civilian does. Therefore, assault weapons grant little benefit for self-defense.

The previous assault weapons ban was successful in its goal: to reduce the amount assault weapons which are used in criminal acts.



My opponent has lain outs the goal of the ban, and I agree its goal is to cut crime. Further, my opponent brings up many points, though can be condensed into more broad characteristics of an assault rifle itself. His point on sports and crime shall be separate.

Characteristics of “assault” weapons

When looking into my opponents argument we see this argument is a re-occurring theme. He says its too deadly, it shoots too fast, its too scary, etc.

My opponent’s first point is extremely weak. Yes, they are usually manufactured semi-automatics. What is the potency of this argument? Nothing, nothing at all. My opponent cites a statistic that semiautomatics are very deadly. But does my opponent support a ban on double action revolvers and speed reloaders? Double action revolvers actually are higher caliber and often times more potent then assault weapons. A .357 magnum revolver unleashes six bullets within 3 seconds. Many other weapons, which are lever action or pump action, if used properly, can fire as fast as semi automatic weapons. Semi automatics can only fire slightly faster then other weapons. Many of these guns can fire faster if they are gas operated (although in AW, other hunting rifles have this too). Most of these weapons are of larger caliber and therefore inflict more damage when the strike then equivalent AR type weapons. Rate of fire offers no rational basis alone too prohibit a weapon, as most weapon types are capable of fast reloading times. And other semi-automatic weapons used in, say, hog hunting would be banned and would hurt sporting with a ban in place (Being able to hit a hog multiple times is beneficial as those things are evil). Further, my opponent says it can be easy to have higher magazine capacity. But this has nothing to do with the gun, any weapon with detachable magazines is capable of many shots. Many hunting rifles can carry 30 bullets if the hunter desired [1].

As we can see, my opponent’s main analysis on “assault” weapons is bogus as it fails to prove anything with fact. Mainly speculation.

My opponent then brings up a second point which can be added here – the oh my that’s scary dangerous argument – commonly rhetoric we hear from the Brady campaign. But the truth hurts. Here it is: Assault weapons are not more dangerous then other weapons, and perhaps less so. Yes, I said it, assault weapons are not more dangerous then other weapons and often times are less dangerous. Military style semi automatic weapons are no more dangerous then any other semi automatic. They often times have similar rate of fire, and their cartridge us usually smaller then its hunting equivalents. If you are worried about danger, ban thirty caliber semiautomatic hunting rifles, not assault weapons. When researching assault weapons, here is that data we obtain, “Further, a bullet fired from a semi-automatic weapon is no more powerful than one of the same caliber fired from a corresponding non-semi-automatic handgun, rifle, or shotgun. In fact most assault weapons are less powerful than hunting rifles. For example, the AR-15 (a semi-automatic version of the U.S. military's rifle, M-16), is a .223 caliber rifle. Rifles of this caliber, when used for hunting, are generally used on small game rather than deer. A smaller caliber bullet is more likely to wound the animal (and allow it to escape and suffer a slow death) than the more powerful .24 to .30 caliber bullets normally used in deer hunting rifles.”[2]

As we can see assault weapons are less dangerous then your average semiautomatic thirty caliber hunting rifle [3].

No sporting purpose?

This is not self-explanatory; it is an outright lie from the gun control lobby. I daresay you tell this too 1,300 Americans who use it for sporting purposes every year. Facts show assault weapons are the most commonly used weapons in sports. Luckily, its not the burden of proof to show its purpose (though I did just now) it’s the gun control advocates point to prove why it serving no purpose means it should be banned [4].

Bad for self-defense?

I have always found this odd. How would something formerly created too shoot the bad guys be ineffective in stopping criminals? Also my opponent shows its high rate of fire–if anything this proves my point–as it shows if I need 10 bullets fired into ones chest to protect myself or my family this would be a good weapon of choice. The commonly used 10 round magazine is unquestionably for self-defense, and many people own assault weapons for this very purpose. And not only would the ban hurt assault weapons, it would hurt all guns. It has been observed banning assault weapons decreases the amount of gun shows therefore lowering gun ownership meaning all methods of self defense would be at odds (less handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, everything). Banning assault weapons makes them impossible to use in defense as well as lessen the chance other guns will be available [5][6].


Now this is the biggest scam you will get from my opponents cited Brady campaign and liberal Huffington post. In his few examples he leaves out what the research says AND how his data is faulty. My opponent uses mainly before and after data, (note this does not control that the crack-cocaine epidemic ended lowering crime the same time the AW ban passed). Using before and after averages is laughable as he only used them. It has been observed they are the second worst way to obtain data (worst is cross-sectional) as they leave out trends. For example, if crime decreased 40% before a hypothetical law and decreased 40% after the law, we see it’s clear crime dropped but that its also clear the law had no effect. And the data my opponent brought up ignores the important factors. Increased arrest and incarnation, more death penalty, less drug usages, conceal carry laws etc. When one correctly controls for these problems we see increases in crime across the board.[6] Further, many studies have looked into the assault weapons ban. Scientists that support the ban have obtained opposite conclusions of my opponent. They noted, “We cannot credit the [AW] ban with any of the nations recent drop in gun violence …”[7]

My opponent cites Massachusetts, though to compare you must look at overall trends in comparison with other states. When looking at these trends we see this: “Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43 states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a 2.4% decline in murders; in three states with bans, the number of murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by more than 4%.)”[8]

I have spent the last month looking in to assault weapons directly. When observing newer data we see similar results. There is absolutely no credible evidence that assault weapons decrease crime. The only areas we see this data occur is on anti-gun think tanks with little to no logic on how statistics work. Lott has found their methods are fraudulent. His results yield that “each year the ban remains in effect, both murder and robbery increase about 3%. Rape also rises, but only slightly”[7]

Also wheres the logic in my opponents argunment? Gun bans have rarely worked, criminals keep their guns and buy them illegally usually anyway, and assault weapons are used in less then 3% of crimes. Banning them would, at best, have no effect. At worse increase crime [1][2][6][7].

We can see that the effect is opposite of what my opponent claims and an assault weapons ban would increase crime, and not banning a ban would decrease it.


It is clear that my opponents facts on effectiveness are false and that his point on characteristics means we would need to ban most if not all weapons which would infringe on our rights. CON has refuted all of pros points, which had many statistical and logical flaws. Vote CON.


Debate Round No. 2


Before I begin, note an important point that my opponent has effectively conceded: That other firearms are as effective as assault weapons. With this, my 3 sections of "unnecessary for..." flow through. Con later tries to refute my point on self-defense, but he has already conceded that other high caliber and fast shooting weapons can have the same effect as an assault weapon.

Con may have shown that these weapons are unnecessary, but that alone is not cause to affirm the resolution. Instead, the winner of this debate will now be decided based on who wins the effectiveness of the previous ban, and the dangers of assault weapons versus other weapons.

Effectiveness of the Previous Ban

To begin:

I never stated that crime decreased. The point was that less assault weapons were being used in such crimes. As the entirety of my opponents refutation paragraph is citing evidence that crime did not decrease, it is effectively meaningless.
Before and after averages was not the only data I used.

I'd then like to restate the goal of the ban. Again, it was not to decrease crime, but it was to decrease the amount of assault weapons being used in crime. Why? Because regardless of how effective other guns can be, assault weapons kill more people. In my opponent's refutation to this study, he simply showed that others guns can also be dangerous. This is irrelevant, as it does not refute the actually findings of the study, nor does it show that these guns are replacing the banned assault weapons.

At this moment, the effectiveness point is won by pro. The ban was successful in it's main goal. This point has not been refuted. Instead, my opponent attempted to show that the ban was unsuccessful in a completely irrelevant goal.

Con also briefly states a statistic that "each year the ban remains in effect, both murder and robbery increase about 3%. Rape also rises, but only slightly." I directly attack causality on this. I agree that gun bans in general will increase crime, but not an assault weapons ban. Until con can provide some sort of reasoning as to why this is, this point cannot flow through.

My opponent then states that there's little logic in my argument. However, this is a refutation against gun bans in general. "Criminals keep their guns" It's important to note that everyone keeps there guns. Only guns manufactured after the ban goes into effect are made illegal. "and buy them illegally anyway." Except for the fact that when you ban a specific type of weapon, it is far easier to get one's hands on a legal firearm as opposed to an illegal assault weapon. Far cheaper, as well. I'll be addressing "assault weapons are used in less than 3% of crimes" later.

Dangers of Assault Weapons versus Normal Firearms

This is really the deciding point in this debate. Since con himself has shown other weapons to be as effective as semi-automatics, assault weapons can justifiably be banned if I can prove that they are more dangerous.

Note once again that I stated the main advantage of an assault weapon is to be able to kill more people, not kill the same person faster. Therefore, my opponents statistics on high caliber, legal guns are irrelevant. This point comes down to which guns can be used to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time when in the hands of criminals.

First, regardless of what my opponent states on how fast other guns can fire, my statistic about assault weapons still stands: They shoot more people. They hit more people. There are more wounds per person than other firearms, which includes other firearms cited by my opponent as "equally dangerous."

Second, the federal assault weapons ban specifically targeted semi-automatic weapons with military characteristics which make them dangerous in the event of a mass shooting. Flash Suppressors, Grenade Launchers (lol), Additional Magazines, Pistol Grips, Folding or Telescoping Stocks, etc. General things which allow them to spray more bullets with minimum downtime.

Third, there's a simple reason why assault weapons are the guns of choice in mass killings: They're easy to kill many people with, and they aren't too tough to get your hands on. It's a simple fact: In crimes, assault weapons kill more people. They are more dangerous. End of story.

And finally, as my opponent did the same, I'm going to directly attack my opponent's logic: How can one say that assault weapons, in general, are less dangerous than normal firearms? Yes, there are going to be a few non-assault weapons that are more dangerous. This does not justify negating the resolution. We see that, when we ban assault weapons, less and less of these dangerous weapons are traced back to crime. General criminals aren't buying them anyway, they're getting the much cheaper/easier and less deadly weapons.

"Other Bad Guns Exist" is an Ineffective Argument

Of course, even if I win the argument on the dangers of assault weapons, there will still be some dangerous weapons in the world. My opponent points out how I am not advocating for a ban of such guns. This is correct, yet also irrelevant.

If my opponent concedes that other guns are just as dangerous as assault, yet does not show why the average citizens needs such a gun (which he has yet to do), then he isn't really negating the resolution. One cannot justify advocating against the ban because it doesn't cover enough guns.

The bottom line: A lot of weapons are dangerous. Assault weapons fall under this category. Citizens should not have access to these incredibly lethal weapons. A ban will reduce the amount of incredibly lethal weapons being used by citizens, even if it doesn't completely get rid of lethal weapons. This accomplishes the second goal I mentioned in round one: to keep the most amount of lethal weapons out of the hands of the general public. Con did not attack this goal. Thus, this point helps to affirm the resolution.

Unnecessary for Sporting and Recreation

As discussed above, this point is effectively conceded when con claims that other hunting weapons are more effective than assault weapons. Furthermore, 1,300 Americans out of 311 million people is roughly .000418%. This incredibly small amount of people are allowed to keep their guns, and anyone who is looking to start hunting after the ban can simply look for other, effective weapons.

Unnecessary for Self-Defense

Again, this point was conceded when con claimed that other weapons can be just as deadly as assault weapons. Furthermore, con cited a statistic that assault weapons are only used in one percent of gun crimes, and .2% of all violent crimes. Why then, does the average American need access to an assault weapon? The same statistic ( states that "however, a higher percentage are used in police homicides, roughly ten percent." Clearly, the average citizen does not need an assault weapon to defend themselves; police do.

However, even without con effectively conceding this point, it was still barely touched upon. As I stated, there are very few situations in which one needs an assault weapon to defend themselves. Cons own statistics back this up. There are even fewer situations in which one needs an assault weapon to defend themselves, and has access to it. Go ahead, try to walk around with an assault rifle for self defense. It just doesn't work.


There's a lot of jumping back and forth in this speech. Now, I'm going to lay out what each side must do in order to win this debate, and what each side has actually accomplished.


Must show that citizens do not need assault weapons. This has been accomplished, and con has effectively conceded this point.
Must show that assault weapons are more dangerous than the average normal firearm. This, while extremely obvious, has been accomplished.
Must show that the ban was effective in its goals. This has been accomplished.


Must show that the average citizen needs access to these guns. Not accomplished.
That the ban is counterproductive. Not accomplished.




Conceding other weapons are more useful for defense does no give justification to ban something. A large knife is less effective then a machete in self-defense, but that does not mean we should ban large knives. And assault weapons are the most effective in many sports, so if effectiveness is a justification based on that it should not be banned.


My opponent claims he has proven the ban has reduced gun deaths. Before refuting this lie made by gun control organizations, he has effectively conceded assault weapons ban increases crime. Why? As I have shown the ban is ineffective in reducing overall crime, and my opponents only rebuttal is he thinks assault weapons ban does not increase crime. He merely cites his opinion against statistics that have regressions to account for other variables.

My opponent has claimed the assault weapons ban has “decreased” crime. Note again his sources only use statistics, which do not count for other factors. Merely citing a drop comes in the problem of endogenity where variables are omitted. Further, the data he cites is known as before and after averages, which is hugely faulty. These assertions don’t look into trends and omit many variables and cannot be considered a valid argument [1]. Further, lets assume my opponents data is good quality. Alright? Wait… that’s hard to do as Clinton researchers (that support the ban) have different conclusions to my opponent. They agree these decreases exist, but cannot “credit” the ban with any of the drop in gun violence when assault weapons where used [1]. As stated, my opponent’s argument ignores historical trends. In the decade previous to the assault weapons ban we saw decreases in assault weapons in crime anyway [2]. Due to the fact it was decreasing before to some unobserved reason, based on crime cycles it is logical to believe the ban had little effect on decreasing assault weapons usage.

And if assault weapon regulation was effective, murder and robbery should decrease, as they are the most commonly used in these crimes. Basically my opponent’s arguments still rely heavily on my argument last round. If assault weapons bans actually lowered their usage, Lott noted that it would mean Robbery and murder would decrease. If they increase it shows the criminals are substituting methods, or that assault weapons crime increases. There is stronger evidence that these bans have increased crime amongst the areas in which assault weapons are most commonly used (murder and robbery) [3].

My opponent stated at the beginning of his argument, “The point was that less assault weapons were being used in such crimes.” Now, please tell me, even if it decreases assault weapons crime why should we support the law if it increases crime? That means it increases the amount of lives lost. So regardless of what your argument meant, my argument was never refuted and I extend the analysis. I have shown based on that it costs more lives then it saves.

Saying other guns is worse is an ineffective argument?

First the argument I will respond to first is the one that irritates me: that somehow I must prove we need to own a gun. This is false, as it fully shifts the burden of proof.

“However, as we said about the Brady Campaign's comment concerning self-defense, the burden is not upon gun owners to demonstrate the degree to which a particular firearm is useful for any purpose. The burden is upon gun control supporters to show why banning a firearm or group of firearms would reduce crime and not infringe the constitutionally protected right of individuals to possess firearms.”[4]

I needn’t prove you need an assault weapon. Pro is the one making a claim; therefore has the BOP to justify the claim. Therefore only I can ask why shouldn’t I own the gun, you cannot ask why. And either way, why not owns an assault weapon? With you having agreed burden of proof, you need to answer that question before I answer yours. And anyway, arguing other weapons are more effective is not a concession. It is pointless to ban assault weapons when other firearms are capable of more damage. Therefore it’s hypocritical to only ban assault weapons if your interested in its “dangerousness”. As John Lott notes, “Banning some semiautomatic guns when there exist other semiautomatic guns that fire the same bullets as the same rapidity and so the same damage cannot be expected to have much of an impact” [1].

As we can see it is indeed a relevant and logical argument which you have failed to refute.

The bottom line: all guns are dangerous, assault weapons ban increase crime regardless of the weapon used and still, therefore, cost more lives then they take. (Like seriously, even if we assume they lower rifle crime they still raise crime and therefore take lives. Does it matter if they are done by other methods? And it is relevant that my thirty caliber rifle is more deadly then an assault rifle)


My opponent has claimed a too small portion of the population does it and, therefore, it is a poor argument. This is the most illogical thing you have said yet. First, other guns are not more effective then assault weapons in the sports assault weapons are made for. Second, only 10,000 out of seven billion people go the Olympics [5]. Does this mean the Olympics is not a real sporting event? The number of people in these competition is irrelevant to its sporting status, only its popularity.

Whole sports rely on assault weapons. My opponent’s argument is very ignorant. Also as stated assault weapons are very common and usually preferred when small game hunting [6].


It is indeed true assault weapons are used in police shootings. I will not deny this. But facts have shown banning assault weapons has little effect on their use on police [3]. And, as stated, the ban increases crime overall and costs lives. An argument my opponent has dropped last round proved getting rid of assault weapons ban has decreased crime. I have shown, therefore, the ban saves lives overall. And the number is not 10%, its 8%. And the data was not assault weapons, but calibers associated with them. And those calibers are common in other rifles, meaning the number is likely lower [7].


My opponent has fasly shifted the BOP that I need to prove we need assault weapons. Something being nessacary is irrelevant to somethings legality. A book is not nessacary for life, but we keep them legal. So this point is totally irrelevant.

I have shown that assault weapons bans increase crime therefore causing more bloodshed then they are legal. My opponent merely counters assault weapon crime decreases. But if the outcome is the same, should it matter what is being used? All in all, the bans cost lives and my opponents rebuttal misses the point, and actually does not prove his point. Here is an analogy. A phone ban goes in place. Brain cancer falls, but it was proven it causes more cancer deaths overall. That means it does more damage then it helps. It is irrelevant on the type of cancer. Just as its irrelevant on the type of weapon. It still costs more lives then it saves and, therefore, is obviously in justification not to renew the policy. Here is a cool graph taken from the book:

The zero is when the ban is passed. We increase in the murder rate galore. Therefore the AW ban kills more then it saves, and based on this CON already wins.

Bottom line: It takes more lives away then it saves, and therefore is an bad public policy. This is the central issue which my opponent cannot and has not refuted.

A CON vote is the only logical vote.

Debate Round No. 3


Effectiveness versus Other Weapons

To begin, I agree that I have the burden of proof. I was not claiming that con must prove the average citizen needs access to an assault weapon over other weapons. My claim is that other weapons, which con has shown are more effective in the case of self defense and sporting and recreation, and far less dangerous. Thus, assault weapons should be banned because they are unnecessary and more dangerous. My opponent has already shown that they are unnecessary in round 1. Thus, voting on this debate should be based off of how dangerous assault weapons are compared to normal firearms, and whether or not the previous ban accomplished it's goals.

Necessary for Self Defense?

Con's rebuttal in the last round only showed that assault weapons will still be used against police. That does not address my argument. Con has thus failed to show that assault weapons are needed for self defense, and has even shown in round 1 that there are other high caliber weapons which can do just fine.

Necessary for Sporting and Recreation?

The Olympics example simply isn't relevant to this case. My opponent cannot prove that "whole sports rely on assault weapons," only that people are currently using/preferring them for such sports. Con even brought up the example of hunting rifles and there effectiveness in round one. Causing .0004% of the population to switch guns to ones that are just as effective is an incredibly small impact, and just shouldn't be considered in the round.

Conclusion for Necessity

Clearly, the average citizen does not need an assault weapon. This shows there is no reason to have them legal. Now, the other two arguments fulfill my burden of proof and show why they should be made illegal.

Dangers of Assault Weapons versus Other Guns

This point wasn't really refuted by my opponent. Instead, he spent time attacking "other guns exist is an ineffective argument."

So, since we're in the final round, now we just need to look at the facts. Guns in which assault weapons are used result in more bullets fired, more people hit, and more gunshots per victim. This is a fact. This was not addressed at all by my opponent. I'd like to note that because of this, con really can't address this in the next round, unless he shows where he touched on it earlier in the debate. Throughout round 2, con tried to show that other weapons have the potential to deal more damage. This is irrelevant. Assault weapons are more dangerous.

Why is this? Well, I brought it up in round 3 and it was not responded to. It deals mostly with accessories in addition to the general characteristics of assault weapons. Let's look to my opponent's own evidence. For an assault weapon to be banned, it must have more than one of these accessories, and be semi-automatic. Even though each individual accessory function can be found on a specific legal firearm, the danger comes when multiple are put together on a semi-automatic weapon. (

Flash Suppressors: Reduce the shooters blindness. Reduces the chance of revealing a shooters position.
Folding Stocks: Makes a weapon easier to conceal.
Bayonet Lugs: Self explanatory. No one needs a bayonet.
Grenade Launchers: Again, self explanatory.
Muzzle Breaks: Makes the gun significantly more accurate and more comfortable to shoot.

Once again, this was something that I brought up in round 3. My opponent's response was that it would be an effective argument if he could show that other guns were equally/more dangerous. However, he did not respond to the fact that the average assault weapon is more dangerous than the average firearm.

Effectiveness of the Previous Ban

Con brought up a new rebuttal in round 3 specifically relating to the causality of assault weapons use in crime, rather than crime overall, which he used in round 2. Whether or not you believe I can respond to this is up to the voter. This was not an option for me to respond to earlier in round 3, (because he only brought up crime overall, which I stated was not the goal of the ban) unlike the majority of dropped arguments that I am using against my opponent, which I brought up in round 3 as the first speaker. Thus, I believe I am qualified to respond to causality, whereas my opponent did not respond in the round after I brought up causality relating to crime/rape increasing. If a voter disagrees, then that is up to them and they can discard this entire rebuttal.

Con's argument relies on "you haven't proven" causality. In the case of a debate, however, it really comes down to who can make a better case for or against it. My opponent's case consisted of "historical trends," but while historical trends may have contributed to the decline, they are rarely the sole cause.

A ban dries up prices (not responded to by con at all), decreases the supply (not responded to), and makes it far easier for a criminal to get their hands on other, legal firearms (not responded) This is my main case for causality, and it went unrefuted. Also note that the use of assault weapons in crimes stayed steady until 1993, the year before the ban was announced, after which it began falling increasingly fast to around 1%.


My opponent claims that the ban increases crime. My opponent also claims that there is no causal link between the ban and less assault weapons being used in crimes. This is a blatant contradiction on con's part. As I stated in round 2, "I directly attack causality on this. I agree that gun bans in general will increase crime, but not an assault weapons ban. Until con can provide some sort of reasoning as to why this is, this point cannot flow through. " In the last round, con did not show any causality between the ban and crime rates increasing, instead he simply cited more statistics.

Let's restate con's analogy to show my point. A phone ban goes into place. Brain cancer falls. This is where con states that there is no causal link between brain cancer and the phone ban. At the same time that brain cancer falls, lung cancer skyrockets. Con then promptly states that a phone ban causes lung cancer. Even if the lung cancer rate (in this case, murder rate) was falling before the phone ban, that doesn't prove phone bans cause lung cancer.

In the case of causality, it comes down to who can show the most, and who can best persuade potential voters. While con has addressed the point of crime increasing, he has not addressed causality for this at all. Which, again, means he can't address this in the next round. I say this more specifically because there are numerous rebuttals to causality which I could have brought up, but he never supplied causality in round 3 after I asked, and thus I there was nothing I could refute.

Again, I'd like to remind voter of the fact that no new arguments can be brought up in this round. However, I'm not attempting attempting to use this rule only on my opponent. If you see anything within this round which I did not previously address, then I fully concede that point to my opponent.


Once again, I jumped around a lot in this round. Now, I will show why pro wins the debate.

Pro wins the dangers of assault weapons based on the fact that con did not respond to his arguments in round 3. Con responded to "saying other guns is worse in an ineffective argument," but that was assuming he could respond to the previous section and show that assault weapons are not more dangerous.
Pro wins the effectiveness of the previous ban based on the fact that he has attempted to show causality, while con claims: "You haven't proven it." "Historical trends" may have contributed to the decline, but they were not the sole cause. Con has also not responded to pro's case for causality in round 2.
Pro wins that the assault weapons ban does not increase crime, as con went the first 2 debate rounds without responding to his argument on causality.
Pro wins the fact that assault weapons are unnecessary based on con's own evidence.

Thus, I strongly urge a pro vote.



My opponent has claimed I showed they are “less” effective and “less” dangerous. But this is not the case–this is not the case at all–I showed other weapons are more dangerous then assault weapons, and that other weapons can be more effective. I showed for sniping hunting rifle is more lethal. I showed in close combat a shotgun would be preferred (or a pistol), and that assault weapons are an all around weapon. Not the most effective at all of these ranges (though excellent for medium range), it is more universal. Making it hugely effective. And I then showed other weapons are much more dangerous. I showed other hunting weapons have the same qualities and larger calibers, making it more dangerous. I again bring the quote from John Lott to hammer it in and show the logical flaws in my opponents argument, “Banning some semiautomatic guns when there exist other semiautomatic guns that fire the same bullets as the same rapidity and so the same damage cannot be expected to have much of an impact” [1].

My opponents point, as we can see, is extremely weak.


My opponent dropped my point on self-defense, and therefore I win the point.

And continuing on police. Showing it occurs at the same rate is a very effective point for my side. It shows your banning something irrationally. You are taking away an effective mean of self-defense in protection of police. But government researchers (and Lott as cited last round) have shown it has no effect, and can increase its usage. Therefore, this means your banning something with no benefit (as pro you need to prove a benefit), and it may make them less safe meaning its counter productive and therefore a negative [2][3]. The point does refute yours, and is a very effective point. It means this point, too, is weak and is in cons favor.


Something does not need to be necessary for it to be legal. This computer I am using isn’t necessary, but it is legal. And its deadly as many people waste away on them. But it is useful, so it’s legal. I have shown Assault weapons are very multi function tools and actually decrease crime [2], therefore it helps society by increasing safety and security. Its multi function ability means it is necessary. And, ya know, it looks cool.


It was indeed refuted, actually. I have shown assault rifles are one of the least dangerous weapons you can own, mainly as they have lower calibers. The “other guns” point is an effective one as it refutes the very logic of a ban. If you’re worried about it being dangerous, then all guns should be banned. As my opponent offered this solution as my hunting rifle is much more dangerous, he concedes the logic is flawed, indirectly of course. I know this is repetitive, but this logic refutes the whole argument. Lets go Lott again, “Banning some semiautomatic guns when there exist other semiautomatic guns that fire the same bullets as the same rapidity and so the same damage cannot be expected to have much of an impact” [1].

In all seriousness, this proves the point. Say assault weapons are dangerous… So are other guns… don’t ban those guns, they’re fine. Only ban the scary looking one!! How logical is that? Not at all. It proves my point. And, anyway, guns that are actually dangerous are very common [1][2].

And to the accessories point, the source we both cited shows many normal weapons have these accessories. Therefore most semi-automatics would have to be banned. And furthermore, these accessories make it more effective for self-defense. Therefore it adds together a point for con, not pro.

The average assault weapon is less dangerous because:

(1) Smaller caliber

(2) Smaller caliber, same rate of fire

(3) Less accurate and range

(4) Heavier and bulkier then a handgun, making a semi automatic handgun more deadly in many situations

We see assault weapons are more versatile, but not more deadly. This is my opponent’s problem, and the point is illogical for him to argue.


He has conceded my statistics in round two. He claims it lowers assault weapons used in crime. I provided counter evidence. He just said “in my opinion” basically. Facts > my opponents opinion. He dropped it raises crime. I showed it raised crime and therefore harms society as a whole. Regardless of its method. So yes, leave it to the voters, the choice it obviously con.

Lets to a basic point and rebuttal my opponents thesis uses:

  1. It lowers AW crime

R. This has been refuted on an academic level. It has been shown that previous trends are the reason for the decline and other factors, not the ban, caused the drop [3]. And it has been shown to increase crime [1][2]. So it increases deaths. Regardless of its weapon, it is still an overall negative to the ban.

So summary of this: 1) raises crime, 2) does not lower AW crime.

My opponents rebuttal is merely it is “rarely” a sole factor previous factors account for it. This is an appeal to probability fallacy, and, therefore, is not a valid argument. Further, I have shown most academics believe its success is “mixed” and its likely other factors account for the AW ban [3]. My opponent only argued opinion; he added no logic nor facts. Therefore my argument is logically superior.


And my opponent made a new argument last round. This is a conduct violation, and conduct points should be given to con. And this point is a trap. First, causality is weaker once you control for other factors. The studies cited to this, making it harder to claim causality. Further, if results are replicated it makes it less likely it is merely a causation. Each time it is replicated (for example, if it happens in Hawaii then California) it decreases the chance it is mere correlation. In every ban, it has occurred. Lott tried to control for other variables to see if the results changed. Nothing happened. The most comprehensive data shows an increase in crime [1][2].

Causality is highly unlikely, and the results are clear. Assault weapons increase crime. And other studies claim it had no effect [3]. Therefore, both prove my point as it shows the ban has no positive effects, and only negative ones are possible. This means pro has failed to prove differently.


PRO has… failed to prove the ban is beneficial. He has the burden of proof to prove this, it was never done. He has… not proven assault weapons are any more dangerous then guns he thinks are “useful”, therefore both main fields of the debate support CON. And arguments are easily con. PRO brought up many new points last round, conceding conduct, therefore a 4-0 in CONS favor is in order.

[1] Lott, John R. "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-control Laws." 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010

[2] Lott, John R. "The Bias against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard about Gun Control Is Wrong." Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2003.

[3] Christopher S. Koper “An Updated assessment of the assault weapons ban: Impacts on gun markets and gun violence (1994-2003)” Department of Justice, (July 2004).

Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lildubstep907 5 years ago
have to do this at school lolololololol
Posted by PatriotPenguin 5 years ago
Posted by photopro21 5 years ago
where's the sources?
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Let's ban the sale and use of carrots. The justification is that (1) where carrots are banned sale and use of carrots in fact drops (2) people don't need carrots as part of a healthy diet. No, those arguments do not work. There has to be some compelling affirmative reason to justify a ban. In this debate, Pro claimed that assault weapons kill more people than non-assault weapons; the debate hinged on whether he could show that with data. He could not.

Pro's source was that the deaths due to guns in Massachusetts is lower than in states without assault weapons bans. However, the Huffington Post article cited gave many reasons in addition to banning assault weapons why there are fewer gun deaths. Gun deaths are also related to drugs and gangs, and the Massachusetts demographic composition does not represent the US. Con showed that the US as a whole had no decrease in gun deaths after an assault weapon ban.

Neither side spelled out at the outset what the assault weapon ban actually banned. Military assault weapons are fully automatic. Automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. Virtually all modern guns are semi-automatic. As Con said, an AK-47 is a small caliber semiautomatic, while a deer rife is a larger caliber semiautomatic. Con eventually cited the attributes banned: flash suppressors, collapsible stock, and other non-lethal attributes.

The purpose of fully automatic fire in military use of an assault weapon is not to kill more people, it is to get the enemy to take cover and stay down so the enemy position can be overrun. A small caliber weapon works as well as a larger caliber for that purpose.

Con's "Now this is the biggest scam you will get from my opponents" accused his opponent of dishonesty. That loses the conduct point.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
PRO has BOP (which he correctly states) because his is the claim to be defended, regarding an automatic weapon ban. PRO's stated goal is to reduce number of crimes committed w/assault weapons. PRO adds that such weapons are not "designed" for civ. use, and have high potential to be used in violent crimes. PRO explores reasons why assault weapons are bad in the hands of criminals -argues that by banning assault weapons, market for them "dries up." Remainder of PRO's opening focuses on why persons should not possess assault weapons. CON opens distinguishing the firing rate potentials for automatic and semiautomatic weapons, contending that firing rate is no solid reason to distinguish automatic from semi-auto firearms. CON counters magazine capacity point of PRO, correctly. CON correctly distinguishes "fear of assault weapon" rhetoric from fact of danger they present, explores various possibilities for legitimate civ. use, and counters CON's example of MA crime rates by comparing crime rates of states w/ v. w/o assault weapons -sufficiently negating CON's argument that assault weapons ban's lower specified crime rates. PRO opens round 3 by noting that CON "ceded" that assault weapons are "as effective" as other weapons, and proceeds to argue that assault weapons are more dangerous? (An unintentional, but poignant contradiction in PRO's logic.) PRO characterizes CON's response as the "other bad guns exist" argument, which though valid, does not gain him ground toward his BOP, because CON's argument was used to compare the potential for assault weapons to cause harm is tantamount to non-assault weapons (sort of), whereas PRO's logic, taken to its extension, would ban all guns.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
PRO must maintain a distinction between assault weapons and non assault weapons for his earlier arguments to remain sound. Sum of PRO's additional arguments focus on wether private citizens "need" such firearms, which was redundant of his earlier points. By end of Rd. 3, PRO recast his theoretical BOP as such that PRO must show that private citizens do not need such guns. (Totally irrelevant to resolution, and to actual BOP -he must demonstrate a net good which results from such a ban. Additionally, rule of logic is flawed. People don't ‘need' carbonated refreshment either, so should we ban Coca Cola?) PRO's second "burden" was to demonstrate that assault weapons are more dangerous than other firearms, which he did not do, but even if he did, CON negated that point -as described earlier- by comparing potential for harm via fire rate, mag. cap. and etc. (Much like debating coke v. pepsi, where potential for harm is similar, per CON's rebuttal.) PRO said he must thirdly prove that BAN produces good outcome, (which he doesn't, because he was unable to overcome CON's rebut. stats.) CON opens 3rd Rd. w/ "Conceding other weapons are more useful for defense does no[t] give justification to ban something." Nor do any other reasons offered by PRO, in consideration of CON's responses. Arguments continues additionally in monotony. PRO did not meet his BOP, and CON countered everything to sufficiency. Heads CON wins, tales PRO looses. Clear win for CON. Well argued on both sides, however.
Posted by Stupidwalrus 5 years ago
Looking back, that was actually definitely not the word to use. I'll clarify that in the next round that I wasn't trying to claim you conceded the point, I was just trying to use your rebuttal against you.
Posted by Stupidwalrus 5 years ago
I tried to use the word "effectively." I wasn't quite sure what to call it.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
I don't see how that's conceding
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
It's fine.

I have my two books at the ready.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by davidtaylorjr 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I have to agree with Cons arguments that Pro is trying to force the biased opinion of a few on the masses.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by YYW 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments.