The Instigator
Juris_Naturalis
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
whiteflame
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points

Restricting the type of firearms available to civilians will reduce gun death

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,269 times Debate No: 46038
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (4)

 

Juris_Naturalis

Con

I liked your last debate but thought it was a little to vague in some areas. 1st round acceptance.
whiteflame

Pro

Sure, I'll take you on. I'd just like to confirm that we're talking about all available firearms and not a specific subset here (i.e. you are arguing against any automatic weapons bans or restrictions that currently exist and make them specifically more difficult to get).
Debate Round No. 1
Juris_Naturalis

Con

Ok, so I had a sort of brain fart composing the resolution for this debate which has been since discussed with my opponent. So, for the purposes of this debate, the resolution we are debating shall be " Restricting semi-automatic rifles and their standard capacity magazines will reduce gun death".

Let's do this thing.

1. Restrictions on semi-automatic rifles.
Restricting the public's access to semi-automatic rifles, regardless of their type, pattern or caliber, will do not reduce gun death as a whole or the frequency of mass shootings because they are used so little in crime to begin with. In 2012, 8251 people were murdered with handguns and only 325 were committed with a rifle. By way of comparison, in that same year, more people died from knives or cutting implements than by rifles. The reason I suspect rifles are used in so little crime is because of their size. It's hard not to draw attention to yourself carrying around a firearm that's 10x the size of a handgun. If one were to try to stop gun death simply by banning a gun, you would have better luck trying to ban handguns.

Banning these firearms in particular would also not stop mass shootings because they are not the exclusive firearm used in mass shootings. Colombine happened with handguns. The Navy yard shooting had a shotgun and handguns. Virginia tech happened with handguns. The shooting involving Gabrielle Giffords was perpetrated by a man with a single handgun. While the lethality and effectiveness of a rifle over a handgun can be debated, I see no reason why if rifles were to disappear that mass shootings would become less frequent when the other 2 types of firearms are just as effective if one's goal were to kill people at one time in one place.

Restricting standard capacity magazines.

Those of you who have served in the military or local law enforcement branch, or just get out and talk to these guys on a regular, basis will know 2 unchanging truths when it comes to firearms. 1.) People will RARELY be stopped by one shot, unless that shot hits the brain stem, and 2.) People are going to miss no matter what. In 2005-6 the NYPD had an average hit percentage of 22.85 %. So let's just say you're in a home invasion scenario with 2 perpetrators (this number is not uncommon). One is high on heroin, cocaine, meth, bath salts or whatever(This is also not uncommon). And the other guy has a gun (let's say this a world with restricted magazines, but he has 2 illegal magazines of 30 rounds in a handgun.) If you were armed with a gun that only held 10 rounds, the likelihood of you making it out alive is slim, because you will inevitably have a discourse of lead with the gunman while having to worry about his high friend. So if trained professionals have a hit percentage of 22.85%, and let's say that your training is equal or lesser to the average street cop, then 10 rounds will not be enough to stop the intruders from doing you harm. Note this man (III) who was shot 21 times but lived, because none of the rounds hit a vital organ or blood vessel.

And just to show that from a mass muder perspective that magazine size does little to slow the attacker, please watch the videos.

I.http://www.fbi.gov...

II.http://www.nytimes.com...

III.http://news.yahoo.com...

IV.

V.
whiteflame

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for both specifying the resolution as agreed, and for posting a very cogent and interesting opening argument. With that, I'll launch into some rebuttal, which will also include my case.

1. Restrictions on semi-automatic rifles.

I have a number of responses here.

A. It is not my burden within this debate to end all gun deaths. As such, the fact that there exists a majority of homicides that would not be affected by this specific policy change has little to do with whether my argument is net beneficial. If restrictions on semi-automatic rifles and their standard capacity magazines results in 325 fewer deaths, or even some subset of that, it still functions as a benefit to my case. I would argue that each life is valuable, and while we are going to be weighing lives against lives in this debate, those lives that are nearly certain to be saved should be preferred over the much smaller chance of their loss by handgun or other method.

B. The fact that people are killed using other methods is also irrelevant to this debate. There are numerous reasons we don't heavily restrict access to knives and other cutting implements, but the deaths that result from their usage happen regardless of whether restrictions on semi-automatic rifles occur. I would argue that it's significantly more difficult to dispense death with a knife for a number of reasons (they require close range, inflict much more shallow injuries, and require a large measure of physical force), though I'll leave it to Con to make more of this argument if he wishes.

C. Contrary to Con's arguments here, there are quite a few reasons to utilize rifles in all manner of shootings. It is possible to conceal a rifle, especially with the added feature of a folding, detachable or telescoping stock. This makes these rifles much easier to both carry and conceal and, as this article states, it's a common factor in mass shootings.[1] There are many other various factors that improve the effectiveness of semi-automatic rifles for mass shootings. These includes altered grips to increase the pace of shooting and accuracy, barrel shrouds to be able to fire more without releasing the handle, and a threaded barrel for silencing and suppressing muzzle flash. All of these also make their usage very attractive to mass shooters.

D. Con is doing a very intriguing bit of cherry-picking here, selecting specific cases of public and mass shootings that suit his arguments, but ignoring the overall statistics of gun violence. The Mother Jones article shows that, of 143 mass shootings over the past 30 years, 28 involved the usage of rifles, 20 were assault weapons, and 42 of them used high capacity magazines.[2] If Con is looking for specific instances, look no further. Sandy Hook included the usage of a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, .223 caliber. Aurora included a Smith & Wesson M&P15 AR 15 style rifle, .223 caliber. A shooting in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon was committed by an AR 15 style rifle, .223 caliber. An IHOP shooting in Carson City utilized an AK47 variant semi-automatic rifle, 7.62x39 caliber. There are several others on this list.[3] And several more here.[1]

E. My argument is not that shootings would become less frequent, though I would argue that it would reduce the number of gun deaths overall, as the lethality is significantly higher with these weapons, partially due to the additions that can be made to these weapons specifically, and also due to their ease of conversion to automatic weapons, dramatically increasing the fire rate.[4] These factors dramatically increase their effectiveness, as does the presence of high and standard capacity magazines, which, on a very basic level, allow shooters to fire more shots without having to reload. This means less time for a potential victim to escape, less time for law enforcement to arrive, less time for someone to subdue to shooter. In fact, all of the same things that Con states are harms of restricting the availability of these magazines easily apply to most criminals under such a law, who would be restricted to purchasing low capacity magazines. I agree that the hit percentage is low, that people will miss no matter what, and that most gunshots aren't going to be deadly. That means restricting the number of bullets available to these people is a benefit, since it reduces their capacity to dispense death dramatically.

2. Restricting standard (and high) capacity magazines

A. As I said previously, all of these arguments serve to show the benefits of restricting access to these higher capacity magazines for the majority of criminals. Con provides a scenario where 2 people invade a home, having somehow acquired their magazines illegally. I'll provide some specific responses to this scenario in subpoints.

A1. The fact that some people will break a law is not a reason to leave it off the books. That doesn't mean that the law is no good, it just means enforcement needs to be improved.

A2. In order to acquire these weapons, these criminals would be forced to engage in black market. At the very least, this requires an extra step in purchase. This requires extensive contacts, increased monetary means, and stepping into what is very likely to be a very dangerous situation in a completely unregulated economic market. That means fewer are likely to do it, since the costs and risks dramatically increase, and the payoff is just getting back to where they are now.

A3: There would be no deterrence that occurs as a result of legal high and standard capacity magazines. So, then, we have to analyze the capacity of individual home owners to be able to defend against home invasion in any instance. There are a lot of factors here. These people entering the home have a loaded gun ready and in hand. They could have access to body armor, and will be instigating their attack to the surprise of the inhabitants. The best we could assume for the homeowner is that their gun(s) is/are close at hand and loaded, that they're more capable of using that gun than the invader, and that they are aware of the intruder before they enter the house. That's a lot of assumptions, and any one of them being wrong puts the homeowner at a massive disadvantage.

And that's not to mention that the data doesn't support the claim. "Guns are used for self defense (both successfully and unsuccessfully) by less than 1 percent of all violent crime victims. The typical gun is more likely to be stolen than to be used in an attempt to stop a crime."[5]

In other words, not only are the vast majority of guns never used in self defense, but far more guns are stolen (rendering it a benefit to violent crime) than are utilized in this way.

A4: Recall Con's statistics about missing shots. There are a few problems here he doesn't discuss. For one, those misses could easily be accidental shootings of other people. Many of these homes do contain multiple people, and an intruder in the home with a gun tends to make people a little nervous of anyone they see. The high capacity magazines only make these accidental shootings more likely. For another, this effort to be a hero in the face of danger tends to lead to more deaths, providing a stronger reason for violent criminals to use the weapons at their disposal, which might otherwise just be used as a threat.[6]

With that, I kick it back to my opponent to counter my arguments.

1. http://articles.baltimoresun.com...
2. www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/assault-weapons-high-capacity-magazines-mass-shootings-feinstein
3. http://www.cga.ct.gov...
4. http://www.motherjones.com...
5. http://www.motherjones.com...
6. http://www.motherjones.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Juris_Naturalis

Con

Down the rabbit hole we go.

Semi-automatic rifles.

A. While it would be nice to assume that 325 people would be saved by lack of semi-automatic rifles in todays society, one would have to look at crime like math. Motive + Means = Crime. Rifles would fall under "Means". However, rifles are not the only means to commit any said crime. My intent was not to cherry pick what massacres happen with what weapon, it was to show that a mass shooting can happen with a handgun or shotgun just as readily as with a rifle. Same applies to any other crime. A would be killer would just choose the next best thing to kill people with his first choice wasn't available. Would you not buy a car entirely because they didn't have the one you wanted or the color you wanted? Would you not go see a movie just because your theatre was sold out of tickets for the show you wanted? That's essentially the same logic you present. If there are no rifles, it completely removes the motive or desire to kill, which simply won't happen.

B. That was just for demonstration.

C. Hold on a second, have you actually ever handled an AK47 variant or AR15 variant? They're huge. As I'm typing this with one hand, I'm holding a AR15 with the muzzle level to my head and the stock fully collapsed. It reaches down past my hip, and I'm 6 foot. Not to mention it's about 3 inches thick and 8 or 9 inches wide. So yeah, you might be able to conceal one if you had a duffle bag I guess. But again, that draws more attention than a handgun in the small of your back, covered with a shirt. And there is no such thing as an altered grip. Accuracy is not determined by an accessory. If you removed the hand guard, as that is it's proper name (not a shroud), from an AR or AK and took it to the range, you would need to see a doctor before you emptied your second magazine. Handguards are there for protection, not increased lethality. Also, a flash, cannot be silenced, if you're talking about suppressor which suppress sound, those are NFA Class 3 items. And why would a mass shooter need to be concerned about muzzle flash? He's obviously not trying to be stealthy if he's shooting people in a public place. The reason they're there is so you don't go blind when you shoot it in the dark.

D. I addressed this in A. Removing one of many "Means" will not remove "Motive". If the Motive remains, the perp will find other "Means".

E. A slide-fire stock does not convert a firearm to full-auto. It is still semi-automatic because your finger is still actuating the trigger with every shot. This same effect can be had with light-weight competition triggers. Should we ban competition guns? True full-auto is quite hard to do on an AR15 or AK47 if you're not a competent gunsmith. As for the magazines, there are many modifications that can make reloading VERY fast including taped magazines or using couplings. Reloads happen so fast, you wouldn't have time to rush the gunman unless the magazine comes out of his hand, such as the case with the Gabby Gifford shooter. Taping and coupling magazines removes this possibility entirely. And by restricting magazine sizes, you're also restricting the ability of a decent citizen to defend themselves.

Magazines.

A1. That wasn't what I was getting at. I was insinuating, if it burdens decent people from defending themselves, it should not go on the books.

A2. This doesn't stop criminal weapons traffickers. And it certainly didn't stop Al Capone during Prohibition with beer.

A3. Depends on the body armour. There's hard and soft body armour. An AR15 and AK47 can defeat both at close range.

Your 5 is also very misleading. Like I stated before, people don't always die when shot. Your 5 completely disregards this. Not all defensive gun uses end up with someone dead.

A4. You must not have read the actual article. It implicitly says that for every X number of round fired, X many missed which leads to X hit percentage. Accidental shootings have nothing to do with it. Neither do criminals. All it has to do with, is how often a trained professional will actually hit their target.

Actually, the rate at which people defend themselves is quite high. Note my I and II

I.http://www.breitbart.com...
II.http://www.slate.com...
whiteflame

Pro

Alright, thanks again to my opponent, and let's dive in.

Semi-automatic rifles

A. Again, I never stated that violent crime as a whole would decrease. That's not a part of my argument. So long as I can prove that semi-automatic rifles are significantly more deadly than other easily available options, those 325 people are still reduced. It can be argued just how many it would be reduced by, but any prevented deaths are significant.

B. Alright. Glad to know knives are off the table.

C. I did provide a link to support this link. I'll re-post it, because almost all of Con's arguments here are in direct contradiction to it.[1] I'm sure Con is more familiar with rifles sizes than I am, though at the very least, folding allows more ease of transport and more ease of concealment. However, I will contend on the other pieces. Here are some quotes from the article:

"The AR-15, for example, has a pistol grip, which helps a shooter pull the trigger more quickly and to better control the recoil, allowing him to fire more rapidly with more accuracy. It also enables shooting from the hip and spraying fire from side to side " something that would be deadly when firing into a crowd but useless in a self-defense situation.

When fired rapidly, a gun's barrel can quickly become too hot to handle. A barrel shroud, common on many of the models listed in the governor's bill, enables a shooter to hold the gun with a second hand without burning himself. A forward grip, which is somewhat less common, achieves the same purpose...

A threaded barrel allows the easy attachment of a silencer or a flash suppressor. The latter prevents the shooter from being temporarily blinded by the muzzle flash, particularly in low-light conditions, enabling him to fire more quickly and accurately. It also helps conceal the position of the shooter, something that may well have been a factor in the D.C. snipers' ability to evade detection."[1]

If Con would like to contend that these aren't true, he must provide evidence of his own to counter. As for why a mass shooter would be concerned about muzzle flash, again, look to the article. It gives an example of a mass shooting in Washington that occurred over the course of three weeks, killing innocent people in parking lots and gas stations.[1] That required stealth, and even if this type of mass shooting is rare, we should work to prevent it.

I did, however, leave something out of my initial response, which is that concealment really isn't necessary for mass murder in the first place. In fact, few of the instances I cited actually include any attempt on the part of the perpetrator to hide the weapon. I don't doubt that there are some people who would rather conceal their weapons in order to reach a certain location, but for senseless violence that doesn't require a specific target, these kinds of weapons far outpace anything else easily available.

D. A large part of Con's argument has been focused on showing that people aren't likely to use these weapons. As he has decided not to address any of these examples, he is conceding that many individuals do utilize these rifles. That is despite their size and any difficulties in concealment. I'm asserting, and warranting the assertion, that the reason they're still used is because of their destructive power.

E. The link I posted showcases exactly how a semi-automatic AK-47 can be converted to an automatic firearm for just $299 using a slide fire stock. Con provides no evidence in support of his claim that this is not possible. The warrants he provides show that it's not fully automatic since it still requires a manual trigger pull, but that's more a point on semantics than anything to do with the debate. The point of adding Slide Fire is to enable "controlled rapid firing," allowing shooters to "shoot one round, 2 rounds...15 rounds or a full magazine" with a single trigger pull. That's the problem here. If competition guns can as well, then they should only be legal on the range.

On magazines, my opponent wants to have it both ways. He's arguing that small magazines are a problem for those defending against an intruder, and that small magazines are not a problem for a criminal, who would have access to altered magazines. Either victims are in more danger due to reload times, or nothing changes. It can't be both. I would argue that both taping and coupling are both methods to get around the problem, and at the very least require the acquisition and knowledge of yet another resource just to get to where they are now legally. The presence of such alternative methods to accomplish the same goal mitigates my point, but not completely.

Magazines

A1. One of the most significant portions of Con's scenario is that the criminals involved acquired their weapons illegally. So a large part of his argument is stating that such criminals breaking the law is a major reason for the law's nonexistence. The capacity to defend oneself against these people is dependent on them first illegally acquiring the magazine.

A2. No, it doesn't stop criminal traffickers. I support registration and universal background checks for that purpose, but since that's not part of this debate, I can't claim anything from them. What I can do is warrant arguments for why most criminals won't be able to exploit this black market enterprise. The fact that I cannot control for criminals like Al Capone, who have widespread contacts in the criminal world, extensive resources, credibility and are known for being a dangerous individuals to mess with means little. The vast majority of criminals do not have that, and those won't be able to acquire higher capacity magazines. They would sooner purchase the low hanging fruits than pursue these more dangerous and expensive routes.

A3. Con effectively drops this point. His only response is to body armor (which is mitigation at best, since body armor is still capable of affording these individuals advanced protection at range). The remainder of my argument regarding the factors of surprise, time required to acquire a loaded gun, and training go completely untouched.

He does address my [5], but only with mitigation. The fact that it doesn't address death specifically doesn't make it unimportant. Each instance could lead to death, but death is not required to make these statistics important. Injury could be sufficient as a significant harm. Resultant fear and insecurity is a significant problem as well. I never claimed that the graphs I was looking at had anything to do with death, just with gun violence.

A4. Con mishandles this argument, and completely ignores the latter point and supporting link. A missed shot is going to end up in some place other than the intended target. It can go into a wall, a piece of furniture, through a window, or into an unintended target. The more missed shots that occur, the more likely that any single one of these will be hit. A higher capacity magazine is going to result in more missed shots faster than a lower capacity magazine. Hence, there's an increased chance of an accidental shooting occurring.

But the lack of response to the latter half of my point is glaring. Again, I'll repeat the link.[3] A person who defends their home with a gun against an invader is in more danger than someone who doesn't, and I even provided a warrant and evidence for that argument. That means that a higher rate at which people attempt to defend themselves is a harm, not a benefit, overall. And, as my [5] stated, not only is there evidence that this high usage isn't accurate, but even if it's true, far more guns are stolen and used by criminals than are actually used in self-defense in a given year, so the harm remains higher.

1. http://articles.baltimoresun.com...
2. http://www.slidefire.com...
3. http://www.motherjones.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Juris_Naturalis

Con

Rifles:

A. Being more lethal than another gun has nothing to do with those 325 deaths. If rifles were completely un-available at the time of those murders, how can you say that they wouldn't have happened with a different weapon?

I'm just going to drop the letter B because shifting everything would be too confusing at this point.

C. You're (1.) is no source to consult for "features of a gun that make it more deadly". It was posted by someone who provides no sources to any of their claims and doesn't even claim to know what they're talking about. The whole thing is the un-informed opinion of one person that doesn't reflect fact. A pistol grip doesn't make a gun faster or more accurate or more deadly. A gun without those features can still be used effectively to kill people en masse quickly. Note my usage of shotguns in previous points. Watch the video to see what I mean.

Barrel shrouds are a necessity to everyone who owns one. The barrel heats up regardless of how fast you shoot it. No one wants to be impeded because their hands are burning.

Silencers are NFA Class 3 items and are not available to the public as a whole (1.) A flash suppressor doesn't increase accuracy. It does reduce flash. Flash suppressors do have legitimate place in the law abiding citizen's possession. (i.e Home invasions at night-time).

Stealth wasn't really necessary for those shootings since anyone in the immediate vicinity was unable to fire back or dead. No difference would have been made if the people could've seen where he was. It was my understanding the DC sniper was highly mobile.

As far as outpacing every other weapon, that's not necessarily accurate, as every other type of gun is just as capable of killing people as a semi-automatic rifle. You're no more dead when shot with a rifle than with a handgun or shotgun.

D. No, that's not what I said. Sure they're likely to use them. But if you ban them, there are other options to kill people with, namely, handguns and shotguns.

E. For the last time. It isn't fully automatic fire. Sure it looks like it. But so does pulling the trigger really fast if you have a competition grade trigger. Heck, the same mindless spraying effect can be created by bump firing.Any semi-automatic gun is capable of bump firing. Even semi-auto hunting shotguns. And if they're so awful, why hasn't anyone used them in a mass shooting?

Magazines.

They are a problem for decent people who have to defend themselves against people who may have a gun. They're not a problem for people with no regard for the law and will kill people who can't defend themselves. It's an undue burden on the law abiding whereas the criminal will bring more guns, modified magazines, or illegal magazines. Normal people obey they law, so they won't have illegal magazines. Requiring citizens to be burdened with having to reload on a 2 way range is Malarkey when a mass shooter will just slightly modify his load and be just as effective on a 1 way range. If you know what I mean.

A1. No, the law doesn't exist because like I stated earlier, it creates an undue burden when you have to defend yourself. But if you're shooting people who aren't shooting you, there's no difference.

A2. Registration and universal background checks are another topic which wasn't part of the resolution but am willing to debate you on later if you want. The vast majority of people who make it a habit to commit crimes are part of gangs. Gangs have organisations similar to the mob, to an extent. Engaging in the black market is how gang get drugs. Guns and magazines can be acquired in the same manner.

A3. Well there's other factors as well to consider. Is the family night owls or early risers? Do they have a dog? Do they have an alarm?

You're 5 implicity lists "Justifiable homicides". Not significant injuries.

A4. No, you mishandled the point. If Cop Joe has a 20% hit ratio, then that means, with 10 rounds, he will miss 8. With 50 he will miss 40. With 100, he will miss 80. Magazines size doesn't have anything to do with it. Because a 20% hit ratio means only 20% of rounds fired will hit what he's aiming at.

You're 3 doesn't make sense. Defending your home puts you in more danger, than why does your own 5 quote over 300,000 uses of a gun in self defence, but so little gun crime? What's up with that. And on the note of stealing, stealing is also a method by which criminals can procure rifles unavailable to the public, but ones bought before were grandfathered in.

My II. of last round also disregards your 3 and 5.

On another note, can we make R5 closing statement since I won't have the chance to further rebut?

1.http://www.atf.gov...
2.
3.
whiteflame

Pro

Rebuttal time! I'll be changing the structure a bit.

Rifles

Con's arguments on this end have all been mitigation. There's no offense here whatsoever for him, so as long as I'm winning even one point on rifles, I get some net benefit out of this position.

Con starts by stating that the deaths caused by rifles in a given year would simply shift to being caused by something else. As long as I can prove that rifles are deadlier weapons than handguns to any extent, that means that number decreases. These people may still commit murder, but they'll have a less effective tool to do it, and thus likely fewer deaths.

He spends some time responding to my [1], and I'll admit that he knows quite a bit here. However, he has only addressed part of the problem.

Pistol grips: I'll grant this point.

Barrel shrouds: Con doesn't deny that these shrouds allow a shooter to hold the gun for longer, and therefore shoot longer and more consistently. The fact that some people won't use it if it's hot has no bearing on whether or not that increased usage without stopping increases the death toll.

Silencers: Already restricted, with good reason.

Flash suppressors: Con essentially just denies the importance of stealth. That isn't sufficient to erase its plausible harms. The DC sniper was highly mobile, but it was his ability to avoid being spotted at any given site that prevented his early capture. This dramatically helped him in that regard, especially at night. It doesn't matter if they have no place in the home, they have a place in mass shootings!

Con argues that other guns are just as capable of killing someone. I'd like to use his own argument here. He says that a person shooting a gun is likely to miss the majority of the time. He also says that gunshots aren't sure kills in the first place. That means that fewer shots fired in the span of a few seconds can be a big deal, since it allows someone to get away before the shooter can actually kill them. Con has not argued that pistols have as rapid of a firing rate as semi-automatic rifles, nor has he argued that pistols are more accurate. So let's do some math. If someone can fire 10 bullets from a rifle in a few seconds. That same person can fire 5 from a handgun in that same time. The target will get away in those few seconds. Some 20% of those bullets are going to hit. How many bullets will hit their intended target? 2 and 1, respectively. Increasing the number of bullets hitting the target increases the chance that the target will be killed. Ergo, outpacing matters.

So when Con says that guns with slide fire stocks aren't fully automatic, he's really missing the point. The capacity " any capacity " to increase the rate of fire increases the danger of a given firearm. Whether it's this particular stock, a competition grade trigger, or bump firing, the capacity to dramatically increase the amount of bullets coming out of your gun in a short period of time is problematic, leading to a higher likelihood of death. The fact that some of these methods haven't been used commonly in mass shootings doesn't make them harmless, though some have. Gian Luici Ferri, for example, used an earlier incarnation of bump fire, called the Hellfire trigger, to go on a shooting rampage in San Francisco in 1993, killing 8 people.[1]

Magazines:

What Con is really arguing here is that the capacity of any adult to defend themselves against the assault of criminals should always outweigh the harms of those weapons being legally available. This is where we find a lot of disagreement.

Con points out methods that would be legal under the restrictions that are the basis of this debate, and then says that only criminals will use them. Legal methods are available to everyone. I'm not imposing a restriction on taping or coupling magazines, and as such, both criminals and everyone else will have access. I would argue that this access dramatically reduces any possible harm Con has stated, even if they do exist, which I believe they don't.

I've spent a good deal of time arguing that access goes down for criminals to these high capacity magazines, something Con has only countered with the black market arguments. I've already stated why this market is not going to be accessed by most criminals, who lack the networks and funds to access it safely. This has gone cold dropped.

He argues that gangs have access, and since they have easy access to drugs, they could easily get these. First, not all gangs are created equal. Most are small and lack the kinds of access I mentioned. Second, this just showcases a problem with the enforcement of the law and not with the law itself. It is the job of law enforcement to deal with gangs and illegal gun trafficking, not that of the average U.S. citizen. Third, I never said I would reduce the impact of all crime. If the number of individual criminals with access to these magazines goes down, that's a benefit to my case. Fourth, the comparison to drugs is unwarranted. Guns are manufactured in bulk by large facilities designed for their safe, efficient production. These facilities will be dramatically reducing their output, and unlike with drugs, you can't just start up a small chemical laboratory in your garage to meet demand. The capacity to supply the criminal market with quality products will decrease as time goes on. Fifth, criminals being forced to steal their guns from law-abiding citizens will have to put themselves at high risk just to get to what they currently have legally. That's not to mention that criminals tend to prefer new guns for a reason " "They get rid of ones that can be traced to a crime and, like anyone who works with a tool, they often prefer the best and latest models. Over time, a ban that dries up the supply of new weapons pushes shooters to more readily available options."[2]

So it's actually a negative sum game for them that leads to a higher likelihood of arrest; they get lower quality guns that are more easily traced, will likely to have to steal multiple times putting themselves at risk every time, and the supply will still dry up long term.

Meanwhile, Con is not responsive to the problems I've outlined that put any homeowner in danger following a home invasion. He simply adds other complicating factors. This doesn't diminish the problem, it just showcases how absurd it is to state that high capacity magazines are the only things standing between a homeowner and death when someone with a gun invades.

Back to missing shots. A person is in a tense state of mind when they hear or see someone invading their property. They pick up a gun, and are liable to shoot at anything that moves to remove the threat. Especially since many home invasions occur at night, it will be difficult to distinguish targets. So the chances increase that their target will be incorrect in the first place. But there's also the fact that every single miss could potentially hit an innocent bystander, and much as Con says I'm mishandling this, he's simply not addressing the point. If you're able to fire more bullets without reloading, as you're likely to do if you're nervous for your life, then more shots will miss. Every missed shot is a chance to hit something else. That something else can very easily be an innocent bystander. Ergo, higher capacity magazines increase the probability of accidental shootings. If a person fires 10 rounds versus 100, they are 10 times more likely to hit their target and ten times more likely to hit anything else. Plain and simple.

This is the reason that defending your home puts you in more danger, as my [3] explained. This is also the reason why more uses of a gun in self defense, as my [5] states, increase the danger.

With that, I leave it to Con to provide his concluding statements.

1. http://www.nbcbayarea.com...
2. www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/01/13/assault-semiautomatic-weapons-ban/1566346/
Debate Round No. 4
Juris_Naturalis

Con

I know this is supposed to be closing remarks, but I feel the need to put forth a definition real quick. I apologise I didn't do this in R1.

Semi-automatic: "Full Definition of SEMIAUTOMATIC

: not fully automatic: as
a : operated partly automatically and partly by hand
b of a firearm : able to fire repeatedly but requiring release and another pressure of the trigger for each successive shot
"" semiautomatic noun
"" semi"au"to"mat"i"cal"ly adverb"

Taken from Merriam-Webster.

Semi-automatic rifle bans:

A semi-automatic rifle ban will not decrease overall gun death because semi-automatic firearms are not the only firearms that exist that are used in crimes. I noted in R2 that in 2012 there were upwards of 8000 gun deaths caused by handguns and only 325 by rifles. The FBI does not discriminate between semi-automatics, bolt guns, lever guns and muzzleloaders, so it's reasonable to assume that not all of them were by semiautomatic rifles. With these numbers one should be able to glean that handguns (which are by the definition above, semi-automatic)are just as capable as killing people whether it be a mass shooting, Such as Virginia Tech or the Gabby Giffords shootings will confirm this. Even if the argument is made that rifles are hands down the best weapon to use in a mass shooting, if they become un-available, what is to stop a would-be shooter from acquiring the next best thing, a handgun or shotgun? Nothing. So the 325 who die from rifles, would die from something else, be it handgun, shotgun or completely different implement. The features on most semi-automatic rifles such as a hand guard, pistol grip or flash suppressor, do not make the gun inherently more deadly. The "stealth" factor from a flash suppressor can be accomplished in a DIY fashion using a plastic soda bottle and wet newspaper or cotton balls. The pistol grip was designed to make the gun more comfortable to fire from the shoulder, not the hip. Traditional style grips are easier to use from the hip (Reference my earlier video). If they were banned, these rifles, if truly desired by the criminal element, would just be another commodity such as drugs and cars. It's illegal to smuggle, buy and own illegal drugs, but that doesn't stop anyone. Beer was illegal during Prohibition, that didn't stop anyone. The same argument can be had for standard capacity magazines.

Magazines:

As I've mentioned before, smaller magazines for a criminal who expects no return fire will not slow him down or put him in any kind of danger. They can be modified via taping and/or coupling and the reload speeds are essentially the same. However, if a law-abiding citizen is required to use their gun in self defence against someone with a gun, smaller magazines are a large hindrance as each reload gives the perp time to move and shoot. Since the magazines don't slow down the attacker as shown in my very first video, there is no reason to put this hindrance on the law abiding.

Self defence in the home:

I don't know how this went awry, but essentially, my point here is this. If according to my opponents 5 (or 3, whichever it was) there are 200,000 violent crimes committed and my II. from a few rounds ago says that there were at least 500,000 uses of a gun for self defence, then that would mean that you would have a higher likelihood of coming out on top if you chose to engage the invaders with force. Even if we go my opponents sources, there is still more defensive gun use than gun crime overall, so the odds are still in your favor. Google the phrase "shoots home invaders" and loads of self defence reports will come in from across the country. And with that, I would like to thank my opponent for this debate. Ciao.
whiteflame

Pro

Before I start, I would like to fervently thank Juris_Naturalis for giving me one of the best debates I've had on any form of gun control. He's had a highly reasoned argument, one that I greatly respect, as I also respect him. It was a privilege to debate this topic with you, and I hope anyone who reads this debate grows to appreciate it as much as I have.

Now, before I launch into concluding remarks, a word about the definition.

I think it was generally assumed throughout the debate that this was the definition of semi-automatic. What I've spent my time explaining is how, specifically, a semi-automatic rifle can be altered to make them more dangerous in ways other weapons currently available to the public at large are not. Whatever that definition may be, the reality is that none of the modifications I've discussed change how these weapons are regarded under the law. They're still "semi-automatic," despite changes to the number of bullets fired per trigger pull.

Crystallization and Conclusions

Overview

What's going on in this debate? To understand that, I think we have to look back at the topic (presented in full in R2): "Restricting semi-automatic rifles and their standard capacity magazines will reduce gun death." Voters should evaluate the debate based on who provided the most net beneficial arguments based on this topic. As such, which questions should voters be asking?

1. How would restrictions on semi-automatic rifles affect the country?
2. How would restrictions on the capacity of magazines affect it?

So let's see how well I can encapsulate the answers.

"How would restrictions on semi-automatic rifles affect the country?"

The most important thing to remember here is that Con has never argued that there is a harm to restricting semi-automatic rifles in this country. Not once. As such, he has no offense on this point, and as I said in the last round, that means any point I am winning makes this point overall net beneficial.

How should we evaluate those theoretical benefits? We have to determine whether the loss of life caused by those rifles is, to any extent, higher than it would be in their absence. And this is where Con's analysis truly fails to get traction. Barrel shrouds and flash suppressors substantially increase the threats engendered by these weapons - Con fails to fully address these. Slide fire stocks are even more dramatic, and all of Con's responses here simply miss the point. These are semi-automatic rifles firing faster than any other weapon easily available, and by Con's own argument about the number of misses involved, this is a demonstrable harm. Whether Con believes it's automatic or not doesn't change the fact that the danger is increased, and the reality that other methods exist to make this possible only increases the harms of semi-automatic firearms being widely available.

In effect, I've proven that there are significant benefits presented to mass shooters who decide to use these weapons, as they result in a higher capacity to inflict mass deaths than any other weapon. Whether mass shooters continue to acquire and use other weapons only mitigates this point. The number of deaths will be reduced, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if it's 5, 20, or 300 deaths that are prevented - each and every one is a benefit to my case.

Now, onto the second question.

"How would restrictions on the capacity of magazines affect it?"

All of Con's offense is located here. This is the only place where Con argues that a restriction would inflict undue harm. And he's simply not winning these points, nor is he outweighing my offense on this point.

Con's main point here is that a higher capacity magazine is necessary for home defense. The fact is that Con hasn't substantiated this argument enough to win it. The fact that people miss more often than they hit when they shoot is not sufficient, especially when the very methods that Con states circumvent these problems remain legal. He hasn't been responsive to my points regarding other factors that subsume his own.

His other offensive point here is criminal acquisition. I've shown that criminals are not at all likely to acquire high capacity magazines through a black market, many of these arguments going unaddressed. I've shown how it is a negative sum game for criminals to steal these weapons, making this a similarly unlikely outcome. Both a black market and increased theft are simply unlikely outcomes, and both still preferable to the ease of access seen in status quo that ensures that ALL criminals have high capacity magazines.

And what are these up against? I haven't left this portion of the debate solely to mitigation. I've provided extensive argumentation about how the availability of these magazines, and of semi-automatic rifles, go down when they're illegal, reducing the threat to law-abiding citizens. I've shown that accidental shootings are a bigger problem than home defense is a solutions, as my R2 post's [3] and [5] confirm. I've provided a logical basis for why this is true, explaining how high capacity magazines lead to an increase missed shots and more shots fired out of nervousness, which directly lead to an increased probability of innocent bystanders being harmed. These outcomes are not only far more likely, but their impact is barely mitigated over the course of this debate, meaning that they have higher value.

In conclusion, I've provided a well-warranted, highly logical, and evidenced argument in support of the resolution. My impacts are stronger and more likely. As such, I urge a vote in favor of Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
No I was talking to Pro lol
Posted by Juris_Naturalis 2 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
Sure. What does 16k mean? Characters?
Posted by Genghis_Khan 2 years ago
Genghis_Khan
I'll debate you on this for fun, 16k :D
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Yeah less broad
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
I would be willing, would just have to be a slightly different topic.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
so no? :(
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Yeah, I more did this for fun, it's not really what I would go for as an option even though I liked the debate.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
we should deb8 this, though probably a different res
Posted by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
Good debate, fellas. I might reread this again, since I'm not entirely sure I voted correctly. We'll see. I must say this was a tough debate to judge.
Posted by TheLastMan 3 years ago
TheLastMan
RFD: This is probably the best debate on this topic I have ever seen. Both did very well. This could have easily gone to Con, if he had posted more statistics to back up his claims, like his point about motive vs. means. While rebuttals could be made to Pro's points, there was not sufficient statistical evidence from Con. Con's "magazine" argument was very powerful. As Con pointed out that it's an undue burden on the law abiding whereas the criminal will bring more guns, modified magazines, or illegal magazines. Normal people obey they law, so they won't have illegal magazines. Requiring citizens to be burdened with having to reload on a 2 way range is Malarkey when a mass shooter will just slightly modify his load and be just as effective on a 1 way range...
Pro spent a good deal of time arguing that access goes down for criminals to these high capacity magazines, which Con countered with the black market arguments. Pro argued why this market is not going to be accessed by most criminals, who lack the networks and funds to access it safely. Pro exploits the lack of actual sources and hard data from Con. Con also criticized some of Pro's sources that they are not reliable enough. Con compared drugs with guns. As Pro pointed out , Comparison to drugs was unwarranted. Correlation does not equal causation. Pro presented a very good point that banning firearms means banning more efficient firing, which would help reduce deaths. Pro argued that the number of deaths will be reduced. Con has never argued that there is a harm to restricting semi-automatic rifles in this country. Reducing death is overall beneficial. So, I'm leaning toward Pro.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
Juris_NaturaliswhiteflameTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 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:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I read and then looked over this debate twice. I must admit, it was very very close, and I can't say either debater clearly won. Con had a great knowledge of guns. That being said, I agree with Con but I have to give arguments to Pro. I believe Pro won with regards to the magazines, especially since Con's arguments in this area were about self-defense, which I don't see as relevant to the resolution. Regarding the rifles, Con also made the speculation that gunmen would just use another gun to kill people. Now I agree with Con here, but I don't think he backed this point up as well, and it sounded more like speculation. Pro, on the other hand, insisted that if he could show that semi-automatic rifles were more deadly than normal weapons, and made killing easier, banning this would result in less death. I disagree here (it seems like a non-sequitur), but Con didn't respond to this adequately. So while this was very very close, I think Pro had the upperhand... but only very slightly.
Vote Placed by TheLastMan 3 years ago
TheLastMan
Juris_NaturaliswhiteflameTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 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:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in the comment
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Juris_NaturaliswhiteflameTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gives off the impression he's more knowledgeable on the topic than Pro is, but Pro exploits the lack of actual sources and hard data from Con. But next, Con undermines the credibility of Pro's sources, leaving Con the more credible one so far. Con's argument, that "[Pro's proposal] creates an undue burden when you have to defend yourself. But if you're shooting people who aren't shooting you, there's no difference" was a huge factor in turning me to Con's favor. Pro brings up a great point: Banning firearms means banning more efficient firing, which would help reduce deaths. Let's see if Con can refute this.. he does: "smaller magazines for a criminal who expects no return fire will not slow him down or put him in any kind of danger. They can be modified via taping and/or coupling( ... )." Sources to Con because he showed Pro's to be less reliable. I did have some bias for Con's position, but I did my best to judge fairly. Great debate. I don't watch videos though...
Vote Placed by Ameliamk1 3 years ago
Ameliamk1
Juris_NaturaliswhiteflameTied
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:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro, as Con changed the resolution after the debate had begun. I was impressed that Pro was so gracious about that. For arguments, both sides fought well, and this could have easily gone to Con, had he posted more statistics to back up his claims, such as his point about motive vs. means. While rebuttals could be made to Pro's points, I was not presented with enough statistical evidence from Con to match Pro's impressive array.