Right to carry arms
Debate Rounds (3)
In this debate, I am going to prove to you why adult individuals should have the right to carry a concealed handgun.
On to my case - I wish to offer 2 points in this round to show that the decision to make carrying arms in the US a legal right was a good one.
Criminals are less likely to attack someone that they believe might be armed. The deterrent effect of concealed carry benefits the individual carrying a handgun as well as the general public because criminals never know who is armed. With the right to carry arms in place, the general public can move around the country without having to worry about criminals, and areas that generally contain a lot of people who commit crimes.
This is further proved by the fact that, according to a study by Dr. John Lott, "shall-issue" laws have reduced homicides by 8.5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%. Lott argued that if states that did not permit concealed handguns in 1992 had permitted them in 1977, 1570 murders, 60,000 aggravated assaults, and 12,000 robberies would have been prevented between 1977 and 1992.
These figures may seem insignificant at first, but when you're part of one the 1,570 families who lost someone they loved, it suddenly matters a WHOLE lot more.
One of the arguments against giving the right to carry arms to adults is that the public isn't ready to handle the responsibility of a gun, and that they might take to shooting and use the tool made for self-defence to harm other innocent civilians, but, most of the adults who own concealed handguns are law abiding. This is proved by the fact that according to a report by engineering statistician William Sturdevant published on the Texas Concealed Handgun Association website, the general public is now 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses, and 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses, in comparison to before.
This, therefore, refutes any argument about the public not being able to handle the responsibilities of a gun.
I now give the (online)stage to my opponent, and wish him/her good luck.
That being said, Side Con"s three contentions are as follows:
1. Concealed firearm use leads to lethal violent crime.
2. Concealed firearms easily find their way into the hands of convicted felons.
3. Concealed firearms are not adequate self-defense.
Contention 1: Concealed firearms lead to lethal violent crime.
The NRA loves telling the public stories of heroic storeowners hiding guns in their desks, successfully taking down thieves and various other assailants with lethal or non-lethal blows. Concealed firearms are thus portrayed as saviors. The NRA, however, does not tell every story.
Meet Philip Davis, an Alabama police officer on duty on December 3rd, 2009. Davis pulls over pharmacist Bart Johnson for speeding. As Davis gave Johnson his ticket, Johnson "fired one shot" (1) from a concealed firearm, killing Davis instantly. Johnson had "obtained a concealed weapons permit in 2007," a permit he had renewed in 2009. Davis is one of 516 people killed by individuals with concealed weapons, weapons legally concealed (2).
Looking at an even broader scale, we find an alarming amount of violence arising from handgun use. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, handguns were the weapons used in 70% to 80% of all homicides committed from 1993 to 2011 (3). Using the lower number, 70%, we can therefore estimate criminals killed 148,676 people with handguns. And this does not include non-lethal shootings, nor the violence of the past year.
Considering the weapons themselves, we find a very dangerous prospect: handguns are exceedingly easy to use. This is not to say a knife or a baseball bat cannot be deadly, but a semi-automatic handgun has a greater range and ease of use than either. All one needs to do is pull back a safety and pull the trigger repeatedly. Furthermore, the clip size of handguns can lead to multiple deaths in mere seconds. An AR-24 Armalite 9mm pistol has a 15 magazine; assuming the gun-wielder is a poor marksman, needing two shots to kill someone, he/she could still take out 7 people (4).
So how does this link to the resolution? Quite simply, as useful as concealed firearms seem for self-defense, they are definitely used for criminal, homicidal purposes. They are a threat to public safety. And though some lives have been saved by handguns, just as many, if not more, have been lost.
Contention 2: Concealed firearms easily find their way into the hands of convicted felons.
Most would not have a problem with law-abiding citizens owning a concealed handgun. Yet, often times, the handgun user is NOT a law-abiding citizen, but a convicted criminal regaining his/her gun rights. Several states, such as Washington and Cleveland, allow released felons to regain their gun rights as long as minimal requirements have been met. Since 1995, 3,300 convicted felons in Washington have regained their gun rights (5). 13% of these felons have engaged in further criminal activity with these firearms including first-degree murder, drive-by-shootings, and child rape.
The process barring these individuals from acquiring firearms is atrocious. Aside from those felons incarcerated for first-degree murder and other such crimes, "judges have no discretion to reject petitions" (5) for criminals regaining their gun rights. The federal government can do little to stop this gun proliferation; due to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, the federal government must leave gun restoration policy to the states. And, as we've seen, many of them are not doing good jobs.
Contention 3: Concealed firearms are not adequate self-defense
As this contention clashes directly with my opponent"s first contention, this suffices to rebut his argument.
First, we must realize guns are rarely used for self-defense. The NRA claims guns have been used to stop approximately 2.5 million crimes a year; analysis by the National Crime Victimization survey actually finds handguns are used for self-defense a mere 67,470 a year. In 2010 alone, there were 8,275 firearms based homicides, as compared to 230 justifiable self-defense homicides (6).
My opponent brings up an alleged deterrent effect, as "criminals never know who is armed." There are a few problems with this analysis. First off, an exposed firearm is far more intimidating than a concealed one. If anyone saw someone with a Glock strapped to his/her ankle, they would likely stay away. Second, this analysis assumes every criminal will make the logical step, assuming anyone might have a gun. This is far from likely. If a criminal is mentally ill, he is not likely to take this logical step. The same applies to a criminal addicted to malevolent substances, such as PCP. This also ignores criminal desperation; if a criminal needs the money to satisfy a drug addiction, or even to put bread on the table, he will disregard the possibility of any random person having a gun.
Finally, my opponent cites the research of Dr. John Lott, a "shall-issue" law enthusiast whose research is often cited by pro-gun advocates. Yet there are flaws in Lott"s analysis as well. We must consider the possibility of a conflict of interest, as Lott"s research was funded by the Olin Foundation, a subsidiary of the Olin Corporation, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the country. Secondly, Lott based his theories on econometric data points, rather than psychological data taken from case studies, surveys, and experiments with criminals; the latter data is far more compelling. Even if we look at the study itself, a revised data set of Lott"s study indicated the effect of "right-to-carry laws" had no statistical significance (7) on violent crime. Thus, this change was due to factors beyond the controls established by Lott"s analysis.
Finally, concealed handguns have limited stopping power and poor accuracy in the hands of an untrained marksman. The entry and exit wound on handguns is smaller than for other weapons. Most don"t have a scope.. Even gun advocate Chris Bird notes a handgun is "the least effective fire-arm for self-defense" (8).
Since these weapons are so rarely used for self-defense, rarely deter criminals, and are poor self-defense items in the first place, right to carry laws are not the best way to promote public safety.
With this in mind, I would like to refute my opponent"s other argument, his second contention;
Pro Contention 2: The public isn't ready to handle gun responsibility.
I will keep this refutation brief for sake of clash in other rounds, but the main issue with my opponent's argument is a false correlation. Not only does correlation not assume causation, but the statistics my opponent asserts may not even have to deal with gun responsibility. The statistics only suggest people are less likely to be arrested for violent crime. This does not mean people are "better" or "more responsible." Dozens of other factors come into play. The recent economic crisis (thus limiting funds to purchase guns), the possibility of increased law enforcement, or decreases in drug abuse could all be responsible for this trend. The confounding variables severely hamper the validity of these statistics.
With that, I close the first round. Thank you, and good luck.
1) My opponent starts his first argument by saying that the NRA loves to tell stories about concealed handguns to say they have saved lives.
However, the information I give is not produced by the NRA, but by the Texas Department of Public Safety & Florida state records.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released a study in 1999 that showed that in that year the rate of murder convictions for permit holders in Texas was zero percent. There were NONE.
Florida statistics show only 18 crimes involving firearms by license holders, out of 221,443 licenses issued between October 1987 and April 1994.
2) My opponent then gives an example of a killing by a citizen with a concealed firearm, which is followed by the fact that 516 people have been killed this way.
This may be true, but according to a study by criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University, there are approximately 2.5 million cases of people using firearms for self-defense in America each year.
However, this study was disproved and it was shown that he was greatly exaggerating. I tell you this to confirm the authenticity of the information I am about to give you.
Another study from the same period, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), estimated almost 70,000 defensive gun uses annually.
"We have 153 documented cases across 26 states with at least 550 lives saved", says David Burnett, who tracks incidents of defensive gun use. This shows the difference between the lives saved and the lives lost are definitely in favor of saved.
3) My opponent then says that we have an alarming amount of deaths from handgun usage. This point says nothing against the negativities of concealed carry, those are figures related to handguns in general. Therefore his argument is invalid.
Next, I wish to put forth my second point -
Citizens should have the same advantages as the criminals who attack them. Since this point clashes with my opponent"s second point, I will rebut it in this way.
According to my opponent"s argument, convicted felons are also allowed to regain gun rights, and therefore this becomes a danger to the rest of the population. So, ideally, my opponent wishes guns to be banned from convicted felons.
1)Firstly, most criminals would not bother to get a concealed carry gun permit. There are many ways for criminals to get guns without obtaining a permit.
2)Secondly, this idea for guns to be banned from all convicted felons can be put down another way - in the US, as of 2010, there were a little more than 2.3 million convicted felons. Out of those, 700,000 were for violent offenses. Out of these, 400,000 commit crimes for the second time.
If all convicted felons were restricted from obtaining a gun, there would be around 1.8 MILLION people who committed small crimes but were not able to obtain guns legally. That"s almost the state population of Nebraska!!
In my opponent"s third argument, he discredits the "alleged" deterrent effect and proceeds to advise that the guns should be exposed instead of concealed.
There are 2 flaws in my opponent"s reasoning. Firstly, the "alleged" deterrent effect, as my opponent calls it, has reduced crime all over the country.
For example, the report from ABC News shows that in Florida, where there are more concealed weapons permits than anywhere else in the country, violent crime has dropped to the lowest point in history.
Firearm-related violent crimes in Florida have dropped by one-third in just four years, 2007 to 2011.
I don"t think it can still be called the "alleged" deterrent effect. It is real, and it definitely works.
My opponent"s second flaw is that if guns were allowed to be exposed, people wouldn't"t be warned of criminals coming their way, as he could be an innocent civilian as well. Also, think of the effect it would have on our nation. The United States of America is not a terrorist country, for people to be walking around with, and I quote my opponent, "with a Glock strapped to his/her ankle".
The government considers all these effects before putting a law into place, and I think my opponent should too.
With that, I close my argument for the second round. I wish my opponent good luck.
I must note my opponent never defended his own arguments. This significant drop should be considered by the voters. All of the arguments put forth against his second contention, namely that of correlation v. causation, still apply.
Now, let us examine his rebuttals to Side Con"s contentions in full.
C1: Concealed firearm use leads to lethal violent crime.
My opponent first clashes with my critique of NRA reports of self-defense using firearms. He correctly claims this point has nothing to do with Side Pro's argument. The purpose of said paragraph was giving context to the political environment, not to add a false source to side Pro - mere stylistic flair.
That being said, Side Pro then produces evidence from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Apparently, there were no murder convictions for Texas permit holders in 1999. My opponent has selectively chosen this number. In that same year (1), CHL holders were found guilty of 4 charges of aggressive assault with a deadly weapon, 1 case of sexual assault, 53 cases of assault causing bodily injury, 15 cases of deadly conduct, 5 terrorism threats, and 34 cases of unlawful carrying of arms.
Furthermore, my opponent only looked at statistics from 1999. Considering more recent statistics, namely 2011, there were not only murder convictions, but manslaughter, robbery, child sexual abuse, and multi-murder convictions for CHL holders. There were four murders by CHL holders in 2010 alone. A full swath of CHL holder crimes can be found here (2).
My opponent also asserts "Florida statistics show only 18 crimes involving firearms by license holders, out of 221,443 licenses issued between October 1987 and April 1994." This claim only looks at a time period far prior to a more modern, nuanced view of gun proliferation in Florida. Namely, prior to 2005, Florida"s firearm-involved murder rate never topped 3.5 people per 100,000. Since 2005, the number of murders has been higher. In 2011, 70% of all Florida murders involved handguns. Equally alarming is this fact: though Florida has the most concealed gun permits of any state, it still has the 13th highest firearm-involved murder rate in the state (3). Deterrent? The numbers disagree.
Later, in support of his first contention, my opponent brings up a quote by David Burnett: "We have 153 documented cases across 26 states with at least 550 lives saved." At first, this 550 seems 34 lives higher than the 516 killed by CHL holders. Pro seems to win, but the numbers don"t match up. Burnett"s research was not confined solely to concealed carry self-defense instances, but ALL self-defense instances in the 153 documented cases. Thus, comparing this number to the 516 is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Under this comparison, Pro"s self-defense number pales to the total number of ALL handgun murders, including concealed carry murders, a whopping 8,275 in 2010 alone. Burnett's figures for purely concealed carry safety measures are undoubtedly smaller. When the 516 concealed carry murders nearly equal the same number of total self-defense instances found in 26 states, we have a problem.
Finally, my opponent claims my statistics involving all handgun deaths are invalid and irrelevant. I profoundly disagree. The resolution states we have a "right to carry a concealed handgun" (Pro 1). If that is the case, we must consider the possibility if every person in the US decided to take up that right; otherwise, we would be adopting the resolution without looking through all possibilities, a prospect my opponent fears. Thus, when we look at the total number of handgun murders, we see how the US population tends to use semi-automatic handguns. Sadly for Pro, criminals are the guns" primary users, as outlined in my first speech.
Thus, all points brought up against my 1C have been refuted.
2C: Concealed firearms easily find themselves into the hands of convicted felons.
First, allow me to elaborate upon this point. Giving a gun to a convicted felon, especially one convicted of violent crime, is tantamount to giving a cocaine addict cocaine upon his becoming sober. It makes no logical sense, giving the criminal the ability to engage in crime yet again.
My opponent correctly asserts I wish guns to prevent convicted felons from acquiring guns. However, he counters on two fronts. For one thing, he claims most will find illegal ways to regain guns. While illegal options are certainly viable, this does not make a legal option for them to obtain firearms any less immoral. Such an option still puts weapons in the hands of convicted felons, who, as my first speech demonstrates, do commit violent crimes. Since the legal option does not decrease the number of crimes these felons commit or the number of illegal arms purchased, it only serves as a detriment to the general public.
My opponent"s second counter-argument is even more interesting. "If all convicted felons were restricted from obtaining a gun, there would be around 1.8 MILLION people who committed small crimes but were not able to obtain guns legally. That"s almost the state population of Nebraska!!" My response: why not? So what if 1.8 million people cannot legally own a gun? I thought the fewer guns you have, the fewer murders you have! After all, if Australia has shown us anything, limiting the number of guns available to the population has lowered the number of gun murders to mere triple digits (4) as opposed to the US"s quintuple digits (5)! Since my opponent has failed to demonstrate why preventing these felons from having their gun rights is wrong, this entire counterargument remains utterly unconvincing. Preventing 1.8 million convicted felons from acquiring guns is a huge boon to public safety.
Thus, with both arguments countered, my 2C stands.
3C: Concealed firearms are not adequate self-defense.
My opponent counters this in two ways. First, he claims the deterrent effect of "shall-issue laws" is very much real, due to statistics in Florida gun violence. Sadly, my opponent utterly ignores the argument I previously put forth: correlation does NOT equal causation. Hundreds of factors " economics, politics, racism, education " affect the reduction in violent crime. Furthermore, the drop in violent crime occurred from 2007 to 2011. Since Florida"s "shall-issue laws" came into effect in 1987 (6), why didn"t this drop in crime happen earlier?
Secondly, my opponent attacks a world I promoted in my 3C, where people must reveal their firearms on their person. My opponent believes people could be frightened of innocent civilians. This would be true, but this is not as important as the greater deterrent effect. For an instant, voters, put yourselves in the criminal"s shoes. Who would you rather rob?
A. An older woman walking down the street who MIGHT have a gun.
B. An older woman walking down the street who visibly HAS a gun.
My opponent also claims this would also make the US a "terrorist country." This is false; having a firearm exposed does not make you a terrorist or the US a terrorist country. Soldiers and police officers often have highly visible firearms; they are not terrorists. Such a world is far from IDEAL (a world with NO guns), it certainly deters more crime than the world Pro supports.
Unless side Pro can adequately respond to all these arguments, along with those not addressed earlier in the round, Side Con must win this debate.
Thank you, and good luck.
god_potato forfeited this round.
1. Do concealed handguns deter criminals from crime?
2. Do concealed handguns save more people than they kill?
On Side Con, I proudly believe the answer to both questions is NO; Side Con has a clear COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE on both of these issues. With that in mind, let"s examine the first question:
1. Do concealed handguns deter criminals from crime?
As my opponent brought up in his first speech, "Criminals are less likely to attack someone that they believe might be armed." The logic is simple: "if anyone could have a gun, then I shouldn"t attack anyone for fear he/she might pull a gun on me." The Instigator then defended this point with studies from Dr. John Lott.
Yet, as we saw in my previous two speeches, my opponent"s logic does not hold up. First and foremost, Dr. John Lott"s studies have been found invalid due to a lack of statistical significance. The findings he had could have just as easily arisen from pure luck due to a large number of confounding variables in his study. The controversy behind the funding of his research is only a cherry on top.
Furthermore, my opponent did not adequately respond to arguments put forth in the 1st and 2nd Con speech: openly shown firearms are a far more effective deterrent. Once again, whom would you rather rob? The old lady who might have a gun or the old lady who has a gun? The answer is clear.
My opponent also ignores the psychological elements of crime, such as criminal desperation and drug addiction. Many won"t make the logical leaps my opponent assumes they will. The conclusion is simple. In a shall-issue law world, there will still be muggings, rapes, and murders. There are better, safer alternatives to this scenario my opponent failed to refute.
With this in mind, we can safely say the answer to this first question is NO, favoring Side Con.
2. Do concealed handguns save more people than they kill?
There has been a slight back-and-forth over this issue over the course of debate. Yet, looking over the previous two speeches, Con definitively emerged triumphant. The comparisons Side Pro made in Round 2 between the VPC and David Burnett were not "apples-to-apples" comparisons, as noted in Side Con"s Round 2 speech. To this day, individuals with legal concealed weapons permits kill citizens across the country. Such records are often incomplete, as not all crimes are reported. People such as Philip Davis have no chance to flee, giving the ease of use of a concealed handgun.
My opponent claims "citizens should have the same advantages as the criminals who attack them." While, ideally, neither the criminal nor the average citizen should have a gun in the first place, a concealed weapons permit makes it far easier to kill a person with malicious intent than to defend oneself from an attacker. As discussed in Con"s Round 1 speech, the most common concealed handguns, namely the 9mm, are horrendous for self-defense. While they are rapid fire, the stopping power is minimal, especially when put in the hands of an untrained marksman. A criminal, on the other hand, is more likely to use the handgun as a threat, holding someone up for valuables. Or, if murder is the design, the criminal is far more likely to have practiced using the gun than the everyday citizen. These handguns are far more practical as murder weapons than self-defense. This point was not questioned at ALL by Side Pro.
Side Pro also failed to properly refute Con"s second contention: convicted felons do regain their gun rights, and do kill again. In Washington ALONE, 429 felons have engaged in crime after regaining their gun rights, using their weapons as either leverage or as murder weapons. Even if denying these people of their gun rights would prevent practically the population of Nebraska from owning concealed handguns, this is still a step towards the safety of the American citizenry.
If we look at the deaths and the nature of concealed firearms, we overwhelmingly find the answer to the second question is NO.
Thus, who has the comparative advantage? Side Con.
Side Pro may like the theory behind "shall-issue" laws, but, in practice, these laws have not markedly improved pubic safety. If anything, they make our world LESS safe. As Side Con has repeatedly shown you, voters, concealed firearms should be illegal for US private citizens. So, for the good of restricting gun proliferation, vote Con. For the safety of the American people, vote Con. For the family of Philip Davis, vote Con.
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