The Instigator
Shrekoning
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Psykaze
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should Assault Weapons be banned?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 253 times Debate No: 88251
Debate Rounds (4)
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Shrekoning

Con

First round is for acceptance. I will be arguing against an Assault Rifle Ban. Assault Rifle will be defined using New York's SAFE act.


Semi-Auto rifle with detachable magazine and any of the features below:

Folding or Telescoping Stock
Protruding Pistol Grip
Thumbhole Stock
Second Handgrip or Protruding Grip that can be held by non-shooting hand
Bayonet Mount
Flash Suppressor
Muzzle Brake
Muzzle Compensator
A threaded barrel designed to accommodate attachments to the barrel
Grenade Launcher
Psykaze

Pro

I accept, and will be arguing for an Assault Rifle Ban.
Debate Round No. 1
Shrekoning

Con

I shall begin with the following points:

1. Bans in the United States that have targeted Assault Rifles such as the AR-15 have been ineffective.

For example, the New York Safe Act made the AR-15 illegal due to it meeting the bill's definition of Assault Rifle. Gun makers simply modded the AR-15, getting rid of the pistol grip amongst other features which rendered the rifle legal again. It still had all the lethality before, except now it had less of the bells and whistles. Even if the AR-15 was targeted by name, it is possible that gun makers could simply change the design enough for it to be classified as a different style firearm. Passing legislation is a slow and difficult process. Gun makers could stay one step ahead of the law makers.

2. A Ban would not save enough lives to warrant it.

Of all the homicides commited with guns from 2010 to 2014, only 4% were done with rifles. The vast majority were with handguns. The shootings we see covered sensationally by the media are only a very small number of the people killed with firearms. Rifles such as the AR-15 are rarely used for crime, but when they are, they are covered extensively by the media. Why ban such a popular rifle when it is a very minor player in gun violence?

3.A Ban would be unenforcable

If you ban the AR-15, but don't bother to confiscate any of the existing weapons, it will not do much. Gun owners will be outraged that their most popular rifle is banned. They will simply illegally trade the weapon amongst themselves. And if a ban did attempt to confiscate existing weapons, it would spark armed conflict between civilians and law enforcement, possibly a rebellion.


Psykaze

Pro

Although you have spoken about banning of Assault Rifles, I would agree that JUST banning assault rifles could cause a number of issues. I submit that the banning of assault rifles, should be considered in the context of an overall firearm ban. Firstly, I'd like to look at the points you raised.

1. Bans in the United States that have targeted Assault Rifles such as the AR-15 have been ineffective.

While the information you have given show that there are ways to circumvent the ban, that does not in my submission make the ban ineffective. Rather, I feel it strengthens the argument that the ban should extend further. If there is the ability to make minor changes to the gun in order to circumvent the ban, then the ban has not been written well. Although gun makers could stay ahead of the game on banning some guns, a total ban on private gun ownership (including assault rifles) would not allow that to be an issue. Many laws are not 100% effective, however that is no reason for the law not to be created at all.

2. A Ban would not save enough lives to warrant it.

There are 3 points I would like to raise here. The first is that if 4% of all homicides were with rifles, then an effective ban on rifles could have prevented those 1,530 homicides (1). While it may be a popular gun, were these people to still be alive, they may disagree. The second is"How many lives is not enough". I would suggest that all lives are important, and if any amount of lives are lost which could have otherwise have been saved, with no detrimental alter effects, then that would be worth it. Statistically, for a county which has more guns than people (2) and the highest number of mass shootings between 2009-2013, both fatal and not, by a significant margin (3), then the saving of lives should be of utmost important. Point number 3 is specific to mass shootings. When high-capacity magazines were used in mass shootings, the death rate rose 63% and the injury rate rose 156% (4), showing that although handguns can cause injury, the statistics to not support this.

3.A Ban would be unenforcable

Gun bans have taken place in other countries and have been enforceable in those countries (Japan, Australia, UK as examples). There has been no rebellion, and no armed conflict. There may well be an illegal trade in guns, however the fact than an illegal trade may grow, does not prevent the idea itself being good. Human trafficking was banned, and became an illegal trade, but that doesn't mean we, as humans, should ignore it.

With these in mind, we need to consider what the banning of assault rifles would mean, and what these weapons truly represent:

1) It is factually clear that more gun control laws would reduce gun deaths.

There were 464,033 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2013: 270,237 suicides (58.2% of total deaths); 174,773 homicides (37.7%); and 9,983 unintentional deaths (2.2%). Guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (66.6% of all homicides) and by suicide (52.2% of all suicides). Firearms represent 1.3% of total deaths! (5) This puts them ahead of liver disease, hypertension, and Parkinson"s disease, as well as deaths from fires, drowning, and machinery accidents.

2) If less guns are around, they will be used less.

The FBI found that in 2013 arguments (such as romantic triangles, brawls fueled by alcohol or drugs, and arguments over money) resulted in 1,962 gun deaths (59.9% of the total). (6) A June 1985 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that "the weapons used [in altercations]" were those closest at hand." (7). With these considered together, there would be a significant reduction in gun use in these situations, and the associated mortality rate.

3) The "loss" of guns is easily outweighed by the gains of a ban.

Although gun owners may be upset or angry at the loss of of their guns, this does not in my opinion equal the potential loss of life that could be averted. If there are gun owners who are willing to instigate a violent conflict on the basis of disagreeing with a legitimately passed law, then I would submit that as evidence that they are not people to be given guns in the first place.

1) https://www.fbi.gov...
2) Ingraham, Christopher (2015-10-05). "There are now more guns than people in the United States". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.
3) http://archive.is...
4) Everytown for Gun Safety, "Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings," www.everytown.org, July 2014
5) CDC, "Data
Debate Round No. 2
Shrekoning

Con

My Counter-Arguments to the points you raised:

Yes, the ban in New York was poorly crafted by morons who did not bother to study what they were banning. There are many in New York who just go on as if the ban doesn't exist. They quietlly deicded not to register the firearm, and illegaly trade it amongst themselves.

There are detrimental effects to banning the AR-15. It would create MORE of a black market. There is already a black market for guns in the USA, despite them being fairly easy to obtain. This is how most repeat offenders and the like get their weapons. Either through straw purchases or a corrupt legal gun dealer. I do not argue against large amounts of regulation, I aruge against outright bans.

The crazy NRA gents have every right to rebel over a ban. Like it or not, the constitution does have the second amendment. the NRA loons actually have a valid argument here. The 2nd amendment does not say the Government has the power to regulate, it only specifies citizens have the right to own and it shall not be infringed. You could make the argument that bans and other such methods are infringements.

My arguments are as follows:

1.Banning things in general is a bad idea
Have we not learned the lesson in banning a popular commodity? Prohibtion and the current drugs wars are a failure and have not had much success. A gun ban (or prohibition) would not be any more effective in my opinon. Why would you alienate a large community of people who say, "You're right, we need way more regulation over how guns are distrubted, and who owns them". Many gun owners do not oppose regulation, they oppose outright bans.

2.Blame the man, not the tool
If somebody is gonna kill somebody, they are gonna do it regardless if guns are banned. They will either still get their hands on one due to the huge black market that now exists for them due to the ban, or use a knife or something else. The vast majority of gun owners are not murderers.

3. Gun take lives, but also save them
Guns do save lives. It takes the police minutes to respond to your 911 call. A few minutes is a long time when your life is in danger. The police can't unrape you. The average man is physically stronger and able to overpower the average woman. Many women could have defended themselves if they had a firearm or other tool for self defense. There are stories of people robbing gas stations and the like, and the man takes out his legally carried handgun, and either runs off the criminal or shoots him. There was a recent story about a man saving a clerks life. Some crazy came in with an axe and attempted to murder everyone. The clerk only suffered a gash, and the legal gun owner shot the crazy axe man.

4. Criminals don't follow laws
Honestly, do you think urban gangs are going to suddenly stop being barbaric murderers because their favorite tool is banned? They may not get them through straw purchases anymore, but there is still a black market for them to get them. And if not guns, they will most likely switch to knives or something else. I have been told that is what UK thugs did.

5.Gun owners aren't to blame
The average Gun Owner is not to blame for gun deaths or crime. When some idiot is texting and driving, then crashes and kills a bunch of people, we don't blame the car. We blame the person for their stupid decision which got people killed. Why do we blame the tool when it comes to weaponry? The weapon cannot kill on its own. It requires a man to pull the trigger. Blame the killer, not the tool. I do not argue against that some gun owners murder. Most don't though. If you want to actually save lives, crack down on straw purchases and illegal firearms traders. An outright ban won't accomplish your goal.

I would like to see the pro sit down with a victim of an attempted violent crime. Perhaps a victim of attempted rape. Now tell them why even though their legal gun ownership allowed them to protect themselves, guns should be banned. You will most likely be laughed at or insulted.

6.Regulation, not bans
Regulation will be incredibly more effective than outright bans. The most effective thing to do would be to crack down on straw purchases and dealers who sell illegally. We want to save guns too, we just don't think banning our most popular rifle is a good way to go about it. In my opinion, Annual psych evaluations and not allowing those who live with mentally ill to own guns is perfectly reasonable. Honestly though, I think everyone should have mental health checkups and such. We go for checkups to the doctor to make sure nothing is physically wrong with us, why don't we do this for mental health? Obviously anyone who would shoot up a school has something wrong with them mentally. We need to improve our mental health in the US. It would play a part in reducing ALL forms of violence. It is not the sole issue though.

Here is how I would do gun control:
Have different licenses for different purposes.
1. Target Shooting: Would allow you to own .22 caliber long guns for the purpose of target shooting.
2. Hunting: Would allow you to own bolt action, specifically designed for hunting, rifles and other firearms.
3. Restricted Weapons: Would allow you to own things like the AR-15. Each gun would have a tax stamp to it, making the weapons costly. This would reduce cases of people hoarding them and everything.
4. Self Defense: Allow someone to conceal carry a handgun. Must take a course in self defense with a firearm. Course would teach you what to do if you have to defend yourself, and what to do after you have defended yourself, such as calling police and such.

Gun makers should have to have a list of what stores and such they sell weaponry to. Dealers should also have to have a list of guns they have and what they sell/don't sell. This ensures that if a dealer doesn't list a weapon and sells it illegally, the gun company would have a list, and you could cross-examine. People found guility of straw purchases, or illegally trading weapons should have harsh prison sentences.

Police often are minutes away. A lot can happen in a few minutes. The police excel at catching people, AFTER they hurt someone.

I would require licenses to be granted only after a safety course in firearms, and require annual psych evaluations. I would also require 2 character recommendations and a signature of approval from 2 different mental health professionals.
I am curious to see if the pro would personally agree with what I listed above.
Psykaze

Pro

Thank you for your response.

1) 2nd Amendment

"The crazy NRA gents have every right to rebel over a ban. Like it or not, the constitution does have the second amendment.". I was hoping you would mention this, as the second amendment is a key element in this debate. There are 2 key elements that we must explore about this, which I believe to be clear support for my previously raise points. First, the 2nd amendment is exactly that, an amendment. Amendments are additions to the constitution, and does not mean that they cannot be changed, as demonstrated by the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which was repealed the Eighteenth Amendment (which had mandated nationwide prohibition on alcohol). The second, and most important fact about the 2nd amendment is what is actually says -

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The part often overlooked is that this speaks of "a well regulated militia", which is not the same as "Crazy NRA gents".

2.Blame the man, not the tool

If someone wants to kill someone, but does not have the tools to, then there are far more places that things can go wrong. I would submit that it is easier to defend yourself from a knife than a gun.
We can agree that most gun owners are not murderers, true. However, we regulate everything from prescription drugs to pornography to try and protect people from themselves. Being human and being sensible with dangerous things, aren"t necessarily the same thing. If they were, we wouldn"t have had the San Ysidro McDonald"s massacre in 1984, the post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, two years later, the 35 at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, in 1989, the 20 that same year at Standard Gravure, the 50 at Luby"s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, in 1991, the 14 at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, the year after that. The list goes on.

3. Gun take lives, but also save them

Guns kept in the home are more likely to be involved in a fatal or nonfatal unintentional shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense. (1) That is, a gun is more likely to be used to kill or injure an innocent person in the home than a threatening intruder. Though guns may be successfully used in self-defense even when they are not fired, the evidence shows that their presence in the home makes a person more vulnerable, not less. Instead of keeping owners safer from harm, objective studies confirm that firearms in the home place owners and their families at greater risk. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that living in a home where guns are kept increased an individual"s risk of death by homicide by between 40 and 170%. (2) Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology similarly found that "persons with guns in the home were at greater risk of dying from a homicide in the home than those without guns in the home." This study determined that the presence of guns in the home increased an individual"s risk of death by homicide by 90%. (3). In short, the amount of lives that are said to have been saved is negligible if you put guns in the hands of private citizens.

4. Criminals don't follow laws

Criminals don"t follow laws, but less guns in circulation mean less access in total. UK criminals did move to knives, but I submit it is far harder to have a mass stabbing than a mass shooting.

5.Gun owners aren't to blame

I"ll mention this point, but only to say I don"t think this is about blame of anyone, and I don"t think that gun owners are bad as a group. There are bigger issues than blame, and this is about societal protection.

Also, "I would like to see the pro sit down with a victim of an attempted violent crime. Perhaps a victim of attempted rape. Now tell them why even though their legal gun ownership allowed them to protect themselves, guns should be banned. You will most likely be laughed at or insulted" - Equally, I would like to see Con sit down with any of the hundreds of parents from a mass shooting, the innocent bystanders caught in cross fire, the people who were victims of armed robbery, car jackings, gun point rapes or anyone who has lost someone from a stolen legally owned gun and say that guns should still be in circulation because "gun owners like guns".

6.Regulation, not bans

According to a Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those inmates who possessed a handgun, 9% had acquired it through theft, and 28% had acquired it through an illegal market such as a drug dealer or fence. (4). This would imply that regulation still wouldn"t solve the issue as a minimal 1 in 5 of those illegal guns were legal guns previously, and potentially a lot more.

I understand that con has laid out some fairly comprehensive ideas on regulation, and mental health is an area where far more work needs to be done. My point remains that more guns mean more gun related violence (5) America is the most heavily armed country in the world, with the highest number of gun-related homicides among developed nations and some of the most relaxed gun laws (6)

7) Gun ownerships cannot be considered in a vacuum.

A debate on guns must include the complicating socioeconomic, cultural and psychological factors affecting violent crime. I am not able to categorically say whether there is a culture in the US that is more susceptible to violence, or whether the prevalence of guns creates a more violent culture. However, it is clear that America has a gun based violence which does not exist elsewhere in the same measure (6). Adding weapons which are able to kill at distance, in high volumes, with minimal training to that mix simply does not make sense. I would submit that if Con were to look at a civilisation with no guns, and with the current levels of wealth distribution, prejudice, violent crime etc seen in the US, whether he would genuinely think that adding assault rifles to that mix was sensible. On this point I simply feel that, as a species, we have reached a stage where we are able to understand risks far better and have outgrown the need for private gun ownership.

1) Arthur L. Kellerman et al., Injuries and Deaths Due to Firearms in the Home, 45 J. Trauma 263, 263, 266 (1998).
2) Garen J. Wintemute, Guns, Fear, the Constitution, and the Public"s Health, 358 New England J. Med. 1421-1424 (Apr. 2008).
3) Linda L. Dahlberg et al., Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study, 160 Am. J. Epidemiology 929, 935 (2004).
4) http://www.bjs.gov...
5) http://rechten.uvt.nl...
6) Walsh, Brian. "Arms Race." Time. Jan. 14, 2013.
Debate Round No. 3
Shrekoning

Con

Shrekoning forfeited this round.
Psykaze

Pro

Psykaze forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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