The Instigator
subdeo
Con (against)
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The Contender
6gty5jf
Pro (for)
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Should Guns be Banned?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 490 times Debate No: 101357
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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subdeo

Con

Hello! I am looking forward to a good debate with you. This is intended to be a fairly short debate. I hold that guns are an important right of the people. First round is acceptance only. Second round is only for arguments, and the last two rounds are for arguments and rebuttals. Good luck, opponent! My last two opponents on this debate forfeited. If you accept this debate challenge, you need to stay dedicated.
6gty5jf

Pro

I accept the terms of your debate.
Debate Round No. 1
subdeo

Con

Hello! I am looking forward to an enlightening discussion for both of us, and thank you for accepting.

The primary reason I believe Guns should be allowed to be owned by the average citizen is because guns in the hands of citizens help to stop crime. According to The Washington Post, "Many mass shootings happen in supposedly "gun-free" zones (such as schools, universities, bars, or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn"t allowed in many states." [1] So, the areas that could be called "laboratories" for life without publicly owned guns actually have many shootings themselves. Obviously, something isn't working. Why? It is because the criminals who break the laws by shooting people will not think twice to break just one more law by bringing a gun in a "gun free zone". If these types of gun control laws are instituted, the only people with guns will be the criminals: a frightening thought.

However, if the people have guns, they can stop shootings and robberies. In some cases, even better that police who are not everywhere at once. According to The Daily Caller, "Gun carrying, private citizens who used firearms to stop criminal attacks saved at least 283 potential victims in a period between July 2014 and July 2015... In September of 2014, an 11-year-old Oklahoma girl awoke around 4 a.m. to find that a man had broken into her home and stabbed her mother. The girl grabbed a handgun and shot the man twice, saving her mother"s life. The mother said she had just taught the daughter how to use the gun for self defense the week before." [2] These kinds of facts cannot be ignored. I look forward to reading your arguments.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com...

[2] http://dailycaller.com...
6gty5jf

Pro

1) Benefits of Gun Ownership

I will begin by outlining the benefits of gun ownership. There are only two benefits commonly associated with gun ownership: recreation and self-defense. Recreation will refer to any activity involving gun-use with the primary purpose of entertainment. Self-defense will refer to using a gun to defend oneself, family, or property from an unlawful assailant.

Recreation is not a serious argument for the continued allowance of guns. It is absurd to think that something should be permitted just because there exists a party that takes satisfaction from its use. If we were to assume that the mere enjoyment of something merited its licitness, we would have to allow anything that could possibly be enjoyed. I feel examples are not necessary to demonstrate such a simple point. After all, if that were the case, then we would have to allow activities such as murder and rape.

This leaves us with self-defense. Already you can see that the legitimate defenses of gun-ownership are quite limited; it's really just the one point. However, this point does not exist in a vacuum, and we must weigh its utility against the data.

2) Detriments of Gun Ownership

So, let's compare: According to FBI statistics for the year 2014, 90 criminals were killed justifiably by a gun-wielding private citizen{1}. Comparatively, 2,443 homicides were committed by firearms the same year{2}. (It is worth noting in these figures that the number of gun related homicides is more than 1.5x greater than all other types of homicide combined) This data displays the ratio of private citizens defending life and liberty with firearms to criminals using them exclusively for homicide to be approximately 1:27. While I find this statistic by itself to be unacceptable, a more comprehensive overview indicates the situation is even worse. The CDC lists total gun fatalities for 2014 as 33,599{3}. This means that the ratio of lethal firearm self-defense cases against all lethal firearm uses is
actually 1:373.

This estimate does include firearm suicides, which some will claim shouldn't be used for this type of comparison, but there is strong evidence that it is, in fact, relevant: "We pooled data from 14 identified observational studies that assessed the odds of suicide and, using a random-effects model, calculated a pooled OR of 3.24 (95% CI, 2.41 to 4.40) with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 89%; `4; = 0.45). All but 1 study found significantly higher odds of suicide among participants who had firearm access than among those who did not, with ORs ranging from 1.38 to 10.38."{4} This study suggests that there is a significant correlation among gun ownership and suicide. This is consistent with other findings that show that suicidies are often impulsive acts, and ease of accessibility to a quick life-ending method can be a major deciding factor in whether or not the impulse is carried out{5}.

Not surprising, then, that studies have discovered some correlation between impulse and aggression{6}. It doesn't take much deduction to see that if ease of access to the proper tool can increase risk of an impulsive activity like suicide, then it may be able to increase risk of an impulsive activity like murder. This would help explain why the U.S has a higher rate of gun and non-gun fatalities than many other developed countries{7},{8}.

3) Conclusion

Given the paucity of benefits that are derived from private arms ownership and the high level of violence associated with it, I believe it's logical to restrict gun access for the general public.

{1} https://ucr.fbi.gov...
{2} https://ucr.fbi.gov...
{3} https://www.cdc.gov...
{4} http://annals.org...
{5} https://msrc.fsu.edu...
{6} http://www.ub.edu...
{7} http://www.cbsnews.com...
{8} http://www.businessinsider.com...
Debate Round No. 2
subdeo

Con

Not only does there exist a gun enjoying party, but it is a large group. According to the national Institute of Justice, "The most common motivation for owning firearms was recreation" about 35 percent of gun owners (15 million people)"hunted in 1994, and about an equal percentage engaged in sport shooting other than hunting". about half (23 million) of the Nation's 44 million gun owners participated in a gun sport during 1994. Of those who owned only handguns in 1994, 40 percent used them recreationally, almost entirely for sport shooting other than hunting." [1]. Of course this is all null if it cannot be shown that guns are not dangerous for other reasons, I just thought I would point this source of revenue out.
Your statistics do provoke some interest and need to be addressed. However, upon closer investigation we find they do not justify banning guns. The only reason so many guns are used in homicides is because they are the obvious weapon of choice. If guns were banned, the "villains" would just use knives, clubs, or gasses to kill. If we ban guns, then the only people who will be able to defend themselves against criminals will be those physically strong enough to fight off a criminal with A) Bare hands, or B) Crude weapons that rely on strength. Right now, even children can be saved and save others against criminals using guns [2].

If the results of the studies you reference are accurate, and there are strong correlations between gun ownership and suicide, this still does not mean guns should be banned. The reason that there is a correlation is because guns are considered the "easiest" way to go about taking one"s life. That is why there is a higher use of these weapons (that, and the fact they are the weapon of choice today, and most plentiful) in suicides. If Guns are banned, suicidal people will just use something else painless, like gasses, and that substance will seem the most convenient, so it will see statistics like those that apply to guns today.

Even before guns, there were suicides and homicides. Even after we ban guns (I hope that day will never come) there will still be suicides and homicides. Banning guns only lets the criminals take advantage of the citizens without the trepidation they feel today with the potential of getting shot. In addition, it causes those who are not strong enough to fight off a criminal with a knife to be victims, when otherwise they could just shoot the villain.

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncjrs.gov...

[2] http://dailycaller.com...
6gty5jf

Pro

I'd like to note that My Opponent's last argument seems to suggest that we are in agreement that recreation is not an acceptable argument for gun legality.

It is claimed by My Opponent that the only reason guns are the most used tool for homicide is that they are the obvious weapon of choice. The implication of this argument is that if guns were banned, the homicide and crime rate would not decrease at all, but rather the crimes previously committed with firearms would simply be committed with various other weapons instead. He has provided no evidence for this claim, and the burden of proof is on him to illustrate the validity of this statement. What is a fact is that guns are the most used homicide weapon in the country.{1}

Furthermore, Pro's argument here is logically inconsistent: he says that if guns were banned that the only people who would be able to defend themselves are those that can fend off criminals with strength; using this same logic, we can infer that the only ones who would be able to commit crimes are those with the physical capacity to impose themselves on others. This fact alone would drop the crime rates, as it would preclude the execution of crime by weaker individuals.

My Opponent has misunderstood the study on the correlation of suicide and firearms I presented; he has mistaken the result of positive correlation as a simple statistic demonstrating firearms as the most probably weapon for suicide. What the study was, in fact, presenting, was that the mere act of owning a firearm made it more likely for someone to commit suicide. This was the reason for the paper I sourced concerning the effect of impulse on suicide. It observes a correlation between suicide and accessibility of means i.e. the point made of guns simply being the "easiest" way to kill oneself is exactly what I was trying to convey, as the degree to which firearms trivialize suicide does encourage it.

The first line of Pro's opening argument is, "The primary reason I believe Guns should be allowed to be owned by the average citizen is because guns in the hands of citizens help to stop crime". Despite this, he has not addressed the data I presented on the marginal impact of firearm self-defense cases on overall crime rates. If we were to use his source's statistic of 195 incidences of firearm self-defense, and compare it against general "crimes against personal" statistics,(we will not use gun-only crime statistics, because the 195 count measures all contingencies stopped by a gun-wielding citizen, not only ones where the criminal had a gun) we would find a ratio of 1:5607 crimes stopped by citizens to "crimes against persons" committed overall{2}, a statistic more damning than any I previously offered. Needless to say, if we were to compare to crime overall the outlook would be even bleaker.

I believe with this I have refuted My Opponent's claims about crime rates and suicide, and have demonstrated the negligible impact of gun-wielding citizens on crime rates.

{1} https://ucr.fbi.gov...

{2} https://ucr.fbi.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
subdeo

Con

Yes, I did say that, but it is worth noting if it can be proven guns are not dangerous.

Yes, guns are the most used in the country, but as my previous argument pointed out, the criminals would just use other weapons if guns were banned, or even more likely they would just keep their guns. Do you really think the criminals will one day read in the papers how guns were just outlawed, and one will say to the other, "Well lefty, it looks like we"ll have to call off that bank robbery for next week. This here paper says we got to turn in our guns. Shame! Oh well." Of course not! They will not hesitate to keep their weapons. The fact that there were criminals before guns were invented proves my point.

Perhaps, but it would increase crime done to the weak, which could be a less that preferable circumstance.
The reason your statistic is the case about suicide is because mentally, a gun seems an easier way to go about suicide. If guns are banned, gas will probably take its place.

I"ve said it once and I will say it again: Yes, more lives are taken by guns than are saved. However, the criminals would just use another weapon if guns were banned. Furthermore, the criminals who now give pause before committing a villainous act because they will run the risk of getting shot will now have no hesitation.

Let"s look at the example of the trampoline. Trampolines save zero lives annually. However, According to Livestrong.com, "In calendar year 2006, reports the Consumer Product Safety Review, trampolines caused an estimated 109,522 injuries" About 104,729 of those individuals of all ages who were injured were treated in emergency rooms and released. The rest, an approximately 4,793, were either hospitalized or dead on arrival." [1] However, the benefits to the average person from trampolines are much greater than their detriments. Thus, they should not be banned.

Sources:

[1] http://www.livestrong.com...
6gty5jf

Pro

To conclude, My Opponent has not offered any sort of new argument to refute my claims, instead opting to simply retread his previous argument while continuing to present no evidence of his claims. His argument that criminals wouldn't give up their guns if a law was passed is misleading, and if that same ethos was applied to slavery laws, if the law makers had simply said, "why bother passing anti-slavery laws when some people might continue to own slaves anyways" then we would still have slavery today. The purpose of law is not to prevent criminal activities. In fact it is law that creates crime. The purpose of law is to delineate socially acceptable behavior from criminal activity. If there were no laws, there would be no crime. It is never a good argument to say we shouldn't pass a law because people will break it anyways; that is the entire point of the law, to mark transgressors for punitive measures.

The claim that banning guns would increase crime against the weak is, again, unfounded. The same applies to the idea that gas and other methods would replace all instances of firearm suicides. It is not just naive to make such baseless claims, it is irresponsible, particularly in the face of so many studies that have correlated gun-ownership to suicide{1},{2},{3}.

No data is shown to support the conclusion of private gun carrying citizens being a deterrent to crime.

The assertion that all criminals would simply resort to other weapons is equally spurious, and once again Pro gives no evidence for it, instead repeating it as if making a mantra of it will legitimize the claim.

Indeed this is how Pro has argued much of the debate, on an appeal to emotions and preexisting bias which is not grounded in scientific testimony. He has gone from his argument of, "[guns in the hands of private citizens helps stop crime]" to "[banning guns would perhaps increase crime to the weak]". Neither of these conclusions was ever demonstrated in any tangible manner, and his arguments make many fallacious assumptions, e.g. why is a crime against a weak individual more heinous than a crime against a strong individual? Is it worse to murder a weak old woman than it is to murder an able-bodied man? Why would crime against the weak increase anyways? Would the criminals deter from their desired targets to instead kill a weaker individual whom they have no quarrel with? These are all questions that beg an answer, but My Opponent has provided none.

As a final point about the trampoline argument, I don't think I need to tell my audience that a gun and a trampoline are fundamentally different objects. A gun is, first and foremost, a weapon, and it is designed to harm other individuals. A trampoline is not a weapon, and most likely never has been used as one. Furthermore, while there does seem to be a large number of injuries related to trampolines, according to one statistic there were only 11 trampoline-related deaths between 1990 and 1990{4}, making trampolines far less fatal than guns.

In the end I don't believe that My Opponent ever satisfactorily substantiated his claims or refuted mine.

{1} http://www.foxnews.com...
{2} https://www.hsph.harvard.edu...
{3} http://www.slate.com...
{4} http://www.fscip.org...
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by subdeo 9 months ago
subdeo
Are you going to post your acceptance round?
No votes have been placed for this debate.