The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted by the United States?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 907 times Debate No: 87300
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Gun control is currently a hot topic in the United States and has appeared in nearly ever political debate in the 2016 election. I am curious to discover the views of others on this topic.
Round One: Acceptance Only, No Arguments
Round Two: Opening Arguments, No Rebuttals
Round Three: Second Arguments, Rebuttals
Round Four: No New Arguments, Rebuttals, Closing Remarks

If you wish to accept, I would like a serious debate, please no trolling, no offensive language/name calling. Keep it professional.

If you accept this debate you are agreeing to the above terms and format, and I look forward to exploring this topic with you.


I accept Pro's challenge, and I look forward to the debate!
Debate Round No. 1


To start off talking about this issue, I would like to point out a few major points in my argument. First, I would like to mention that by "Stricter Gun Laws" I simply mean to place more background checks into effect, and make the purchase of firearms harder for the average citizen.

A background check is defined by "The act of reviewing both confidential and public information to investigate a person or entity's history." [1] Now as many of you that are employed know, background checks happen all the time, and if you have ever turned an application in to any sort of business, you can guarantee that a background check has taken place. The brief explanation of a background check is as follows. "Once you have decided to purchase a gun from a retail outlet -- it could be a local gun shop or national chain such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas or Walmart -- the store enters your name and information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, via a toll-free number or the Internet, to check the eligibility of the buyer. The check usually takes a few minutes to complete." [2] The fact that this only takes a few short minutes shows how overlooked these checks can be. In fact, members from both political parties have been pushing in recent years to enforce stronger background check laws. [2]

When talking about gun regulation and gun control, people also tend to forget that we already have firearms and gun control legislation in place. In fact, there are already weapons that are completely banned for a private owner, such as Class V weapons, which include "Class 5: Flame gun, grenade rifle and mini-missile launcher." [3] No one really notices the absence of these weapons, and we as citizens are probably more grateful for it.

I would also like to bring up the effect of gun violence in the United States. By increasing Gun Control legislation, we will greatly cut down on the number of gun violent crimes committed in the US. Only 2 months into 2016, and there have already been 27 shootings categorized as "mass gun violence" in America. [4] In 2015, by the 274th day of the year, there had been 294 mass shootings, documented by The Washington Post, and a map provided by PBS shows the locations and death count of the mass shootings.[5][6]

Whether or not you believe guns should be all out banned, or simply believe that we need stricter gun control laws, there is no doubt that there is a problem with gun violence in the United States. The best way to try and curb this problem isn't by sitting around and hoping the problem will go away. It is time for someone to take action, and it is time for people to wake up to the reality that we all live in. Gun Control Laws must have more regulations.



I thank my opponent for his opening argument, and will now move on to my opening argument.
First off, I would like to say that I actually have no issue with criminal background checks. I agree with the majority of the Supreme Court that bearing arms very much is an individual right. However, if one makes the choice to commit a violent crime and violate the rights of others in the process, then he forfeits some of his rights, namely, the right to keep and bear arms. Thus criminal background checks are acceptable. As long as due process is given to the accused, and he is found guilty of a crime, some of his rights are forfeit. What I take issue with are any kind of sweeping ban on any specific class of individual weapon, licensing schemes, or a complete ban on possession of firearms by an individual without due process.

Now that clarification is out of the way, I will move on to contentions.

First and foremost, we can see, through the numerous reputable studies done on the subject that bans on specific classes of weapons are ineffective. So-called "assault weapons" are a case in point. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, hereafter simply referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), was completely ineffective at decreasing violent crime. Part of the issue is that "the big, scary military assault rifles" are not the guns used to commit the majority of crimes in America: Little handguns are. In addition, the ban covered only certain features of the rifles in question, such as barrel shrouds, pistol grips, and flash suppressors, that do not actually add to the lethality of the rifle. Essentially, the sponsors of the ban were trying to solve a non-issue. As previously stated, handguns are used in crimes far more than other, more controversial weapons.

A licensing requirement for firearms is blatantly and totally unconstitutional. Like it or not, the Supreme Court has declared that firearm ownership is an individual right. Requiring a license to own firearms is basically asking the government for permission to exercise a right. The Bill of Rights of the US Constitution is a list of negative rights; that is, it does not BESTOW rights on the people but rather prevents the government from restricting, without due process, those rights. The Bill of Rights says that solely on the basis of being a human you have certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away unless you forfeit them. This is in contrast to positive rights, which are given by law and thus can be taken away by law. For the same reason that one does not need a license to speak freely or worship whomever one chooses, one does not need a license to own a weapon. However, on top of that, licensing requirements really just don't do anything to stop crime. In Canada, for example, a country with relatively strict gun laws, legislation requiring licensing of every gun owner has left crime rate virtually unchanged, and created a needless hassle for those seeking to buy firearms for peaceful purposes.

Finally, we come to laws prohibiting certain classes of individuals from purchasing or using firearms. Although the prohibition on possession of weapons by those with significant criminal history is acceptable, there is another class of people stigmatized by anti-gun activists and scapegoated by pro-gun activists alike. Those are people with mental health diagnoses. If one was to prohibit everyone with a mental health diagnosis from purchasing a gun, that would possibly equate to half the population of the US. In addition, it would require a violation of HIPAA guidelines to force doctors to report these diagnoses to NICS. Although superficially true that some mass-shooters have been diagnosed with forms of autism, statistically speaking even autistics as a whole are no more likely to be violent than the general population and may even be less so. Completely prohibiting a general class of people from owning firearms because of a label on their medical record is unfair and ineffective. In order for someone to lose their rights, they as an INDIVIDUAL should have to be declared by a legal body as too dangerous to own weapons. There MUST be due process.

Thank you for hearing my opening arguments and I look forward to hearing your response.
Debate Round No. 2


I will start off by thanking my opponent by continuing in this argument, and am very excited to see where the voters take this debate.

I will start off with my rebuttals. My opponent argues that gun control bans do not work. I would like to point out however that when implemented correctly, gun control bans DO in fact work. If you take a look at one of the most popular examples, Australia has enacted a complete gun ban on semi-automatic rifles and automatic weapons as well as shotguns, and implemented a buy back program for their rifles. [1] Since Australia has restricted the use of these weapons completely, the country has seen an unprecedented decline in ALL firearm violent crimes. [2]

My opponent also states that having a licensing requirement for firearms is unconstitutional. But I ask him why? He explains that due to the constitutional right, it is not Constitutional to require weapon licenses. This is completely up to interpretation, as all rights are up to interpretation under the Constitution. When written, it was never declared that semi-auto rifles were allowed/not allowed for private ownership, simply because they did not exist. It is time to revise the second amendment, as it can only do to protect the people. I go back to bring up Australia, who has not had a mass shooting since 1996. That is 20 years without any event such as Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, Columbine, or Santa Monica College. And those listed are only some of the most well known. [3][4]

I would like to remind the voters that this debate is not about the complete ban of weapons, but instead, the introduction of more strict control legislation. I have not stated in my opening round as Con claims that we should ban any sort of weapon, simply institute new weapon regulations.

Based on the info given in my first argument, I still stand by the argument that these semi-automatic rifles are dangerous to society, and that they allow for those to have easy access to machines of immense killing power. I am not naive enough to say that by instituting more strict regulations, we will rid ourselves of violent crimes all together, but it will certainly be a first stepping stone by limiting those who have access to those weapons.

I urge the voters to see the necessity in cutting down on this violence in some way. Again I state, not by ending private ownership of weapons, but by enforcing harsher regulations. We as a nation have waited far too long to finally take a step forward in this area. The time has come to do something about gun violence, instead of idling by and twiddling our thumbs. I urge you for a safer community, to vote Pro in this debate.



I thank my opponent for his response and interesting points. Firstly, I will attempt to rebut some of his points.
First, my opponent states that, "I would like to point out however that when implemented correctly, gun control bans DO in fact work." He then brings up the example of Australia in a graph. Australia, however, is notably different in culture to America and thus an identical law is highly unlikely to have an identical effect. Notably, America has a very strong gun culture, much more so than Australia ever has, even before the ban. In addition, the graph my opponent shows in his chart is highly misleading. The truth of the matter is that homicide in Australia had been on a steady decrease since long before the Port Arthur Massacre and the following gun bans. Even if one was only to look at statistics after the ban, the drop in homicide rate has not been "unprecedented" as my opponent would have you believe, according to his own graph.
Even the study conducted immediately after the laws took effect in Australia found that, although it may have had some impact, the correlation was "weak." Other studies' results have differed and stated that the correlation between Australia's drop in crime rate and the gun ban was simply nonexistent. According to Don Weatherburn, the head of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, "The fact is that the introduction of those laws did not result in any acceleration of the downward trend in gun homicide. They may have reduced the risk of mass shootings but we cannot be sure because no one has done the rigorous statistical work required to verify this possibility. It is always unpleasant to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with your own point of view. But I thought that was what distinguished science from popular prejudice."
Secondly, he brings up the issue of differing interpretations of the Constitution. The fact of the matter is that, by the process of judicial review, the Supreme Court acts as the final interpreter of the Constitution. And since the cases of DC v Heller and MacDonald v Chicago, that body has determined that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. Like it or not, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees this right. If one does not like what the Constitution says, there exists a process for amending it. Also, my opponent has failed to demonstrate accurate knowledge of firearm history. He brings up why I refer to as the "Dusty Old Document" argument. He basically claims that the founding fathers were incapable of foreseeing any advances in technology that the Bill of Rights would relate to. While actually untrue from a historical perspective, given that such weapons as the Puckle Gun did exist at the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights, let us assume for a moment that the Bill of Rights applies only to things existing in the 18th century. By that logic, Internet speech is not protected by the First Amendment, and neither is the Mormon Church, since both Joseph Smith and the Internet came about after the writing of the Bill of Rights. If you want to revise the Second Amendment, there exists a process to do so.
My opponent then claims that he is not wishing to outright ban any sort of weapon for private ownership. However, his opening rebuttal hails the "effective" gun BANS of Australia: "If you take a look at one of the most popular examples, Australia has enacted a complete gun BAN on semi-automatic rifles and automatic weapons as well as shotguns, and implemented a buy back program for their rifles." (Emphasis mine.) For clarification purposes, I would like to ask my opponent what exactly he means by "more strict legislation."
Finally, my opponent says he "Still stand[s] by the argument that these semi-automatic rifles are dangerous to society, and that they allow for those to have easy access to machines of immense killing power." As the proud owner of an FN SCAR 17s, I will dispute this on technical grounds. My SCAR, despite looking like a weapon the military would use, is NOT a military weapon. I use it primarily for target shooting. A fully automatic rifle would be highly ineffective at this. As a .308 caliber semi-automatic rifle, it is no more deadly than an old M1A Springfield WWII carbine-turned-hunting rifle, and yet it is illegal in some states. The reason I prefer the SCAR to the M1A despite the latter being much less expensive is the simple fact of the SCAR's ergonomics: Basically, it's very comfortable to shoot compared to the older models of .308. The pistol grip is more comfortable than a stock alone. The barrel shroud keeps my hands cool as I fire. The folding stock can be conveniently adjusted for different body sizes. This rifle is designed for sporting and hunting, not war. The advantage of a so-called "assault weapon" lies in its versatility. The common, inexpensive .223 and .308 ammunition is excellent for home defense, hunting both big and larger small game, and target shooting. Instead of having to spend money on a rifle for big game, a shotgun for small game, and a pistol for defense, I can purchase a single weapon that will accomplish all of the above. They may not be the best at anything, but assault rifles are good at just about everything. To say that my SCAR possesses any more "immense killing power" than any other semi-automatic rifle is simply wrong. Mass shooters prefer these weapons because of the "fear factor" involved, not because they would be more or less effective than using a hunting rifle. They are, truthfully, no more"dangerous to society" than any other semi-automatic rifle, despite what my opponent claims.
There are far more effective ways of cutting down on violence of all types, not just gun violence. For example, eliminating the crushing poverty in cities where most of this violence is occurring, such as Chicago and Detroit, will be far more effective at solving this issue. The FBI maintains a list of factors that influence crime rates, and the strictness of gun laws is not on that list. Improving our broken mental health system is a priority as well. Although this may not reduce the common single-victim murders, it would definitely have an impact on high-profile mass shootings. I offer these as a counterplan to helping resolve the issue of gun violence in America. For TRULY safer communities, and not just an illusion of safety, I encourage a vote in negation of the topic.

I look forward to hearing my opponent's response. (See Note 57)
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you Con, for your quick response to this debate, and I am very excited to have spoken about this topic with you, as I feel it a fairly even argument on both sides.

As the rules state, I will not be adding any new arguments, simply rebutting those that my opponent has made in this last round. My opponent states that owning a semi-automatic SCAR 17s is not a danger to society. While I do not think he, as a person would ever use this weapon to harm another human, that fact still stands that these weapons are relatively easy to acquire. I am not wishing to take weapons from those who have no bad intentions, the issue is to simply limit the access to or make it harder for citizens to acquire them. As long as the person trying to acquire said weapon has no reason to be denied, it should not be a huge issue.

My opponent also states that we have other problems to help fix violence, but does not provide solutions to those issues. When faced with a blatant issue such as gun violence, it makes sense to eliminate the potential, rather than clean up the mess.

Con, thank you again for your time in this debate. I had a great time talking this topic with you, and may the best debater win.


I thank my opponent for his quick response and interesting rebuttals. As per the rules, I will not put forth any new arguments in this concluding speech. I will, however, attempt to further rebut my opponent's points.

While my opponent would have you believe that his proposal contains no intentions of outright bans on any weapons, his opening speech contradicts that as previously stated. As I already mentioned, he uses Australia's BAN on most semi-automatic weapons as an example. This is, obviously, a major contradiction.
Tying into that, my opponent , throughout this debate, has never been particularly clear about what exactly his "stricter regulations" would entail. "Generally making it harder for private citizens to purchase firearms" is not a specific policy proposal. He has expressed support for criminal background checks, but beyond that has been extremely unclear about what regulations ought to be passed.

Finally, my opponent has failed to understand my meaning when I brought up the real factors behind gun violence. I mentioned the crushing poverty of the inner cities and our nation's broken mental health system. I was merely trying to show that America's love of firearms is not at the root of the violence problem, and taking away that right will do nothing to solve it. I was not attempting to propose sweeping policy changes in those areas, which falls completely out of the scope of this debate. Rather, I was trying to draw attention to the REAL problem, rather than making guns a scapegoat as my opponent would try to do.
For these reasons, I urge a vote in strong negation of the debate topic.
Thank you to my opponent for such an interesting debate. I look forward to seeing where the voters take this.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by JaanVahl 7 months ago
If your dog urinates on your carpet, do you remove the carpet or teach your dog not to urinate on one? If you wish to prevent your dog from urinating on your carpet beforehand, you must teach it not to. Also, it is important to note that the Pro side mentioned that introducing gun-laws resulted in the drop of gun related crimes. Did Pro consider the relative rise in crimes related to weapons that are not firearms? If a human being has no weapons at his or her disposal whatsoever, but is filled with the mindset to end someones life, they will still attempt to do it bare-handed. If a person is allowed to have a pistol and a hammer, and pistol crimes are rampant, you will want to ban a person from owning a pistol. From that point on, pistols will become profitable black market commodities, resulting to a rise in organized crime, and forcing petty criminals and murderers to use hammers instead. Just look at what the prohibition period did to alcohol and organized crime.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Putt-Putt 7 months ago
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 Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Although the overall debate was very well conducted by both members, I felt Pro had the most reliable sources which led to the best arguments. I saw Con had a source from Wikipedia, which isn't exactly considered reliable. Good job on the both of you.