Should civilians not be allowed to own firearms?
Debate Rounds (4)
Rules: No profanity, sexually-explicit language, violent threats, or trolling.
I await someone who will accept this challenge.
By C.E. Turner jr.
Contention 1. In the United States guns are used more for defense than they are for violent purposes
In the year 2000, there was a survey which revealed that Americans used guns to defend themselves 989, 883 times in a year. Compare this to the roughly 436,000 violent crimes that were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun in 2008.
Contention 2. Things are not as they may seem in countries with strict gun control
Gun Control Advocates often point to Australia as a model to look to in regards to gun control. What they often fail to mention (or realize) is that knives are used increasingly in homicides in Australia.
"The report also shows that knife crime remains prevalent across the country. Almost half of all Australian murder victims in 2011 were killed by a knife and knives also represented 49 per cent of the weapons used in armed robberies."
In fact, Switzerland has a lower intentional rate than Australia.
This is significant because Switzerland has one of the highest guns per capita rate in the world. Even Iceland, a country with no military, has more guns per capita than Australia does.
(Note: Look at the map provided on this last link)
And by the way, the US (the country with the world record for guns per capita) is not even in the top ten list of countries with the highest homicide per capita rates. According to Wikipedia, that "honor" belongs to:
1. Honduras 2. El Salvador 3. Ivory Coast 4. Venezuela 5. Belize 6. Jamaica 7. US Virgin Islands 8. Guatemala 9. Saint Kitts and Nevis 10. Zambia
(Yes, I know I just posted the same links twice in one round)
Also, Sweden, Finland, and Norway ("liberal" countries with low murder rates) also have a lot of guns per people. For proof please see the links provided above.
Contention 3. There are plenty of ways for Criminals to gain access to guns
Criminals sometimes get their guns online illegally
Also, tons of guns are smuggled illegally into Mexico every year.
So if it's that easy to get guns across the border, in the event of guns being outlawed here couldn't criminals here start buying back guns from the well-armed Mexican cartels?
And ultimately, even if guns were outlawed here, even if online gun trafficking was put to a halt, and if our border was made secure, some criminals would still steal firearms from the police, though this is rare.
And finally, some genius would make his own gun, as was the case of the Santa Monica shooter.
Then, there's 3D Printing, which means guns can be built by anyone who has a 3D Printer, the materials needed, and knowledge of how to use that 3D Printer.
Contention 4. It would be extremely difficult to confiscate the hundreds of millions of civilian owned guns.
"The best estimates of how many guns are available to the civilian population are between 262 million and 310 million."
Contention 5. Historically, dictatorships have prevented their populaces from having guns.
Under the 1938 German Weapons Act, Jews were prohibited from possessing firearms. In 1911, the Armenians had their firearms seized. Note that a few years later there was the Armenian Genocide.
Also, civilians don't have guns in North Korea.
Conclusion: It is next to impossible to prevent criminals from gaining access to guns, countries with high guns per capita rates are not necessarily more violent, and dictators have used strict gun control measures as a measure to help secure tyranny or even genocide.
P.S. I apologize if my arguments have been weak.
My opponent argues that even with outlawed guns, criminals could get guns illegally online or smuggled. I agree that it is true that the law cannot be perfectly enforced. But when legitimate businesses cannot sell guns and only underground people can it will be harder to get guns and there will be fewer of them. When we are enforcing gun laws many shipments of guns will be seized and create risk for those providing them making guns more expensive.
For example, now that pot is legalized in Washington we can expect to see a lot more of it and more users since it will be mass produced by companies. If guns are criminalized, we will see less of them. So where is my proof? One piece of evidence is a fact my opponent cited which is that in Europe and Australia a very high proportion of killings from knives relative to guns. This means that guns are not used as much because there are less of them. So gun bans while not perfect are at least effective.
Guns per Person
There are a lot of guns out there and while guns per person for Europe is too high, it is much higher in the US. In the US, it is .89 per person. Switzerland which allows guns comes in second for developed countries at .45 (1).
Gun tough countries have lower gun per person rates such as .3 for Canada, .3 for Germany, .31 for France, and .15 for Australia. Japan bans guns and has .006 (1). Gun bans have been shown to decrease the number of guns and the number of guns in homocide.
Difficulty to Enforce
Obviously this law cannot pass in the US because public opinion is against it so Congress cannot vote for it. However, if public opinion did change, we could start by removing all guns that are registered and banning ammunition. Without ammo, guns don't do much. Whenever guns are found by police, they would be confiscated. We could give people rewards for handing in their guns. This is a slow process but over time, there would be fewer and fewer guns.
Dictators Banned Guns
That is correct. However democratic Western Democracies have also done so for different reasons. If the US did this it would be more like Western Europe rather than Nazi Germany. The Nazis also had swat teams. This doesn't mean swat teams are bad.
Knives replace Guns
My opponent claims that knives are used when guns are banned. However knives are far less effective crime tools. For example you can run from a man with a knife but not so easily from a gun. Also, if criminals have knives instead of guns, they will be a far weaker problem for the police and the police can be more secure even in the Ghetto. This allows police to do their jobs more effectively.
Criminals are less bold when they have knives instead of guns. For example I would feel a lot less safe going into your house or store with only a knife rather than with a gun. Also a knife attack is less likely to kill than a gun attack.
We have found that crime rates are lower in Countries with Gun Control. For example Western Europe has an average murder rate of 1.0 per 100,000. The US is 4.8 almost five times the rate (2). So while a higher percent of murders happen with knives in Europe, fewer murders are happening.
So gun control does several things. It reduces the number of guns. This results in attacks being less dangerous and criminals being less bold because their weapons are less dangerous. They are weaker compared to the police and can be more easily subdued. They present less of a danger to the public with knives instead of guns. Therefore gun control will reduce crime and that is why we see less of it in Europe, Japan and Australia.
Switzerland lower Murder Rate than Australia
My opponent is comparing the rates for a single small region against another. I could respond that Japan has a lower rate than the Swiss or that France has a lower rate than the US. It is better to compare larger regions like comparing the US to Western Europe which I have already done.
US not most Violent
My opponent claims that since the murder rates in poor, undeveloped, unstable countries are (not surprisingly) higher than that in the US therefore we are not that bad. So not being in the top ten worst countries is somehow a vindication? We are still far more violent than Western Europe. Also those top ten nations are more violent because they are poor and unstable. Plus, how many of these countries have gun bans?
I'll admit to the possibility that total disarmament of the population may reduce gun violence. Even so, a civilian somewhere will get his or her hands on a gun, as I've proven in the previous round. And when that person does, with no cops around and no guns in the hands of the innocent civilians, something like this will happen all over again:
And I can assure you that it won't just happen once.
2. Guns per Person
Yes, there are more guns and crime in the US. But by my opponent's logic, since around 90% of households have guns, wouldn't that mean that 20% of all Americans would be dead by now?
3. Difficulty to Enforce
Like guns, ammunition can also be made; all one needs is the proper supplies. Or, it could be stolen or illegally purchased.
As for people handing in their guns, you couldn't pay some criminals enough money to do this. Not to mention it'd basically start a revolt against the Federal Government by Conservatives and even a few Liberals who support the Right to Bear Arms.
4. Dictators Banned Guns
The motives may be different (or are they), but the end result is the same: a disarmed populace. If the Government turns sour (and with the way things are playing out right now, it's fair to say this will eventually happen), there'd be little way for the populace to resist.
5. Knives Replace Guns
I suppose this is true, but either way outlawing guns did not mean that people stopped killing each other. If anything, many of the people killed by knives might've been able to defend themselves had they carried a gun with them.
6. Switzerland and Australia
Perhaps so; I was merely proving a point (that more guns doesn't necessarily equal more crime and less guns doesn't necessarily equal less crime).
7. US Not Most Violent
Technically guns are legal in Honduras, but concealed and open carry are illegal there.
Also, the violence in Honduras is probably due to the nation's poverty, as the average Honduran worker makes $183 dollars a month.
Of course, most countries on this list are dirt poor. Poverty contributes greatly to crime, which is why many African-American males break the law, which is why they make up 40% of the male criminal population.
Gun Violence in Europe
Yes there is gun violence in Europe but there is still less of it than in the US.
Guns protection from Government
The problem with this is that handguns and rifles are of limited effectiveness against a government with jet fighters, drones, and tanks. If you really wanted a populace that could stand up to its government you allow them to have missile launchers, machine guns, and grenades. Is this what my opponent wants? What would something like this do to the crime rate?
If we have a government that is dictatorial it will likely take guns away anyway like Nazi Germany did successfully whether or not there was a gun ban while the nation was democratic. In the case of WWII, guns were smuggled into Germany by the resistance. Also, I could not find one instance where a successful nation that had been democratic for a long period of time turned into a dictatorship. In most of the West guns are banned so where is the tyranny? There are plenty of cases of dictatorships where guns are everywhere.
It just sounds like we are being asked to suffer in a crime-ridden nation just because of the unproven possibility that it might be taken over by a dictatorship. My opponent claimed that a gun ban law would start a revolt. This shows how this can be harmful. Instead of resolving conflicts with laws and elections some would resolve them through violence. An armed populace is more likely to subvert democratic processes when they don't like what is passed. This increases the risk of Civil War.
"But by my opponent's logic, since around 90% of households have guns, wouldn't that mean that 20% of all Americans would be dead by now?"
I never claimed that guns are going to cause an extreme murder rate. In the EU .3 guns per person translates to a 1.0 per 100,000 murder rate while a .89 guns per person in the US translates to a 4.8 per 100,000 murder rate.
"If anything, many of the people killed by knives might've been able to defend themselves had they carried a gun with them."
Well, likely in this scenario the person attacking them would be likely to have a gun and probably knows how to use it better than they do.
As mentioned before, a gun ban would not be perfectly enforced but when public companies cannot make ammo there will be less of it because it will be underground. Also my point about getting a reward for turning in your gun went unrefuted. Another point is that gun bans are in place in many Western European Nations that previously allowed guns and they have reduced the number of guns around. So it is worth a try here.
As said before, the only way a gun ban will happen is when public opinion supports it. So there will be less chance of rebellion. This debate is about whether a gun ban should happen not whether it is possible right now.
"I'll admit to the possibility that total disarmament of the population may reduce gun violence."
My point that it does has gone refuted. Reducing violence is a responsibility of government and will improve our society and save lives.
"Yes there is gun violence in Europe but there is still less of it than in the US."
Yes, this is true; however, what my opponent must realize is that there never were that many civilian-owned guns in most European countries (with some exceptions, such as Switzerland and Serbia). In countries that have never had a strong gun culture it'd be quite easy to remove all the guns.
This is not the case in the US.
There are countless unregistered guns in the US (a certain person I know owns at least one unregistered firearm).
How can the government keep track of them all? We can't even keep illegal Mexican immigrants from sneaking into the country. That we'd be able to enforce such measures is absurd.
Take the Aurora Shooting, for example. James Holmes had a gun, but nobody else in that theater did, since it was a gun-free zone.
Granted, he may have gotten his gun through legal means which wouldn't have happened had guns been illegal, but then again he still could've gotten a gun through illegal means had guns been banned.
"The problem with this is that handguns and rifles are of limited effectiveness against a government with jet fighters, drones, and tanks. If you really wanted a populace that could stand up to its government you allow them to have missile launchers, machine guns, and grenades. Is this what my opponent wants? What would something like this do to the crime rate?"
That;s what asymmetrical warfare is for. The Viet Cong won against the US Army even when they were outmatched and outgunned.
"If we have a government that is dictatorial it will likely take guns away anyway like Nazi Germany did successfully whether or not there was a gun ban while the nation was democratic. In the case of WWII, guns were smuggled into Germany by the resistance. Also, I could not find one instance where a successful nation that had been democratic for a long period of time turned into a dictatorship. In most of the West guns are banned so where is the tyranny? There are plenty of cases of dictatorships where guns are everywhere."
But the population would be more willing to take that final step (giving up guns entirely) if they had already taken the other steps in gun reduction.
Allow me to enlighten you on what's been going on in Europe:
In Europe a man drew this in a newspaper:
Thankfully, he was not arrested for this. But because his laws were in violation of Europe's many hate speech laws, there was actually an investigation against him just because he drew an offensive cartoon in a newspaper.
Also, read this:
The decline is slow due to Europe's tradition of freedom, but it's happening.
And of course, there's the sorry state of freedom in the US.
"Well, likely in this scenario the person attacking them would be likely to have a gun and probably knows how to use it better than they do."
Why is this?
"As mentioned before, a gun ban would not be perfectly enforced but when public companies cannot make ammo there will be less of it because it will be underground. Also my point about getting a reward for turning in your gun went unrefuted. Another point is that gun bans are in place in many Western European Nations that previously allowed guns and they have reduced the number of guns around. So it is worth a try here."
Actually, I think I did respond to your point on gun buybacks; I wouldn't give up mine if I were a criminal, no matter how much money I was offered.
"My point that it does has gone refuted. Reducing violence is a responsibility of government and will improve our society and save lives."
As I said, I admitted to the POSSIBILITY, meaning that it's not necessarily true. Perhaps there'd be less criminal acts involving guns, but when they do happen they'd be much worse. Need I mention Anders Behring Breivik and what he did? Also, more criminals would resort to using other weapons.
Europe doesn't have much of a gun culture but it still has about 30 guns per 100 people most of those unregistered. Yet it still manages to maintain a gun ban. While we can't keep all the drugs from coming in from Mexico we do keep a lot out. It is a lot harder and more expensive to get drugs since they are illegal. The same would go for guns.
Gun Free Zones
My opponent's theory is that if guns are everywhere then there would not be much gun violence because once a criminal pulled out a gun, everyone else would draw on him. While this is true, there are side ramifications. In the scenario that everyone is carrying a gun, call it the wild west scenario, we are not all in an open pool where everyone can see each other.
There are alleyways and places where only a few people are around. In these scenarios, there may not be so many people around with a gun who can be the good guys. Also, the bad guys may come around in packs and the good guys may be afraid to draw on them. There will also be many people afraid to get into a gun fight or shoot another person.
Because of these exceptions, there will be more gun violence because there are more guns out in the open and so more opportunities for something to go wrong. I have already shown that more guns means more gun violence and more murder in general.
This kind of warfare works mostly on governments that try to be ethical. The best methods against this kind of warfare is to slaughter men, women, and children in the region whenever a guerrilla attack happens. Also torturing prisoners to get information about where combatants are hiding is another tactic. If a government is tyrannical, it might do this. An guerrilla war was launched against the Nazis in Europe and did not bring them down.
Asymmetrical warfare was effective against the US in Vietnam because the forest terrain was greatly in favor of the rebels and the US fought the war at least somewhat ethically. Also, the rebels had explosives which are banned in the US. So according to con we should be allowing people to carry around machine guns, missile launchers, and grenades to ensure a better guerrilla war if tyranny happens. These weapons in the hands of gangsters and killers will make them far more effective into cowing people into submission, killing people, and causing damage in general making us a very dangerous nation to live in.
My arguments that guns in the hands of the populace would be more likely to cause civil war when government did things they didn't like,and there is no example of a rich nation that has been democratic for a long time falling into dictatorship in the whole of human history went unrefuted.
My opponent wants us to prepare for a possible event that has never actually happened. In Europe, guns are banned in most countries and democracy is alive and well.
European Hate Speech Laws
I was actually born in Europe and can say that Europe has never had the culture of free speech that the US has. For the most part Europeans can say whatever they want except for a few things. For example Nazi speech is outlawed in Germany but you can totally criticize Angela Merkel. So I don't see the cartoon incident as a reduction of freedom from a point of higher freedom, especially when the man wasn't even arrested. If Europeans wanted something different, they could just vote for politicians who want it.
Bad guys Better with Guns
If you are the type of guy who is willing to draw a gun on someone, you most likely will have more experience with guns than the average joe. While a lot of people have guns, it isn't like they are actually using them a lot. Most of the time these weapons are just sitting there in the closet locked up.
Fewer Guns means Worse Violence?
Yes there is one example of a mass shooting in Europe but a mass shooting happens in the US every few months. So I don't see how fewer guns makes shootings worse.
Freedom in the US is bad?
I don't see this. There is no support for this argument given anywhere.
Fewer guns means less violence
The Aurora shooting is an example where the criminal purchased the gun legally. If guns were illegal then they would not be mass sold by companies in the market but instead by the black market that was constantly being apprehended. This would drive up the price of guns and make them harder to get. This would reduce the number of guns, and the number of guns involved in crime.
In fact, it has been shown that Europe has fewer guns per person than the US does. Also fewer guns are involved in each individual murder making knives a more major weapon.
Since guns are a more effective weapons for crime, and criminals feel more secure committing a crime with a gun than with a knife, and people have a harder time standing against someone with a gun, then fewer guns will translate to less crime. This prediction is shown to be true with Europe with a murder rate of 1/5 that of the US which has guns everywhere and used often in murder.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Hands down Pro wins. I thought Con had an undefeatable case coming in with his first round, but Pro really just brought it. Every single point that was made by Con was refuted. Very nice job and thank you for solidifying my view on this topic.
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