Should the United States have more and stronger laws for gun control?
Debate Rounds (3)
First off let's start with the biggest possible restriction being considered; a national ban on assault weapons. I agree with this restriction, but to me it depends on what they define as an "assault weapon". I don't believe that anybody needs something like an AK-47 automatic rifle for any purposes, including self defense. Some people don't understand the dangers of owning a gun at all and think of them as toys. Some other people may be mentally unstable, in which case if they ever went homicidal they would already have access to a weapon fully capable of killing tens if not hundreds of people in a matter of seconds. This is the type of thing I'd like to prevent in any and every way that is both plausible and possible.
On to my next topic; high-capacity magazines. While I don't agree with the fact that this ban would also apply to law enforcement, I believe it is a reasonable and very important restriction to put on the general public. If you're out at a shooting range, you shouldn't need more than a few bullets for each magazine, let alone one. Same goes for hunting, you don't need to slaughter your prey, even one bullet is enough to take it down. Even for self defense you do not need a weapon containing 15 bullets or 30 bullets or whatever it may be. One bullet can quite easily take down an intruder, but we don't even want to restrict it to one bullet. Possibly about 8 or 10 per magazine. The same concept goes for shootings, one bullet can easily take someone down and makes shootings (especially ones committed with guns containing high-capacity magazines) much more deadly.
Now finally, I don't think I really have to say why we should have extended background checks. They don't affect anyone in a negative way, they just make sure that sellers aren't putting their weapons into the wrong hands.
One last thing, I just want to point out that the second amendment was written back in the late 1700s, when guns only consisted of muskets and pistols that could shoot one bullet at a time and took about 20 seconds just to load another one, also the pellets that these guns shot back then were small lead balls that traveled usually less than 400 feet. Nobody could ever have thought that we would have handheld weapons as deadly as we have today, which I believe is most likely why there were no restrictions written into the bill of rights.
The standard of limits on any amendment is that one man's rights cannot infringe upon another man's. Yelling fire in a crowded building, a commonly cited scenario, infringes upon the rights of those that will inevitably attempt to escape and get hurt, for example. Firearm ownership follows this same standard. My owning a firearm does not infringe upon the rights of others provided I follow the law. The same applies to all amendments. As you stated, you may have freedom of religion, but it doesn't count when you use it as a means to commit homicide for human sacrifice. Likewise, we're free to own guns, provided we don't use it as a means to break laws. It is the same standard that all amendments are held to. As for the second amendment being dangerous for certain people, those are generally the people that can't legally obtain guns.
Can you give me a specific definition of assault weapon please? Such is a highly contested term, that I think we may want to abandon the usage of for the sake of this argument. Please provide a specific definition of assault weapons or simply describe the guns you're drawing into question.
I would like to begin by stating that not all AK-47s are fully automatic. The consumer market for AK-47s is completely based around semi-automatic models in the United States due to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that made all fully automatic firearms that were not registered prior to 1986 illegal to own or trade.
I also would like to call into question your belief that people shouldn't own such firearms. Why shouldn't responsible gun owners be allowed to own fully automatics? While I'm sure there are some irresponsible gun owners in the US that isn't an accurate representation of most gun owners. The vast majority of owners will stress first and foremost that firearms must be respected. Just because a minority shows incapability in accepting this responsibility doesn't mean we should restrict the rights of the entire group, most of whom present no threat to society in their ownership of such weapons. Also, the mentally unstable are generally filtered out through background checks. The homicidal rampages are generally done by criminals that have stolen the firearms, therefore you can't blame the system for such. And the statement about hundreds killed in seconds is a gross overstatement of the capabilities of an AK-47. In truth, the killing potential of a fully automatic firearm is only slightly higher in skilled hands, and significantly lower in unskilled hands. With fully automatic functionality comes less control and more ammo expenditure. There's a reason they stopped issuing fully automatic M16s in Vietnam: They're useless in the hands of the inexperienced.
The argument against high capacity magazines generally has many oversights, but those arguing against them can't be blamed, as these are oversights that generally only gun owners will notice. First of all, range shooting doesn't require rapid access to a large magazine. I understand your perspective. However, reducing magazine size would alienate shooters with conditions such as carpal tunnel and other painful conditions in the wrist and hand. The motion of loading rounds into a magazine is extremely difficult and painful for shooters with such burdens. Loading one large magazine is a much lighter burden on them than constantly stopping from shooting and reloading a small mag. As for hunting, my own personal experience has led me to refuse to hunt with any weapon with a reduced magazine. Some animals are extremely aggressive and resilient. I've almost had my leg gored by a boar after successfully hitting it, then having it rush me. It took all 30 rounds in my magazine to bring the beast down. Ideally it only takes one bullet to kill your prey, but the ideal scenario is seldom the case, especially with larger animals. And one also must consider that in areas of wilderness, your firearm isn't only for the hunt, but also for self defense. Hunters in the northwest US and Alaska, for example, often carry heavy calibur firearms to protect them from brown and grizzly bears, which can both have aggressive tendencies. With these animals especially, it often takes several rounds to stop their assault. To remove high capacity magazines would force hunters to either cease the activity, or put themselves at constant risk.
The intruder aspect is what I have the most issue with. Most cases where a weapon is used to deter a home invasion are at night, when vision is significantly hampered. Your chance of missing is greatly increased, and having more rounds improves your chances of hitting a target. One must also consider that many home invasions are done by groups of criminals in which case the defender has more than one target. And the belief that most people go down with one bullet is mistaken. While it is a possibility, to kill a target with one round requires the shooter to hit his target in one of only a handful of difficult to hit places. If you believe high capacity mags make guns more deadly, then it seems counter intuitive that you wish to take them away from those that wish to defend their home and family, who desperately need lethality in their firearm.
Also, I noticed you said that police should continue to hold high capacity magazines. It's interesting to note that according to Jeff Snyder's Cato Policy Analysis No. 284, cops are significantly more likely to hit the wrong target than civilian shooters. If anyone should have a high capacity magazine, it's the people that shoot for fun and thus frequently. Not police, who only shoot when they have to because it's part of their job.
Background checks are essential to keep the people safe. I won't argue on this, because it's essential for the well being of society that dangerous people are prevented from obtaining firearms.
In 1718 the Puckle Gun was invented, which was a weapon mounted on naval vessels to prevent boarding. It fired 63 shots per minute. The belief that the only guns around in the founding fathers' time were muskets is mistaken.
The reason there were no restrictions is because the military had no restrictions on their firearms. The purpose of arming the people is to defend against tyranny. You find references to this throughout the constitution, such as when Jefferson writes that if a government becomes destructive of our basic freedoms, the people ought rise against it and institute new government. Firearms are our means of keeping our government afraid to oppress us and since the military is the force of the government I would argue that the founding fathers wished for the people to be equipped in a way that would allow them to stand against the military, the police, and any other institution that serves the government. Weapons are more deadly today than they were in the past But if those that would infringe upon our rights are equipped with such weapons, then so must the people be equipped.
I agree that generally the constitution is a weak defense for gun ownership. It's a document drafted by a bunch of men that were just as prone to mistakes as we are. Yet the underlying statement of the constitution is what should be respected, and that's liberty. Our nation was built by men that believed that a man is free to do what he wills, so long as it doesn't hurt his fellow man. While our government has clouded this ideal with legislation that invades our lives more and more, we still must strive for emancipation from the shackles that would be locked upon our rights. Firearms were meant to be our means of breaking those shackles, and therefore taking them away from the common man betrays everything the United States of America stands for.
Now as for the definition of an assault weapon, I don't have an exact definition for the term and would prefer to just debate on what I know rather than look information up on the Internet or in a resource book to do the debating for me, I find that as sort of a cheat in a person's display of their intelligence. Anyways, I don't know for myself the definition of one and suppose I may as well stop using the term. I can only think of examples for them, basically including machine guns, rifles (semi-auto and fully automatic specifically), sub-machine guns, shotguns, and possibly machine pistols.
The "Puckle Gun" that you mentioned was not exactly what I was referring to. I'm focusing mainly on a handheld and easily portable weapon, whereas the Puckle Gun is similar to the modern day Gatling Gun. But my point with the statement about the muskets and pistols was that nobody had even imagined weaponry as advances as what we have today, and is why I believe that certain amendments such as the second are so vague and widespread without any limitations written into them.
I would like to mention however that your stand on the hunting and intruder aspects are remarkably accurate and more reasonable than I could have hoped for, but sadly there is no way to get rid of weapons only for when someone has become too unstable and dangerous to carry one. If there were, it would include a large amount of government monitoring on the people which would most likely not go down well with many. I must say that I couldn't be more satisfied than having an opponent like you who knows what they're talking about and describes it in a clear way, rather than some others who usually resort to violence and insult and forget about the main topic at hand.
To address the first issue, we currently do have a system where people have varying gun rights based on various factors, and it seems that most people don't have an issue with the current system. For example, convicted felons and the mentally disabled currently cannot purchase firearms. There's obvious motivation behind this. Gun owners aren't a problem, but criminals are. Convicted felons are more likely to commit violent crimes. Therefore it's common sense that they should not be able to purchase or own firearms. With the mentally disabled, we don't afford the same responsibilities as other citizens because they are not capable of accepting many burdens that the mentally sound accept. Firearms are among these, and society feel that that's acceptable. Unless laws are enacted that discriminate against certain ethnicity, sexual orientations, or other things that have nothing to do with one's capability to be responsible with a firearm, I doubt we would see a backlash, as a law to prevent a dangerous person from owning a firearm is currently acceptable in our laws.
For the second point, you're correct. Some people break down and go banana sandwich on society. However, for those having a lapse of judgement, we have waiting periods. Waiting periods are what keep people from killing their wife when they find out she's having an affair, for example. And it's an intelligent law. I would say they should be a bit longer, about a month. That stops the crime of passion form of insanity, which is a pretty large chunk of gun crime. The other type is an individual that has lost touch with their reality and wants to cause destruction. In the case of these people, I think placing blame on weapons is a mistake. If anything, we should be more focused on improving how we reach out to and help the mentally insane in America. Getting rid of guns dodges the issue, and when someone ultimately slips through the cracks, letting other people arm themselves gives them a chance to fight back.
Look at the case of Charles Whitman. In 1966, Whitman, a former marine, ascended the tower at the University of Texas with a 12 gauge shotgun, a Remington 700, an M1 Carbine, a .357 Magnum, a Galesi-Brescia handgun, a luger pistol, and one other Remington rifle that I can't find a specific make on. None of these weapons were fully automatic. He proceeded to kill 16 people and wound 32. However, midway through his shooting spree civilian firearm owners retrieved their weapons and fired back, forcing him to take cover. They continued to suppress him until police arrived, at which point civilians and police officers raided the tower, killing Whitman with a shotgun blast.
What I'm trying to say with this is that the bad guys will always get guns. We have a pipeline of illegal firearms coming from Mexico and being stolen every day. Taking guns away from the common man only removes his ability to defend himself. Someone should've reached out to Whitman when his life began falling apart. Our country failed this man, and it was his fellow American's courage, and their choice to arm themselves that mitigated his destructive potential.
The reason you'll be criticized for using the term "assault weapon" is that when the user isn't very well acquainted with firearms it generally boils down to "guns that look scary". In example, someone once told me that an AR-15 is an assault weapon. But when I showed them a Mini-14, which is a semiautomatic rifle in the same caliber with an equal capacity magazine and the potential to accept attachments, they said it wasn't an assault rifle, it was a hunting rifle. While the operation of the guns is different to someone versed with their intricate workings, to the novice shooter the guns have parallel performance. The only difference is that mini-14s generally have a wood finish, while an AR-15 is identical to an M-16 in appearance. People associate it with a military rifle, and therefore think it's more deadly when it's truly not.
You list machine guns, semi-automatic and fully automatic rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, and machine pistols. What characteristic do these guns share that identify them as "assault weapons"?
The founding fathers could see where firearms were going. They would've known that the first usage of firearms in European history were giant lances with a black powder tube on one side that fired a round. They would've known that arquebuses were once the only decent sized guns around. And they would know that we figured out how to contain their function to a tiny a pistol. To assume the founding fathers never would've predicted that one day a reasonable sized gun would be able to produce the effects of a Puckle Gun much as pistols could replicate the function of muskets of the past is to give them very little credit. Tons of people were offering rewards for patents on things that we would consider semiautomatic or fully automatic weaponry. It wasn't an unheard of concept, but rather was simply beyond their technology. I feel certain in the belief that it was quite obvious what was on the horizon when you consider that the history of the firearm has shown a consistent rate of development and is well recorded.
You're correct that there's no way to get rid of weapons when someone's too unstable or dangerous. But it's also impossible to get rid of illegal guns in the hands of criminals. While I won't deny that some countries have had success, all of these countries have been developed nations with similarly developed nations on their border. As long as Mexico is collapsing under the illegal gun trade and gangs run the border regions, it's not feasible to stop the flow of illegal firearms in the United States. I wish I lived in a world without firearms. But I don't, and bad people will obtain firearms. Therefore I pray that the government never takes away that which allows me to protect my family from those that are not responsible and obtain their weapons through illegitimate means. By making them illegal, they only punish those that follow the law.
I'm enjoying this discussion as well. I'm happy I've introduced information that has given you a new perspective on the issue. As a gun owner, I distance myself from the gun community. Too many of my peers are aggressive and disrespectful to those that don't understand why we value firearms, which only reinforces the negative connotations being a gun owner has attached to it. We're people too, and I think that both sides of the gun argument serve the same purpose: We want to make society safer.
I actually had an idea that could be a relatively reasonable compromise that would allow responsible gun owners to keep their guns, but it may be an infringement on the 4th amendment. My idea was for every registered gun owner to complete a mentality test to tell if they are still mentally stable and safe to own a weapon. If they do not pass, their weapons would be confiscated from them and they would have to see a neurologist and/or psychiatrist to find out what it is that they need help with and if they are stable to retrieve their weapons back. If they are not stable enough to retrieve their weapons, their concealed weapons permit/license will be suspended, they could be sent to a rehabilitation center, and their weapons will be held until the owner is safe and sane enough to carry them safely again.
As for the case of Mr. Whitman, I believe you were very clear with this. I do believe that it was a good thing that some others had retrieved their weapons to hold him down until police arrived, so I'm not going to argue about a situation we both agree on.
Now for what classifies those types of weapons (rifles, machine guns, sub-machine guns, shotguns, and machine pistols) as assault weapons for me is the fact that they are much more capable of taking out a higher population of people in a shorter amount of time. Aside from a few exceptions, most handguns do not have the magazine capacity, fire rate, or as high of caliber ammunition as these other weapons. An average handgun will usually have a magazine containing 7-16 bullets, where as many sub-machine guns and machine pistols have around 20 or 30 bullets, which can be expelled from the barrel at a much higher and faster rate. Even if a skilled shooter could do more damage with a handgun than an unskilled shooter could with a machine gun, there is a higher chance of more people being hit in a crowd with more bullets being fired faster into it.
Just another idea I would like to present that would make it much safer to live without a weapon and would make it more plausible for someone to live without one; having a police station within 5 miles from any inhabited area reaching a certain population, possibly about 500+ people. Now I wouldn't say this is instead of people owning guns, not even close, but this could give some people a better sense of security and no longer feel the need to own a weapon.
I completely agree with your stand on how Mexico as an undeveloped country may have many ties to illegal firearm distribution in the United States. It worked in Australia, but they have no connecting countries to them.
Protection of the people is the main matter at hand here, not if people should have guns. If guns did happen to be banned, there are other safeties we could take to make it safer to live in an area without a gun. There have been more shootings recently with legally owned guns, which is why we are starting to feel that we should get rid of them. I completely realize that this could just be a coincidental spike in murder rates, and that if we wait they could just go back to normal. But we also have to realize that if we wait and it does not go back down, we will have been allowing these murders to go on without any actions toward them. That's why we are trying to take these precautions now, in case the murder rate stays at this level for a longer time. I honestly don't think we should get rid of all guns, just the ones felt that are more than enough for legal purposes.
Well sir, I believe I'm about finished with my argument. I believe that we have both succeeded in recognizing and pointing out each other's strengths and flaws in their arguments, and hope that there has been some realization and convincing on both our parts, as I know you have pointed out and convinced me of certain things. I really appreciate the debate along with your ability to take logical and reasonable routes in an argument instead of insult and aggressiveness. Oh, and one more thing. I have never pointed this out to anybody I have debated with because I felt it would cause my opponent to no longer take me seriously, but I'm merely a 14 year-old boy from Florida that has not yet ever taken a class nor been part of a team for debate or law. For whatever the reason may be, I find myself very interested and intrigued with the political matters at hand. I do however plan on taking on a career in either law or politics, along with taking classes in debate and law throughout high school and joining the teams for debate that are available to me. I take it very seriously, much like a rehearsal for my future career in the subject. It prepares me for what I hope on doing with my life so that I will already have much experience in my field before I even take it on. Anyways, I look forward to reading your final argument, thank you for the debate and I hope you have a great day.
Insanity isn't a switch that is on or off. It's a path. One descends into madness due to their environment, genetics, or life experiences. Those around them generally notice the gradual change in behaviour, and it usually ends in institutionalization. It would be a better alternative to educate people on how to spot signs of common mental conditions and improve our treatment of these individuals as opposed to taking firearms away. With this method, even if someone steals an illegal firearm to go on a rampage, at least the people can be armed to fight back.
This already happens. Those that lose the capacity to be a responsible gun owner are required to rid themselves of firearms. Sometimes a judge will rule that the local police force should confiscate them, sometimes they'll allow the owner to make arrangements to sell the guns or give them to a capable friend or family member. Since such laws are already in place, this suggestion doesn't meet the criteria of "more and stronger laws for gun control".
I disagree that those weapons are capable of taking more people out in a shorter amount of time. Many rifles have 10 round magazine as a standard. Also, magazine restrictions would be ineffective because so many are already in circulation. With fire rate, my Glock 22 has an equal fire rate to any semi-automatic rifle. Every time I pull the trigger it fires. Same applies to an AR-15. Many handguns are chambered in rounds larger than the 5.56 NATO that AR-15s are chambered in. .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, and caliber doesn't seem to have a correlation with killing potential in non-combat situations. Such is illustrated by the fact that most homicides are with .22LR rounds, which are tiny. When you look at the statistics on shootings, you'll find that the most deadly shooting in recent times was done with a bolt action hunting rifle in Norway in 2011. While automatic weapons appear to be more deadly by their depiction in media, it seems that there simply is no practical data to back this up.
It's financially infeasible to have that many police officers on duty. Plus, even in they're five miles away, the time it takes for them to reach your home is more time than you have when someone is breaking into your home. Police generally don't stop active crime. They punish it after the fact. And this won't help your family when a violent criminal is kicking in your door.
The homicide rate has been going down for the last couple of years according to the American Census Bureau. Legal firearm owners are one of the least likely demographics to commit gun crimes. Generally, criminals will arm themselves with firearms they obtain on the street, and no gun legislation can stop this. Therefore gun legislation only removes the ability of the individual to defend themselves from those that would break the law and harm them.
I've enjoyed the debate. I'm surprised how young you are. You argue at a level much higher than I would expect. Good show and good luck in the voting, friend.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate from two new debaters. Con wins due to the ambiguity of what an assault weapon was, which was the major point of clash in the debate. Con also successfully shows (his last round in particular) that there is no practical evidence that the weapons pro want to ban are more deadly. Background checks goes to pro obviously since Con conceded the point but pro barely touched this after that. The ban on high capacity magezines was shown to be unneeded thus con carries the ballot by winning the two most consequential points. PM me if questions
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