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THBT gun ownership should be considered a privilege rather than a right

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 765 times Debate No: 71360
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)





Rnd. 1 Pro: Acceptance
Rnd. 1 Con: Acceptance

Rnd. 2 Pro: Construtives
Rnd. 2 Con: Constructives/Rebuttals

Rnd. 2,3 Pro: Rebuttals/Constructives
Rnd. 2,3 Con: Rebuttals/Constructives

Rnd. 4 Pro: Rebuttals
Rnd. 4 Con: Reply Speech (5,000 characters max)

Rnd. 5 Pro: Reply Speech (5,000 characters max)
Rnd. 5 Con: Waive


"Rights" are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement

"Privilege" are a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

"Guns" are a normally tubular weapon or other device designed to discharge projectiles or other material (inclusive of assault rifles and machine guns with carbines of more than 14.5mm, exclusive of carbines of more than 14.5mm)

BoP is shared. Good luck!



I accept your debate. Definitions are noted.
Debate Round No. 1



Today, I shall be presenting a framework to this debate, before moving onto presenting my three constructives which would eventually affirm the baseline, which is the following: guns cannot be a right, as that create a dangerous society and other philosophical implications.

Let me paint a picture in your mind: picture a nation, where gun ownership is a right, rather than a privilege. Gangsters have guns in large quantities. Those who are psychopaths have notions of killing people: when guns are a privilege, these psychopaths do not have gun. When guns are a right, these psychopaths do. Imagine that situation: an unsafe world, where murder rates are high, where gang-warfare is serious, where murders are norm. You have just imagined a situation similar to that of Honduras. This case shall be substantiated in the constructives.

This is a value debate. Henceforth, a criterion (for success and the words “right”+”privilege”) will be needed. The criterion for measuring the success of this resolution shall be measured by a certain amount of negative utilitarianism, where the least harm is done to the fewest amount of people, that this resolution has caused. Note that this debate is not about outlawing private ownership of gun: this debate is about the future ownership of gun lying in the hands of those who are capable.’

Guns shall be a privilege when the government tests the gun owner for mental stability, familiarity with the weapon etc. Guns shall be a right when the government monitors guns, yet does not commit any psychological and skill testing whatsoever. A license is not needed when guns are a right: a license is needed when guns are a privilege. The government is also not the only third party in this case.

The BoP of the opposition side is to do the following: side opposition must prove that firearms as rights (instead of privilege) causes the least harm to the people. Side opposition also needs to show that gun privilege causes more deaths and henceforth harm. Side proposition, meanwhile, needs to show that privilege gun-ownership laws, no matter how lax, how harsh, still produces less harm than the BoP of the opposition. We are also talking about the principle, not the policy. We are not law-makers, but debaters.


a.) Gun Rights are Fatal

Gun rights have been proven to be fatal. Because of the high prevalence in guns in such countries, guns are often used in many ways other than that of self-defense.

In the United States alone, 31,000 cases of gun violence has been recorded by the USPD. 606 cases were unintentional. 11,000 were murders, and 19,000 of these are suicides. The United States has the 2nd most guns per Capita, and ultimately, a relatively high firearm-related death rate of 10 per 100,000 citizens. [1] This places the United States on the top 20 countries with the most firearm violence in the world. But let us expand our wings. And we all know the dictation of the 2nd Amendment: "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." [2] In 2004, MS13, a multinational gang, massacred 28 people in Honduras. Honduras is the most violent and unsafe country in the world. Whilst the US had a mere 10, Honduras has a huge number of 60 per 100,000. Honduran law allows for “the right of ownership and possession of firearms to citizens and foreign residents who are in full joy of their civil rights and comply with the requirements established by this Law and its regulations.” [3] However, 80% of all Honduran murders are committed with guns. There are around 850,000 guns floating around in Honduras, 400,000 of these “illicit” (in the manner that it was obtained via illicit means). [4]

This might be a case of causation-correlation, but it does not seem so. 8% of all violent incidents and 68% of all murders were used firearms. [7] The neo-conservative mantra “people kill people, not guns” seems to work against their favor. Let us not forget our yardstick: negative utilitarianism. The harms done by guns being a right are huge: when 30,000 cases of murders could be reduced significantly, when gangs obtain arms without legal license whatsoever, then harm is done.

The conclusion from all these harms that could be caused by gun rights is simple: that gun privilege, the only logical alternative to gun rights, shall create less harm.

b.) Privilege and Guns

Guns cannot be a right by the intrinsically nature of a "right", and must be considered a legal "privilege" rather than a right. This is because rights only deal with things that allow for humans to live a good life, whilst a privilege is an extension of this good right earned by duty.

The United Nations defines rights as something "inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other statuses". [5] Guns, however, are not a right "inherent to all human beings" as of now. And it should never be. Although we have the rights to defend ourselves, this "liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else". [6] Guns can be used in both ways: either to harm others, or for self-protection. This is important: if guns can be used to harm others, then why is it a right? This weapon can be used to kill and murder: only the select few needs to get it. Insecticide is an example of a potentially lethal "privilege". In the United States, if insecticide were a right, as it can produce huge amounts of crops for food, then the damage cost by insecticide could be large. It could be used by people for differing purposes. However, the USG places regulations on this, henceforth reducing the usage of this fatal substance in a corrupted way.

If we were to think about it, insecticide and guns are very much the same things. Both of them can kill. If placed in the wrong hands, many could die. If guns were a right, the usage of this right would be restricted in such a way that it would be utterly a privilege in safe societies. Think about the huge amounts of harm insecticide could do: forms of inseticide have been shown to be able to kill 11 million innocent people. Now, I am not saying guns are Zyklon B, but they could be considered the same thing in outcome: if Zyklon B is a privilege, then why is a gun not a privilege?

c.) Gun Privilege "works"

Gun privilege works in the sense that it reduces violent crime rate levels in many countries where it has been established. Since guns are owned by those who have the skills to operate one, and the correct intent, then crime rates can go down significantly, allowing the government to be able to provide for a safer society.

In Australia, crime rates reduced dramatically after strict gun laws were emplaced in the mid-'90s. Gun-related murders were reduced by 47% in a matter of 10 years. From 1996 to 2010, the number of gun related deaths fell down by 27%. [8] Australia experienced the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, and since then, apart from a few outliers, huge massacres have been reduced to almost nil. Australia ranks 51st of 61 countries surveyed in 2013 in intentional homicide rate. Although gun violence could be considered highly prevalent in Australia, statistics are showing that the frequency of this is decreasing year. One is ten times more likely to get shot when living in the US than living in Australia. [9] In a survey of 170 countries, it was shown that Australia had the 41st highest gun ownership in the world: relatively high, considering strict gun control. [1]

Let us think carefully here: our criterion of success relied on the reduction of harms done by those who could (i.e. gun owners). Side proposition is not advocating that we should take every single gun away from the public. Side proposition just wants to control the distribution of guns. The harms done by illicit guns are huge, but when these illicit guns become a "fundamental and constitutional" right, the harms are ever increased. Side proposition has given you the example of Honduras. Let us contrast Honduras with Australia: Honduran gangs, with very developed networks and military-grade guns, now have been roaming free in Honduras for a long time. This same gang-warfare logic drives migrants to the United States. In Australia, by contrast, we see a much safer society: albeit occasions of gang-warfare have been recorded, these are just outliers to the overall progress in harms done by guns.


The baseline of this case, that "guns cannot be a right, as that create a dangerous society and other philosophical implications", has hopefully been affirmed by our three contentions. The criterion of negative utilitarianism and what constitutes a right/privilege is reasonable enough for points of clash. As of now, the resolution remains affirmed!


[1] The World Almanac, Book of Facts 2015
[2] US Constitution



Before I continue with my argument, I would like to talk more to you about Honduras. You made it sound like gun rights were the only reason for Honduras's crime rate and violence, when this is not true. The Honduran government is corrupted and the police have a high rate of abusing civilians. Police killed 149 civilians from January 2011 to November 2012, including 18 civilians under age 19, according to a report by Honduras"s National Autonomous University. The commissioner of the Preventive Police, Alex Villanueva, affirmed the report"s findings and said there were "likely many more killings by police that were never reported". The government would not respond to any of the calls made from the university's rector to gain information on how many of those killings were followed up by investigations. Furthermore, In April 2013, the chief of Directorate for Investigation and Evaluation of the Police Career told Congress that, of 230 police evaluated for corruption, 33 failed. However, only seven of those who failed were suspended, and some were later reinstated. (1) In conclusion, gun rights are not the sole source of Honduras's problems. They have a corrupted government and police force, and the country itself has always been plagued by extreme poverty and homeless children. There has been shown to be a direct correlation between poverty and crime (2) so Honduras's problems are likely to be linked specifically to the government, and not because of gun rights. You said yourself many guns in Honduras are obtained illicitly. By putting down strict gun laws, this will only get worse. The black market for guns would no doubt grow, and civilians would still have guns but these ones would be illegal. The guns that are already in Honduras wouldn't be taken away. They would still be 'floating around".

So, you want gun ownership to be a privilege and not a right. In your framework, you mention you want the government to test individuals to see if they have the mental stability needed to own a firearm. How would this be done? You would need somebody with a licence given to them by the government at every store that sells guns to check every person who buys one. One thing you never mentioned is your solution to this problem, which I would like to hear.

I will present my main arguments, and in the last paragraphs propose my conclusion and rebuttals.

1) Gun ownership should be a basic right

The United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right belongs to private individuals. This right is protected by the Second Amendment. (3) By making gun ownership a privilege and not a right, you would be taking away rights given to Americans. Therefore, you would be going against the Constitution. This fact in itself, regardless of the situation at hand, is taking away basic freedoms given to us hundreds of year ago. I feel I have nothing to add to this argument, considering gun rights are a freedom, and by making gun ownership a privilege and not a given right, you would be taking away freedom.

2) Guns don't murder, people do

You mention psychopaths and people with mental disabilities could produce harm when handling guns, and this is true. Adam Lanza, the man who was the source of the Sandy Hook shooting, had several mental problems that caused his outbreak. But, making gun ownership a privilege and not a right would NOT help them. Instead of taking away gun rights, we should make sure these people don't have access to guns in the first place. By taking away gun rights, we would be hurting the people who use the guns responsibility for no reason. These people use the gun either for sport or simple self defense, as the majority of people with guns don't use them for murder. For example, when you use a pencil, the pencil itself doesn't write: you do. The same is true with a gun. It is the person behind the weapon who is doing the killing, not the gun itself. Adam Lanza's outbreak could've been prevented if his mother got better care for him. She knew he had drawings around his room depicting drawings of brutal murders and guns, but chose to do nothing about it. (4) We should focus on helping these people instead of taking away freedoms given to everyone.

3) Concealed guns lower crime

In areas where you can carry a concealed gun, crime is much lower. I believe this is a much better alternative to taking away gun rights. Many states have recently allowed concealed carry gun rights, and it has produced many benefits for us.
* The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a federal government agency belonging to the U.S. Department of Justice, says that from 1993 to 2011, gun homicides in the United States have dropped by 39%. The Pew Research Center, an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C., estimates the drop may be closer to 49%.
* Nonfatal gun crimes have dropped 69%.
*The average annual number of homicides in schools has dropped from 29 in the 1990s to 20 in the 2000s.
(5) This shows that we can lower crime in other ways instead of taking away a basic right given to all Americans.

In your first argument, comparing the US to Honduras is vain considering they have very different governments. Both have gun rights, but Honduras has a higher murder rate, a higher crime rate in general (6), and about 60% of the population is in poverty. (7) Yes, they have gun rights, but that is not the one source of the many problems there, as stated in my previous paragraphs. The US is more wealthy, we have significantly less crime, and overall are a more stable country. We have already shown we can handle guns better than Honduras. We have gun rights, but are we struggling as Honduras is? The simple answer is no. The MS13 gang in Honduras is obviously capable of a lot of damage, considering they murdered 28 people. They will obtain weapons whether or not gun ownership is a right or a privilege. The US has banned several serious drugs, but they still are smuggled over the border. My point here is people will still find a way to obtain guns, whether illegal or not. By taking away gun rights, you wouldn't be taking away the guns people already have.

In conclusion, gun ownership should be a right and not a privilege. This right was given to the US by the founding fathers, and by taking away these rights, would be going against the consititution. Instead of taking away gun rights from everyone, we should focus on those with mental disabilities and make sure they get the best care they can to ensure they don't have access to guns and especially don't become violent, or "psychopaths". An alternative to this is allowing more free concealed carry laws, for it is proven they help reduce crime without making gun ownership a privilege instead of a right.

Debate Round No. 2



The opposition has, as of now, consented to the negative utilitarian criterion for the success of this resolution. With that consented, I shall attempt to refute the opposition's arguments, and then extending my arguments. However, before that, I shall like to remind that the BoP of Side Opposition is to prove that Side Opposition's case both affirms gun rights and negate the need for guns being a privilege (which is a logical corollary for the affirmation of the value of gun rights), whose criterion is that of negative utilitarianism.

The opposition also demands a policy. Although this is a value debate, it is also in some respects a policy debate. Hence, I shall present a brief policy here. The policy is the followings: the gun-owner will go psychological and technical training via authorized agents who are the government or represent them. The agents then reevaluates the gun-owner's crime record, and if this test fails (recognized psychopath, not enough handling skills, record of theft etc.), the gun-owner does not receive his gun.


a.) Gun Ownership is a Basic Right

I shall refute this argument from two grounds: (a) a purely logical ground, where the opposition has to ultimately prove that the status quo is the ideal status, and (b) even if it were a basic right, it does not affirm the criterion that is given. However, I shall like to object upon a ground of internationality: the US Constitution only applies to the citizens of the United States of America, and not citizens half-way across the world, like me. Even the opposition recognizes it, when they stated that "[making guns a privilege] is taking away rights given to Americans".

The substantiation of this is an enaction of the "is-ought" fallacy. The opposition has yet to prove why this state of affairs is the ideal state of affairs. The opposition says that "I have nothing to add to this argument" apart from restating the 2nd Amendment. However, the opposition seems not to understand the concept of freedom: freedom is not the ability to own a gun. Freedom is to not be oppressed by some unjust master: even the 2nd Amendment, which side opposition seems to revere so much, states that "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". By repealing the 2nd Amendment (and making guns a privilege), we would not be taking away any freedom whatsoever. We would be taking away only an obsolete form of keeping freedom. [1]

Secondly, the opposition's case on this still remains invalid, as it fails to satisfy the negative utilitarian criterion. The opposition, because of the enaction of the "is-ought" fallacy, still fails to show why the current state of affairs is the ideal state of affairs. Hence, this argument cannot stand in such a debate as ours.

b.) Concealed carry reduces crime

This argument shall be systematically deconstructed, as it is the most surprising (and, unsurprisingly, least empirically verifiable) argument in the whole of the opposition's case. I shall be refuting these points on many grounds.

Firstly, the model the opposition bases his argument on is called the rational model. This states that humans are rational actors, and shall act rationally. However, this theory has many limits. As always, the best "choice" is mandated by the circumstances. The rational choice theory fails to see that the "best choice" may be connected with emotional moods, which may influence the impartiality assumed in the theory. [7]

The opposition says that "concealed guns" decrease violence. The opposition does present some formidable statistics. However, that does not prove that "concealed guns" actually reduce crime rates. I do think that this is a correlation-causation. The United States has been spending 225% more money on police than it has in 1982. [4] Apart from this, from 2004 to 2008, there has also been a 5% increase of sworn active police. [5] There are many others that effect the increase/decrease of crime rates that shall not be discussed here. Perhaps this might have been one of the reasons why crime is going down in the United States.

Apart from this, the right to carry (RTC) actually increases crime. Although side opposition attempts to present statistics to recognize a nation wide issue, RTC has been associated with a 8% increase in aggravated assaults, with an increase of 33% in the totality of those who used guns in such assaults. [2] Rape rates in states with the RTC has been increasing constantly. For example, in Arizona, an RTC state, there has been a ten times increase of rape cases from 1960 to 2013 even though the population only increased by six times the amount. [3] This might be because of the fact that the introduction of guns into even a minor issue might lead it to a seriously fatal issue. Apart from this, right to carry would also impel criminals to act faster and in a more violent manner. [6]

c.) People kill people

This argument is another claim that the opposition tries to make; however, this is done without much relevance in the debate. In this refutation, I shall analyze the contradictions presented here, and attempt to show why this argument is actually an argument affirming the baseline of side proposition.

Side opposition argues that the only way to "stop" psychopaths, like Adam Lanza, from attaining a gun is to deny him access to a firearm in the first place. Note the contradictory nature of this argument to the Second Amendment case. The Second Amendment, accordingly to the interpretation of the opposition, applies to "the People", including those who are mentally disabled. Apart from this, if it is indeed possible to restrict rights, then it is no longer a right, but a privilege. Moreover, the opposition says that this policy "seriously harms those who use guns responsibly". This is not so: the policy here would be easily consented to by those who use guns responsibly, as their firearms won't be taken away.

Once again, the opposition's arguments have been showed to be (a) fallacious and strawman'ed, (b) false and empirically unverifiable, and (c) contradictory and actually supports side proposition's case.


a.) Honduras

The opposition talks about "we". Who is this "we" that the proposition is referring to? We come back, again, to this model of internationality vs. locality. Are you saying that the United States is the only nation where gun rights are a huge issue? Nevertheless, I shall come back to this later. I shall here be responding to the case that gun control is not the only reason why Honduras experiences huge crime problems.

The opposition states that gun rights are not the only source of problem in Honduras. This is undeniably true, but of course, to an extent. When 85% of all homicides in Honduras occurs with a gun that is very likely to be illicit, however, there must be some talk about gun control. The opposition seems to argue that there are many other factors that contribute to Honduras's murder rates. However, the opposition seems here to be suggesting that Honduras should keep the current state of affairs. i.e. their should be no change whatsoever in matters of guns.

However, let us see the state of affairs from two-side: one under side proposition’s policy, and one under side opposition’s. Side opposition would allow these gangs to retain their guns as it is “a fundamental right” that these gangs have. The opposition would do exactly nothing. Examples where this policy has been implemented is also not limited within Honduras. The best example would be the United States. The opposition says that the United States can "handle guns better than Honduras". Oh yes, and that is why among the developed countries, the United States has the highest murder rates. [9]

Let us see what side proposition’s side will do.

Side proposition will not allow these gangs to keep these AK-47s. Side proposition would like to remind the audience that successful gun schemes in Australia, where the Australian government implemented a self-loading gun ban. AK-47s are illegal for civilian ownership, and rightly so. The MS-13 massacre in Honduras, even with the horrid government that Honduras has. If the opposition asks for any empirical proof of this, one should be informed of the many massacres that happened in Australia, pre-’96. The Port Arthur Massacre happened when a man with an AR-15 (the civilian equivalent of an M-16, which was bought and obtained legally) stormed into the popular tourist place, killing 28 and wounding much more. However, since the ’96 gun legislations, there has been no massacre of this sort (when a legal handgun was used in a massacre). [8]


The opposition has dropped two of my arguments, whilst making an is-ought fallacy and presenting claims that are empirically unverifiable. The opposition has localized this debate, which is highly unfair (and impossible, as the opposition has accepted the Honduras case to be valid in this debate). The opposition attempts to refute the usage of Honduras, but (a) has failed due to the locality of his rebuttals (WE LIVE IN MERIKA yo!), (b) presents the fact as government problems and not problems of gun laws (this I have refuted, and will continue to do so), and (c) has ignored gun controlled nations which have been successful. The resolution is affirmed!




beachgirl67 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


beachgirl67 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4



Opp. side has FF'ed! Win.


beachgirl67 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Zarroette 3 years ago
Challenge bluesteel
Posted by 18Karl 3 years ago
I did. Meh, and it's debate. I need a worthy opponent.
Posted by Zarroette 3 years ago
Do I look like a guinea pig? Test it on one of your siblings.
Posted by 18Karl 3 years ago
I need to test out my new debate formula.
Posted by Zarroette 3 years ago
Be nice =)
Posted by 18Karl 3 years ago
Aw screw you...
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