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The American 2nd Amendment is an outdated piece of sh**

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 853 times Debate No: 36190
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
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My apologies for the wording of the topic. It is intended to be satirical.

In America surprisingly, there is no "left" in this debate. So to give it a breathe of fresh air, I will defend the leftist position.

This is not a policy debate so please keep the arguments strictly based on the merit of the 2nd amendment.

First round is for acceptance only. Enjoy!


I accept.

It's nice to virtually meet you DT and I look forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this challenge!

It is a glorious day for an epic debate battle!!!


The 2nd amendment is not unique to the American constitution.

It was copied from British Common Law, which saw it fit to let the population arm itself against religious persecution.

In constant war with its neighbors, the British started to utilize the well-armed citizenry as auxiliary to its military. Right to bear arms has since become a necessary provision for the security of the
free Empire.

As a British Colony, America adopted the provision in recognition that a militia can come to the aid of the state, and hence, it stated -

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.

The 2nd amendment has since morphed to include many
interpretations -

  • Defense of Liberty
  • Provide additional security for the state
  • Deterrent to a tyrannical state
  • Resisting oppression
  • Suppressing insurrection
  • Auxiliary law enforcement
  • Natural right to self-defense
  • A natural necessary right on itself to restrict the power of the government

In summary, there is a utilitarian case for the right to bear arms. It is a tool to achieve noble goals.

However, this house shall argue that in the modern world, armed citizenry as tools to achieve or aid in the above objectives is not only pretentious and phony but also self-defeating.

Horses (cavalry) are tools the same way that Tanks are tools. In the modern world however, cavalry is useless the same way that armed citizenry is useless. But promoting Tanks instead of horses does not diminish the goals of security.

Real protector of Liberty, please stand-up!

In the Defense of Liberty, for example, armed citizenry maybe emotionally appealing but is nothing but a nuance against any technologically advanced state with nuclear, satellite, stealth and drone capabilities.

The modern way we protect Liberty is via the ballot box, right to free speech, assembly, and balance of power. The real shield against tyranny is the 1st amendment that builds the case for an accountable government and in the responsible use of power.

In the case of the Arab spring, it was the exercise of free speech and assembly, and not guns, that brought down tyrannical regimes. It leveraged modern tools like the Internet and social networking to counter the authority of the military.

Guns don’t protect Liberty. They encourage retaliation with military force

If Arabs resorted to guns, it will diminish the legitimacy of the peaceful revolt and build the case for retaliation using overwhelming military force. The on-going conflict in Syria is the perfect example where a well-armed rebellion was met by air superiority and chemical warfare.

In Myanmar, armed citizenry was the convenient excuse for racial segregation and genocide that prevailed for half a decade.

And it was free speech and the Internet that willed the global community to act and apply pressure for the government to change.

Majority of Americans are busy hypothesizing scenarios to use guns. But turn on TV and you will see reality – In resolving conflicts around the world, armed citizenry has now little to do with Liberty. It was free speech, international pressure and democratic elections that made things happen.

Modern Military 101

The budget of the American military is more than the combined budget of the next 10 well-funded military.

It is designed to successfully counter major threats including those of domestic insurrection.

Air craft carriers, destroyers, submarines, air superiority, satellites, bases and drones – These are necessary tools to deter international conflict and protect global interests, and as a democratically-elected state, US interest lies in the protection of the American public.

If mom and pop with AK47’s can dismantle America’s military, then this is a projection of failure rather than of power.

Citizen Rambo is not REAL and contrary to what NRA preaches, the US military is designed to outclass and be extremely potent.

Oppression, Tyrannical States and Restricting the Power of Government

While military power is subject to abuse, this is never resolved by putting guns in the hands of clueless teenagers who follow no chain of command.

Transparency, free speech, balance of power and democratic elections. These are the time-honored traditions that made America the most powerful nation on earth. These traditions prevailed for more than two centuries and it is folly to ignore their MAIN ROLE as effective deterrence to abuse, oppression, and tyranny.

Suppressing insurrection

The role of pacification, crowd control and public security to the hands of armed civilians only leads to chaos and unnecessary deaths.

There are good reasons why professional law enforcement is a full-time job that requires rigorous training not just on the proper use of arms but also on rightful application of the law.

Auxiliary Law Enforcement

George Zimmerman.
Trust me, you don’t want civilian justice.

Provide additional security for the state

Armed civilians are nothing but distractions to genuine pursuits of public security, anti-terrorism, border control, drug smuggling, cyber security, and international peace efforts.

Real threats to American security are not resolved using common sense and Rambo macho. They require professionals, experts, advanced technologies, due process and chain of command.

While it’s true that modern day militias exist in the form of security subcontractors, they are relegated to escort and guard duty - a sorry excuse for a major constitutional provision.


Guns as tools for self-defense are technologically outdated and worthless.

Not everyone is capable of head shots. In most cases, shots hit other body parts and not cause immediate incapacitation. This opens room for retaliation.

Electric-shock weapons and electrode bullets are far more effective because hits, regardless of body part, completely and immediately disable all motor functions.

Given the divisive nature of gun use, it is politically easier to make Tasers the tool of choice and give everyone equal opportunity for potent self-defense.

Guns also have general restrictions in terms of concealment and usage in certain public locations and make self-defense a less effective option in these areas.

Pepper spray goes on for hours and hours, hitting someone with a baton breaks limbs, shooting someone with a firearm causes permanent damage, even punching and kicking—the intent of those tools is to inflict pain. But with the Taser, the intent is not to inflict pain; it's to end the confrontation. When it's over, it's over.

The amendment is misused

American politicians, far from being defenders of liberty, are stuck in constitutional limbo. To them, the amendment is the modern day ammo to court lobby money, create divisiveness, usurp public opinion and hijack elections.

Final words for Round 1

The intention of this house is not to argue for abolishment. Despite being logically tenable,
it is politically implausible.

But by focusing this debate purely on the merits of the 2nd amendment, we shed light to the credibility of the case for its defense.

And as I have shown, the 2nd amendment is not only outdated but has also diminished its worth.

It’s nice only on constitutional paper.





Thank you for your excellent opening salvo.

I agree that the First Amendment is far more important than the Second, and should indeed be the first and primary option in opposition to threats of any kind, be they personal or political. I also completely agree that civilians have no role in law enforcement.

Onto the matter at hand:

You asserted, “Guns don’t protect Liberty. They encourage retaliation with military force”

You said, “In Myanmar, armed citizenry was the convenient excuse for racial segregation and genocide that prevailed for half a decade.”

I submit the estimated 40 million deaths in the Soviet Union and Communist China [1] to serve as ample evidence that being unarmed is not without significant risk for citizenry as well. And personally, I’d rather die in a gunfight than a death camp. But that’s just me.

Speaking more broadly about the help that using the First Amendment could bring from the international community: why did social media help in Myanmar and other places? I submit that it’s because there were larger, more potent political and military powers available and willing to assist the citizens. What larger power is going to assist American citizens if we are repressed by our own government? I believe you made this point quite aptly in “Modern Military 101.” What if the First Amendment is curtailed to the point where its liberties are irrelevant? Consider “political correctness.” Is the word “nig-er” protected (I find it so offensive, I can’t even leave it written out) by the your free speech guarantees in the First Amendment? Yes. In theory. But in practice, it can lead to charges of harassment, abuse, and even a “hate” crime if combined with criminal action. The First Amendment is not absolute. And I don’t think it unreasonable to consider the possibility that the limitations would be extended to political opposition or dissidence. Consider the word “Jihad.” It strikes as probable that this conversation just went from one level of NSA interest to another.

Modern Military 101

The purpose of a violent civilian uprising would not be military victory. As you noted, that's an absurdity. Rather, the purpose would be to alert those in power that its citizens are so fed up with the regime that they are willing to die for change. That is a powerful message, even without a hope of military “victory.”

Oppression, Tyrannical States and Restricting the Power of Government

I completely agree with your assertion that democracy has worked well in the United States. But as any financial planner will promise: “past performance does not guarantee future results.” Two centuries of democratic success does not insure a future without tyranny. History is littered with nations that skipped along happily until power fell into the wrong hands. Our past success simply means we’ve done a good job of avoiding it for the last two centuries.

There are plenty of warning signs that the “checks and balances” that have been so essential to the stability of this nation are being discarded as wealth and power is consolidated into fewer and fewer hands. As Louis Brandeis said, “we may have a democracy or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” As this has increasingly been the case [3], our democracy has looked increasingly like a kleptocracy [4]. .4% of the population makes 63.5% (!!!!) of the donations to political campaigns in the U.S. [5]. What do they get for that money? A system designed, in essence, to protect itself. A system that can protect the interest of large corporate contributors by making life harder on small businesses [6]. The much bigger danger over time is political repression.

If you believe that could never happen here, I remind of you of mass surveillance programs that violate the 4th amendment [7], yet are currently keeping track of an astonishing amount of our online activity [8]. The President has a “hit list” [9], and the administration has authorized the assassination of a U.S. citizen for political reasons [10]. The most important implication is that these developments hint at (or prove) the disregard for “law”. Quoting David Sirota at

“This new claim that evidence is not required to kill someone is the true foundation of Too Big to Curtail. To really appreciate how extreme the whole concept is, understand that it is already blatantly illegal for a president to execute an American citizen without so much as a indictment. Indeed, if the constitutional notion of “due process” means anything at all, at minimum it means at least being formally charged with a single crime.

But in the new white paper, the Obama administration isn’t just laying waste to that most basic of ideas — it is going further and insisting that even within the extra-constitutional “kill list” deliberations inside the White House, the president doesn’t actually need evidence to order someone’s death.”

This is patently Stalin-esque.

I’d say it’s quite sensible to keep guns handy. Just in case.

Provide additional security for the state

In general, I agree with your assertion. But were we to be invaded by a foreign nation, I believe having armed citizens would be useful. Imagine the frustration of an invading soldier who kicks in the door of a house only to be shot dead by an old man sitting at the kitchen table. It is exactly the trouble that our own soldiers have faced in foreign lands - there is no clear way to identify threats. Would citizens defeat an invading army by themselves? No. Would it be a tremendous nuissance for the invaders? Yes. And so I disagree with your assertion that citizens have nothing to contribute to the defense of the motherland.


I agree that alternative weapons (tasers, pepper spray, as you mentioned) are preferable in most modern social situations. That said, I can also understand why someone - especially someone trained - would want to have one by their bedstand if they live in a bad neighborhood. Most of “better” options require much closer proximity to the target, which increases personal risk. Guns have the benefit of being able to shoot from great distance.

This research survey from the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy [2] suggests there is no correlation (or perhaps even an inverse correlation) between guns and murders. In a table comparing European gun ownership and murder rates from the early 2000’s, the results are extremely counter intuitive:


Murder Rate

Rate of Gun Ownership


20.54 [2002]



9.01 [2002]

c. 0


2.22 [2003]



1.98 [2004]



1.87 [2001]



1.79 [2003]



1.65 [2003]



1.21 [2003]



1.12 [2003]



0.99 [2003]



0.93 [2003]


My own addition: Hunters

What of hunters? I am not a hunter, but I hear they exist. In fact, it’s reported that there are over 12 million of them in the United States [12]. What of their rights?

In closing, I believe I have shown in the arguments above that the second amendment remains a relevant and useful part of the Bill of Rights.













Debate Round No. 2


General Rebuttal

If not for the defence of liberty, what is the utility of the 2nd

To repeat your aspersions -

* To die a noble death in a gunfight

* If not for victory, annoy the military

* Keep guns handy to scare your politicians

* Nuisance to invaders

* Self-defence in situations (long range) when fleeing offers the best chance of survival

* Sports

Hardly a noble utility for a major constitutional amendment!!!

As John Locke puts it, "For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others".

But where is Liberty if your neighbour is granted the tool to cause the greatest amount of fear and violence? Is this so that some can enjoy the benefits you spouse?

Are the use of guns absolute, and like the Absolute Right to Free Speech granted by the
Constitution, be made immune to the progress of time?

Technologies even the flush toilet become victims to obsolescence, and I will continue to
show the same is true for guns in the 2nd amendment

Guns do not protect Liberty. They ran counter to the resolution of modern conflicts.

"For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others"

The 1st amendment remains the most potent tool against tyranny and violence from the

At the same time, we live in the age where information, opinion and ideas (internet)
are easily accessible to the fingertips (hand phone) of the every individual.

And since people form the backbone of the government and military, they have equal access
to the same opinions and ideas are not deaf to the voice of the public.

The on-going conflict in Egypt shows how the military instead of becoming tools of
oppression come to the aid of the citizens it vowed to protect. This is not
possible if not for the power of persuasion and how thru the internet, voice of
reason echoed throughout the ranks of the military.

If Egyptian citizens fired the first shot, it would have rang louder than reason
and invite the military to invoke the collective right to defend the state, and
the overwhelming force that comes with it.

It is people power that leads to the ouster of modern day tyrants

Gandhi may have been relegated to a death camp but thru restraint and conviction, he dismantled
an empire that capitalized on persecution, discrimination and intolerance.

This is nobler than a aiming for senseless death thru violence.

India at the hands of the British didn’t have a 1st amendment, and this is at
a time without Internet. I think this answers your hypothetical scenario.

Modern Military 101, Oppression, Tyrannical State and Restricting the Power of Government

Guns at the hands of a disorganized public that has no chain of command is definitely scary.

This only invites the governments to respond with determination and defend itself and the
rest of the population. It provides some legitimacy to the actions of the military in response to this threat.

Guns are simply counter-productive to the goal of inviting a powerful democratic government
to change.
Far from immediately resolving conflict, use of guns will

simply prolong the conflict.

Balance of power, whistleblowing, civil-disobedience, and transparency. These, and not
guns, are the real weapons that actualize progress.

If Edward Snowden held US authorities at gun point, it will run counter to authenticity
of his aspirations to limit the power of the government.

Provide additional security to the state

Armed citizens will unnecessarily put themselves in danger in the face of modern warfare and

Far from being help, they will just be in the way and limit how the US military respond
to the threats of IEDs, bio-chemical warfare, nuclear and attack.

If your hypothetical invading force is willing to attack innocent civilians, they will not hesitate
to use bunker busters, drones and chemicals to wipe out suburbia.

Cooperation, Evacuation, Logistics and Technical Assistance. These are areas that ordinary citizens
can help.


If we are hypothesizing about long range situations, standing-your-ground does not apply
universally across all states.

In many States, fleeing is the only legal discourse. In these states, shooting someone at long
range is considered an assault and not self-defence.

Also, this would require someone proficient at marksmanship.

Electric-shock weapons already work at reasonable ranges that can successfully thwart most


You don't need a major constitutional provision for a sport, the same way you don't need a major constitutional provision for MMA or football.

A simple legal proviso can pave way for use of guns within hunting grounds the same way that simple legal provisos are used to waive liability in sports that cause pain and hurt, that would have otherwise been categorized as assault outside of the sport.

Guns for recreation (within gun ranges and hunting grounds) are not prohibited in most countries outside of America and they didn’t have to resort to the constitution to allow it.




Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately, I found your rebuttal flowing with rhetoric and opinion, but short on evidence and substantiation. I don’t feel like you effectively countered - or even tried to counter - most of my arguments from Round 2. As such, I don’t feel the need to specifically rebut any of your assertions.

What I will do is try to re-word my case using some context from your most recent post.

To start, allow me to reiterate that I believe the First Amendment is more critically important than the 2nd. In that I agree with you. However, I fail to see how that pertains to whether the 2nd amendment should exist. Yes, talking is better. So what? Our First Amendment is not guaranteed by anything other than a piece of paper. Like the Second Amendment, it can ripped up, overturned, burned, or made irrelevant by circumvention.

Guns to protect Liberty

You again proclaim the value of Free Speech and international aid, however you offered to rebuttal to the fact the the U.S. is the world’s dominant economic and military power. No one will come to our aid. Do you know why no one came to save the 40 million unarmed people who were killed in the Soviet Union and Communist China? Because they were too big to be easily bullied by international outrage.

Modern Military 101, Citizenry dwarfs Military

You belittle the idea that civilians can assists in the defense of a nation, yet offer nothing more than bluster to support your view. There are 1.5 millions enlisted U.S. military personnel [7]. Total U.S. population is estimated around 310 million [8]. As of 2007, the ratio of guns: citizens was almost 1:1 [9]. The military is estimated to have over 3 million guns [10]. Point being, citizen guns outnumber military guns 10:1. Whether in defense of the nation as an assistance to the military, or in defense of liberty in opposition to the military. Please offer some evidence to refute these numbers or more compelling logic than the idea that nuclear and bio-chemical warfare render guns irrelevant. They don’t. A ruling government needs living citizens to have a nation. A foreign invader still needs to physically secure territory to have it “won.” Our chronic trouble in Iraq and Afghanistan - despite our “Military 101” dominance - provide plenty of evidence that. As with sports, wars aren’t won on paper.


You offer no statistical evidence that guns are directly correlated with violence. I have presented from the Harvard Law Journal that says gun possession was inversely correlated to murder [1]: in other words, more guns per capita equated to lower murder rates during the study period. Please make a case utilizing something more than opinion. You also acknowledged that long-range protection is a valid use in some states.

Defense against Tyranny

This is the most compelling reason to me.

You quote John Locke, “for liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others.”

Allow me to suggest a larger context for Locke’s thoughts. In addition to being a peace-loving and exceedingly rational man, Locke recognized that peace required both civilian and government humility. He was aware that wealth inequality was a recipe for tyranny: “Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.” And most importantly, he recognized that “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” [3] He believed that when government forsook its responsibility to rule with restraint, when it veered into oppression, it was the right - even the obligation - of citizens to revolt. From Wikipedia [4]:

“The concept of the right of revolution was also taken up by John Locke in Two Treatises of Government as part of his social contract theory. Locke declared that under natural law, all people have the right to life, liberty, and estate; under the social contract, the people could instigate a revolution against the government when it acted against the interests of citizens, to replace the government with one that served the interests of citizens. In some cases, Locke deemed revolution an obligation. The right of revolution thus essentially acted as a safeguard against tyranny.”

Here I suppose I must rehash the evidence that the U.S. government is already engaged in political repression (Islamic fundamentalism) and in danger of embracing broader oppression. You seem to be under the impression that the First Amendment is iron-clad, a right and option that will always be available. I believe history says otherwise. As Hebert Hoover said, “It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.” We see it now in Russia. It is not a new story in the history of the world. Under Germany’s Weimer Republic (1918-1933) “Censorship was strictly forbidden.” In 1933, the Nazi party was elected into power. Censorship started under the “Minister of Propaganda”, for the good of the country, and the rest is history [12]. Please provide a compelling and evidence-based argument for how Free Speech is guaranteed to remain safe-guarded in the United States. Again, to reiterate, two centuries of past success is just that: past. All that matters from here is the future.

There are reasons to be concerned about the American future. I believe we are seeing the Bill Rights eaten away already as the First and Fourth amendments are well under attack. In Round 2, I provided a long list of ways in which the U.S. government has started down the path toward political oppression. I have also shown evidence of increasing wealth disparity [5], its destructive influence on the political system (0.4% of the population accounts for 65% of the political contributions!!! [6]) and quoted from more reputable sources than myself on the catastrophic societal risks associated with wealth disparity.

To repeat Justice Brandeis, since I think he said is as well as anyone, “we can have democracy in this country, or can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

I have explained why wealth disparity leads to political corruption and provided evidence that the U.S. government has acted in both violently oppressive [13] and illegal ways [14]. And just for good measure, the current administration has asserted that it can kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil too [15].

It seems to me the right to bear arms is a very sensible one to keep around at this point in U.S. history.

Please, DT, either refute the evidence or both an argument with more cogency and less sass. Preferably both.
















Debate Round No. 3


*** You said that America is the most powerful nation on earth, and if it becomes tyrannical, no one will come to the citizen’s aid. You use Russia and China as examples.

How do armed mom and pops without chain of command actually

deter the US military that was designed to have land, sea and air superiority?

You validated this yourself by stating that the US government is now keeping a hit-list, has mass surveillance programs, and is now Too Big to Curtail. Isn't this evidence that the government is NOT deterred by the large number of guns Americans are keeping in their homes?

Far from resolving the conflict, armed cowboys firing here and there
will simply justify military retaliation in the name of the collective right to defend the state. Modern Syria is the case in point.

Exercise your right to free-speech and assembly, enact balance of
power, promote transparency, civil disobedience, vote!

I included the examples of Egypt and the Arab Spring to show that you don’t need external influence and aid for change to happen. They relied solely on free-speech and assembly while cognizant that use of guns will disenfranchise their cause.

In the case of Egypt, the military instead of being used as tool of oppression, came to the aid of the citizens!

I argue that the same is even more likely in the US where the 1st amendment is institutionalized and has been the engine of its modern success.

The day the US abandons the 1st amendment is the day they break the Union and together with it, the power of the aspiring tyrant.

The problem here it seems is that you measure power by how much you inflict physical hurt.

Trust me - Edward Snowden is hurting the government much more than the millions of guns in America’s basement. He is the one solving the problems you mentioned – the hit-list, surveillance programs and too big to curtail.


But how are they in support of your arguments? Their
protracted history of internal conflict and civil war for the most part of the 20th century is proof that guns don’t solve anything.

In Chechnya, guns and bombs didn’t further their cause. They are labeled terrorists and dealt with decisively by Putin’s military.

China’s Cultural Revolution. Very horrific example of how civil revolts are efficiently crushed.

Communism’s economic downfall, and not guns, led to the collapse of the USSR and Communist China.

*** You said that use of guns reduce murder


It used “gun murder rates as % of
population” to compare the US with European countries with relatively lower population. And when it came to listing the total number of people killed, it blatantly
omitted the figure for the US.

study also purposely limited itself to “gun deaths” without addressing the broader statistics of “gun violence” especially in the perpetration of crime.


alluded that weapons are in fact needed for self-defense except that guns should
be replaced with modern tools.

Electric-shock weapons are better since they are designed to decisively end the altercation
but without unnecessarily ending the life of the assailant, which if dead, is denied justice.

George Zimmerman can still accomplish his goal of defending himself with a Taser but with the bonus of equally letting Trayvon Martin have his day in court.


ignored the other part of the equation where “granting” the right to guns meant
that anyone has unrestricted access to not just ordinary guns, but the most lethal ones capable of killing several dozens of people beyond what is required for self-defense.

And the US certainly tops the statistics when it comes to mass murder with military-style weapons.

*** You quoted John Locke in the Defense for Tyranny when his context was not exclusive to Guns.


You solve this
with sound fiscal and economic policies.



However, He didn’t say we
should limit the exercise of revolution to one specific technological tool!!!

I have highlighted several times, that in the modern world when faced with overwhelming military power, the best tool for revolution is free-speech, assembly, and everything that wrought Cardinal Richelieu to say “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

Modern revolutions are no longer exclusive to the use of an armed force. In fact, it was the persistent restraint not to use violence which made them more potent. It was the power of the letter of persuasion and conviction that evoked the passions of the masses for a peaceful revolution. And I’m sure John Locke wouldn’t be more pleased with these examples -

    • India 1930
    • Czechoslovakia 1968
    • Portugal 1974
    • Iran 1979
    • The Philippines 1986, and 2001
    • Baltic States 1989
    • Germany 1989
    • Bulgaria 1989
    • Romania 1990
    • Slovakia/Crotia 2000
    • Georgia 2003, and 2007
    • Ukraine 2004
    • Lebanon 2005
    • Belarus 2005
    • Moldova 2005
    • Mongolia 2005
    • Occupy Wall Street 2011
    • Arab Spring 2011-2013

      Can you give a similar
      list in the modern world were armed citizenry led a successful revolt?


And in the modern Information Age, peaceful revolts and not violence are the dominant avenues to
counter oppressive regimes.

If there’s any real utility, guns offer nothing but a false sense of security.

It’s like the massage chair. You think you need it but once you have it, you know it’s useless.

At the end of the day, if you like to put contraptions that shoots metal as part of the constitution, why not the Toilet? It has more utility - Sanitation is better than Revolution!

Sources -




Thanks for your thoughtful response.

You have made an articulate and impassioned case for why the First Amendment - specifically the freedom of speech - is a more important and more effective means of revolution than gunfire. I couldn’t agree more. I ask you re-read my opening statement from Round 2 as perhaps you missed it. There is no debate between us on that matter.

But this debate is about whether the 2nd Amendment is an “outdated piece of sh**, not how it compares to other Amendments. If you want to see an irrelevant-looking Amendment, try the 3rd [3].

Your entire argument is predicated on Freedom of Speech, and the existence thereof. And that’s exactly the point. Free speech is not a given. The reason I mentioned the 40 million killed in the Soviet Union and Communist China wasn’t just because the people were unarmed, it was because the people had no voice. They were persecuted and killed exactly FOR speaking out against their government. That has been the hallmark of tyranny throughout human history. Hitler was democratically elected and chipped away at freedom of speech until it no longer existed. As I have pointed out ad nauseum above, recent U.S. administrations have been effectively “chipping away” at the first amendment for a decade now, and have only escalated their attacks against dissent. And when there is no freedom of speech, when tyranny is upon us, I would much rather be in the position of Chechnyan rebels fighting oppression with guns than Chinese dissenters being run over by tanks.

Onto a couple of specific rebuttals:

I did not say “guns reduce murder.” You are, once again, creating straw men. Re-read my round 1 entry. I said “this research survey... suggests..”. They are not the same thing. You complain that the study “blatantly omitted” the U.S. Of course it did, it was a study of European nations. What has that to do with anything? It was a study of how gun possession correlates to murder. Geography is irrelevant. Unless you believe culture murders people, not guns. Then geography would be very relevant. As it happens, homicide and violent crime has been sliding in the U.S. for twenty years despite rapidly climbing gun ownership [2].

As for guns as self-defense, I don’t content that tasers aren’t better in most social settings. They are. But again, that is not the debate. Automobiles are generally more useful than bikes, but it doesn’t mean bikes should be outlawed.

You bring up the straw of “military-style” weapons in the hands of civilians. Huh? First, in the opening round you said “this is not a policy debate...” That subject seems to be the essence of gun-policy discussion. Secondly, after belittling the idea of civilians defending either themselves against tyranny or their nation against invaders, it seems the presence of “military style” weapons would run counter to your argument. I agree there are a lot of them. I am not making a case for or against a policy that legalizes them. But as it stands, there are indeed military grade weapons in the hands of civilians. You can’t both complain that citizens are helpless AND complain that there are too well-armed. Your straw men are burning each other.

You presented an interesting list of nations that you say have used peaceful means to enact political change (funny that you had “Occupy Wall Street” - wouldn’t it have been nice if they could have accomplished something? Maybe impacted those wealth inequality figures I mentioned in Round 2? But alas, Republicans and Democrats are on the same side: the banks that have bought them [4]). But to the more important point: what about nations who have NO freedom of speech/expression AND no guns? Here I give you the 40 million DEAD in the Soviet Union and Communist China. The millions killed in North Korea. And that’s the point: how do you defend against tyrants WITHOUT the freedom to speak against them.

You said that John Locke’s “context was not exclusive to guns.” I agree. But he did write in greater detail about the violent lengths he thought were appropriate when faced with tyranny:

John Locke [1]: ““And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; ...And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.”

I take from those words that John Locke strongly supported the idea of an armed citizenry.

I think you and I have a fundamental difference in how we view history. You may believe we have entered a “new age” where “peaceful revolts and not violence are the dominant avenues to counter oppressive regimes.” I pray that this is indeed the case. And I think, in general, it has been for the last 30 or 40 years. But there are 6000 years of human history suggesting the lure of tyranny is ever-present for those with sufficient access to power. The relatively peaceful last 40 years can easily lure us into a “recency bias” [5] that suggests we have indeed entered a “new age” of peaceful resolutions. Personally, I think history is cyclical. Technologies change, but the cycle of human behavior does not. Tyrants will rise again, here or elsewhere, and the one day long after they are gone people will once again think they will never return.

The question for Pro that is pertinent to this debate is: if Freedom of Speech were to be circumvented or removed altogether, as has happened repeatedly through history under tyrannical regimes, how does Pro suggest a citizenry defend itself and oppose tyrannical oppression?

In the past, there has been no means of fighting back. The citizens can only wait and hope for economic collapse (as happened to the Soviet Union) or a foreign invader.

And please don’t say it’s impossible or it can’t happen anymore. I believe you are smarter than that. It can happen anywhere. All it takes is a charismatic leader and lackadaisical citizenry that doesn’t fear the possibility of tyranny.

Dear voters,
Pro has constructed numerous straw men through the course of this debate, but I trust you the voters will read my commentary for yourselves and vote accordingly. I believe I have shown that an armed citizenry (especially a citizenry as ridiculously well-armed as that of the U.S.) can help in defend the nation against a foreign invader and help combat an oppressive regime were peaceful options (i.e. freedom of speech) to be removed. I have also shown studies detailing a lack of direct correlation between guns and violent crime. My adversary’s case revolved around the idea that Freedom of Speech is a better means of political revolution than guns. Here here! I couldn’t agree more. But what has that do with this debate?

Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by henryajevans 3 years ago
Although there is little to no correlation in the countries between guns and murder rates, there is a strong negative correlation between median GDP per capita and murder rate. In Finland, there are fewer murders because they have a rather equal distribution of wealth and a good standard of living; conversely, in Russia, there are more murders because of the low standard of living and an unequal distribution of wealth.
Posted by dj21 3 years ago
DT, my hope and expectation is that using the free speech and civil disobedience you advocated, the question of our own military's might is never tested. Hopefully the 'tea party' folks and the 'occupy wall-streeters' realize they are facing the same opponent and join forces at some point to create genuine change that alters the current landscape of wealth disparity.
Posted by dj21 3 years ago
DT, thanks for a fun debate. As I said during the debate, I agree quite strongly with you about the importance and power of free speech. You are quite right that it's the better approach for poliitcal dissent and it has been very heartening to see some of the recent instances of successful political dissent via media exposure. Sunlight is indeed the great disinfectant. And that is exactly what concerns me about recent American politics - the strident push against transparency from the last two administrations.

One place where I do genuinely disagree is with your assertion that modern military technology renders any insurgency useless. The fact that poorly armed, poorly trained and poorly coordinated Iraqis and Afghanis have prevented the U.S. from establishing firm control in those countries. I speaks to the lose-lose proposition presented by armed civilians. The civilian insurgents have nothing to lose (they have already lost their freedom, all that's left is life, and I imagine any worthwhile political insurgent considers the cause more important than their life), while the military is in a no-win situation (either kill civilians - possibly innocent ones (bad for public support) or risk excess caution and suffer casualties from innocent-looking civilians. I think modern warfare has made our military much better at certain kinds of war, but much less prepared for other scenarios. Any scenario where their technology is disabled (cut off fuel supply, massive power outages, etc), they are far more vulnerable. And scenario that would require a massive supply of troops would be tough. Point being, our military is awesome, but no one and no thing is unbeatable.
Posted by DT 3 years ago
Debate is about having fun regardless of your personal opinion of the issues at hand...but if I have ruffled some feathers, that was unintended ;)

I think you would be surprised if I'm the one defending the CON ;)

But as I am the PRO today, I stated and motion and presented my arguments exactly I intended it to get attention but they are NOT attacks against gun owners, which unforuntately is always the biased characterization of any arguments against the 2nd amendment.

My case is simply that modern militaries will never be deterred by armed citizens with no advanced technologies and chain of command, and that in the dozen of modern examples I have given, it is the exercise of free-speech and assembly that made the peacful revolution successful and that use of guns (Syria, Russia, China, Myanmar) would diminish their legitimacy and would have caused them to fail.

I think these examples are from "straw man" arguments because these are real events. I obviously want to skip philosophy and focus on reality instead.

Thank you for dj21 for participating and congratulations in advance ;)
Posted by dj21 3 years ago
Well said from my perspective, leonard.
Posted by leonardlewis4 3 years ago

The fact that we no longer have militias (to any great degree), does not abolish the necessary preconditions for maintaining or establishing a real deterrent to the rise of a tyrannical federal government.
Posted by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
Not only has the concept of "separation of church and state" evolved into something of a departure from what was originally intended, the phrase does not exist in the constitution. The phrase, originally "wall of separation between church and state", was from Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, subsequently referenced by newspaper articles, etc..."and was first referenced by the US Supreme Court in 1878, and then later in a series of cases starting in 1947.

Also notable, it was not originally intended (nor interpreted) to apply at the state level... The word "state" was in reference to the Federal Government, not a particular state government.

The point is... Apparently, at least with respect to the establishment/free exercise clauses, liberal/expansive interpretations of the US Constitution do not mandate explicit enumeration as to every possible detail of "intent" or consequence of "the spirit" of the law. And why should that same rule of interpretation not apply to the 2nd Amendment?

In other words, if we can get where we are with "separation of church and state" from where we began"based (presumably) on the fear of government-endorsed religious tyranny, I think we can safely assume that the spirit of the 2nd amendment does not preclude the idea that an armed citizenry would be one of the greatest deterrents to the return of tyrannical government in any sense (religious or otherwise).

Note: It can be argued 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. intended to declare and virtually ensure the preconditions for a well-regulated militia. From the founders perspective, if we are to have a well-regulated militia (in that day and age), it must consist of an armed citizenry.
Posted by dj21 3 years ago
Interesting. You can make a case that the "right to bear arms" exists in the context of a militia, and is thusly (and for only that reason) important. And given our large Federal armed forces, the idea of a local militia is indeed antiquated. You can make an interesting case.

I would argue that the value of bearing arms (to protect citizens from a tyrannical government and empower civilian revolt) is of great importance... but alas, unrelated to the actual wording of the 2nd Amendment. Ha. Kind of like how the concept of "separation of church of state" has evolved into something quite useful, thought quite far afield of what was originally meant.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was certainly proud of his own ideas and bold in his wild characterizations of what he considered to be "the old ways". However, he provided very little substance in back of his positions. On the other hand, Con provided clear refutations (agree or not) to virtually every one of Pro's arguments. I also agree with Con that Pro was more about tearing down straw men than Con's real arguments.
Vote Placed by ConservativeAmerican 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better conduct, after Pro started getting impassioned, didn't give Con a greeting before starting his argument. Con used more sources and more edu and gov sources. Con's arguments were somewhat impassioned, but more based off of logic and rational thinking than Pro's,