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

The Right to Own , Keep, and Bear Arms

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,017 times Debate No: 22070
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)




The Right to Own, Keep, and Bear Arms is an individual right, and one that law abiding citizens should be free to exercise without fear of the government restricting this right. That the right to self defense is a basic human right, and should not be infringed upon. That his right actually makes society safer, not more dangerous, to live in.

The first round will just be for acceptance, the following three will be for the actual debate.

I accept any challenger, but please keep this a respectful debate.


I Accept Your Challenge! I ask that any and all sources be sited with the arguments. Also, I'd like to para metricize the scope of the resolution to the United States, as i Assume this is what my opponent will be arguing. This will be where i will be negating the resolution. I wish my opponent good luck!

Cons BOP should be to just refute pro's case. If Con is missing anything feel free to point it out in the next speech.

(Copying Imabench here)
Debate Round No. 1


Agreed, this will be kept within the scope of the United States.

It is Pro's position that the United States Constitution guarantees that the right to weaponry. And I quote, "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" (Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as found on

Pro believes that this statement reflects both the individuality of the Second Amendment, and the basic ideal that it is one of the "unalienable rights" that the Founding Fathers alluded to in the Declaration of Independence (Second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence as found on


I typed up a 7000 word Arguments list and it got deleted somehow even though it said auto saved... (Here we go again...) I thank my opponent for an intellectually stimulating Debate Challenge. Before i begin with Refutations, I'd like to state something. This debate is about whether the right to own, keep, and bear arms should be a right. Simply saying it's in the constitution doesn't give ground for automatically making it a right. Pro needs to link his legal arguments to the benefits of this right, while con gives the harms. I as con will proceed to do this now.

My opponent argument is centered around the Constitution, but theres a few problems in his argumentation.

1- Links- He doesn't prove why this right should be exercised freely. Just because something is legal, does not mean it is moral and vice versa. He doesn't give any benefits to this right, so you can't simply look towards his unalienable rights argument because this isn't shown to give benefits, unlike all other unalienable rights.

2- Status Quo- Here's where the heavy argumentation will begin. Status Quo [1] is Latin for "The State in which". So for this argument, we will be looking at the state in which we live in today. The United States Constitution was Signed on September 17th, 1787 [2], over 224 years ago. The Treaty of Paris, the Treaty that effectively ended the American Revolution and sent the British packing was signed on September 3rd, 1783 [3]. It was safe to say, at this time, America was an extremely young nation, the federal government, adopted after the signing of the constitution, was busy with it's own matters, such as the debt amounted from the American Revolution. Colonists were in constant fear of an attack from overseas (Britain) Law enforcement was non existent, there was no army except these colonist run militias, and there was no way of defending oneself from imminent danger. This 2nd Amendment may have been applicable at that point in time, but jumping ahead 224 years, and looking at the status quo, we can see this is no longer true. Law Enforcement solves for the second amendment. The whole reason we do not need gun's for protection, is because we have law enforcement. The police, court systems, etc. There were no established benefits to the Second amendment, which in this day and age would create hostilities that could lead to even more violence. A gun is a scary thing to have when walking into a grocery store, knowing others around you have one as well. Police are often looked at differently, not because of their uniforms, but because they have a gun, sitting in it's holster ready to be shot at a moments notice. There are no benefits, only harms that accompany the second amendment if ordinary citizens who were untrained in even using a gun are given one. For example, Guns are often used to try and solve problem, leading to far greater consequences, such as in Road Rage [4] , Abortion [5] , and Gay Marriage [6]. Clearly the consequences to enacting such a right, and using guns in our every day life will cause far greater consequences.

3- Moral Agents- The Guns are not the major problem, it is the agents that use them. By agents, i mean human beings, able to understand their own concepts of a subjective form of morality. We need to look at the motives of human beings who use guns, aside from law enforcement, and we can easily establish the clear harms of gun possesion and the lack of control. Gun Accidents alone kill 500 kids a year. According to the Center for Disease Control,[8] In the year 2007 12,129 Died from homicides involving fire arms, 17,348 died from suicide with a firearm, and 721 died from an accidental discharge of a firearm. In 2000, there were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental fatal gunshot injuries in the United States [9] (Sorry for Wikipedia). We cannot be trusted to use fire arms in a community, without proper training and proven intentions. This is why we have law enforcement. This right compleely undermines law enforcement effectively eliminating it, allowing the community to take matters into it's own hands through pure violence (which obviously is bad).Violence equates to more violence, allowing even 1 simple dischage can spark an uproar and lead to deaths in a community. This is precisely why we cannot allow just anyone to excercise this right, and why there are restrictions when dealing with gun control. My opponent is basically advocating more violence, and no benefits from this.

4- Self-Defense- [10]. As stated before, Violence escalates more violence, which law enforcement solves for. This means that using a gun in self defense equates to a cycle of violence that leads to no benefis for either side, on top of that once again this is undermining law enforcement. Stephen and Walter Wink, of the St. Louis University Law Journal Explain that the Cycle of Violence is counterintuitive to what self defense is trying to achieve, yet self defense leads to the cycle of violence. This means that self- defense using guns is condescending to the system of morality it seeks to transcend. [11]

For these reasons i strongly urge a con vote. Thank you for taking the time to read this debate and good luck to my opponent.

[11] Cycle of Violence- Stephen and Walter Wink
Debate Round No. 2


Firstly, Pro would like to simply state that, without the right to own weaponry, the United States would not exist simply due to the fact that a motley crew of farmers and small business owners would be marching on the British Army with pitchforks.

Secondly, the very fact that the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment into the Constitution shows that they believed it to be a right.

And Thirdly, as to self defense, Pro would like to point out that states and cites that allow the private ownership of firearms are much safer than those states and cities who either heavily regulate or outright ban it. Statistics on this can be found in the book "More Guns, Less Crime" by John R. Lott, Jr. For statistics and stories of how civilians who exercise the Second Amendment are benefited, Pro suggests reading articles from the publication "America's First Freedom". As for law enforcement officers, they not everywhere that they are needed, and are only able to respond to incidents once they are notified. Whereas, a well armed citizenry is everywhere and is able to respond as the incident takes place.

Finally, in response to the viscous cycle argument. If I am a law abiding citizen (civilian), and if I kill someone that is trying to kill me or otherwise cause unrest in society through violent means, then I have successfully stopped the cycle of violence because I won, and the aggressor is dead.

Any other issues or comments regarding firearms are nothing more than scare tactics an ad hom fallacies.


Extensions Extensions Extensions time!!!!!! I thank my opponent for his last speech, and refutations. Now let's go ahead and look towards some unaddressed arguments by pro.

1- Links argument. He's not linking the constitution to anything, this ties in with the Status Quo argument. Extend this argument, he hasn't shown any benefits whatsoever once again (and no sources on top of that aside from citing a website that has the constitution) So let's go to his first attempted refutation. He states without weaponry in small businesses 224 YEARS AGO, The U.S would not be here. Con is not saying anything from that period judges, con is refuting through the Status Quo! Pro is basically misunderstanding cons entire argumentation! In no way does he address this day and age, instead his immediate attacks rest on the assumption that i am talking about the past (Clearly Status Quo, So no).

Extend point 1- Impact- Without showing a link between benefits of a right, and the right itself, pro is not being moral by trying to enact a right that causes more bad than it does good.

2- Status Quo!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray for the Status quo! We now look into the modernization of such rights and amendments, and this has gone thoroughly untouched. As i stated in my last speech, this is where the heavy argumentation begins!! My opponent failed to address this! His attempt at a refutation was quote "The very fact that the Founding Fathers put the Second amendment into the Constitution shows that they believe it to be right.". He completely misunderstands this argument!! I am in no way looking towards 224 years ago, i'm looking towards the 21st century, the century in which we currently live. We have no idea how the founding fathers may react in this day and age if they were to see the 21st century, and if they would still enforce the constitution.

Extend Point 2-Impact- My Opponents resolution is centered around having the right to bear arms NOW in this present day and age, without government restriction. Con is disproving the benefits of such a right through the Status Quo, which was not touched once as my opponents refutation was a founding father reference that does not apply now. This heavily impacts the round because cons sources and arguments stand, meaning that the right to keep, own, and bear arms is indeed harmful. My opponent is basically advocating harms through guns.

3- Moral Agents- Not touched once, Extend please.

Extend Point 3- Impact- We have no way of knowing how people, may react with guns. Statistics show people don't use guns in good ways, hostilities become shootouts, simple arguments become deadly. This shows giving guns is counter-intuive to preciesely the reason we give people guns- for protection. My opponent will not argue against the fact that guns were made for protection (more or less). Thus you can see moral agency is a big part of this case.

4-Self Defense- My opponent simply tells you to read sources on self defense. He then says if i kill somone trying to kill me it is fine. Proportionality is key in this. If a man were to try to punch me, i could use the same argument "He is trying to kill me" and pull out a gun to shoot the man. This was in no way proportional. Stephen and Walter Wink state the cycle of violence escalates by using disproportional force.

Extend Point 4- Impact- The cycle of violence is counter-intuitive to the reason we use guns in the first place. It would create a disproportional means of using self defense. We cannot sit here and allow this. This is both immoral and illegal, unless proven. The fact of the matter is, a man coming at me with his fists in a small fight does not have the means to kill me. The means beats the ends in this occurrence, because he dies in the end, yet i go away free knowing the man wasn't going to kill me. This is an abusive way to enforce self-defense and should not be tolerated.

So as you can see, all 4arguments against this right go cleanly extended by con. Con even gives each impact, so please vote con, pro never really refuted a single argument nor provided a credible source, rather asking you to read a book to understand. I suggest pro summarizes this book and puts it on his next rebuttal. As no new arguments can be made, you will see Point 3 already hasn't been touched, so you already have 1 100% voter for con. Based on this i stronglurge a con ballot. Sources easily to con as well.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent continues to misunderstand the reasons for my argument. Pro will attempt to reiterate for the better understanding of the opposition.

First of all, Pro did attempt to link the argument by citing the Constitution, by stating that the Founding Fathers did believe it to be fundamental right, and by attempting to give a benefit of that right by stating the book by John R. Lott, Jr. and the current publication "America's First Freedom". Therefore, I will again state the benefits of this right: 1) In today's society, there are people who wish to do harm to others through various means. Weaponry of any kind aids law abiding citizens by empowering them with tools by which to defend themselves. 2) Con gave the example of an aggressor approaching with his fists. It is Pro's position that even though a weapon is not seen, that that individual may have a weapon, and thus if I believe my life to be in danger, then I have the right to use whatever means necessary to preserve my own life.

Secondly, Pro believes that the owning of weaponry by law abiding citizens does not contribute to more harm in society, as my opponent is mistakenly stating. Weaponry in itself is harmless, a firearm cannot shoot unless someone pulls the trigger. Therefore, an argument from John R. Lott's book, "I'm less likely to break into a house in neighborhood where guns are owned than I am to break into a neighborhood where guns aren't owned" (An interview with a convicted burglar in the book "More Guns, Less Crime". Criminals cause harm, not weapons. If law abiding citizens are free to own and carry weapons, then they are able to prevent harm by intervening in crimes effectively. For more reports of law abiding citizens using weaponry to protect one another, please read some of the articles in "America's First Freedom", there are too many, and are too lengthy, to list here.

Thirdly, to respond to my opponents continued "moral agents" claim, weapons in themselves do not cause harm, it is people who cause harm. To take away the right that civilians have to weaponry can and has put them at the mercy of terrible people. Consider modern Iran and Syria, which do not allow the private ownership of weapons. Or China at Tienanmen Square in the 70's. Weapons are a defense against terrible people, and should not be infringed upon.

Finally, as stated before, the "viscous cycle" of violence as stated by Con breaks down in an armed society. The reasoning for this goes back to the interview in Lott's book. Criminals are afraid of armed citizens. And as I stated before, in a scenario where I would consider using a weapon to defend myself, I do not know the intentions of the aggressor. Therefore, in the effort to save my own life, and possibly the lives of others, I have a moral obligation to use everything in my power to stop the aggressor. And as I stated in my example, from my previous argument, if I maim, kill, or otherwise remove the aggressor from the equation, the violence stops because there is no more aggressor. Therefore, an armed citizenry has the ability to remove violent aggressors from the equation.

And as Con suggested, the book, "More Gun, Less Crime" is a multiple year study done by Dr. John R. Lott, Jr. n the impact of firearms and gun control laws in the United States, done on a county by county basis for the years of 1977 to 1994. This study showed those counties, cities, and states with relaxed or nonresistant gun control laws were safer than those areas with heavy restrictions.

As for Con's point of not having credible sources, Con cited Wikipedia, which is not a reliable source. Whereas Pro cited a book written by a PhD in Political Science, John R. Lott, Jr. So stating that I did not have reliable sources is a red herring, and an automatic vote for Pro.


Let's address the rebuttals without further adeu. The order will be Refutations then Extensions.


1) Links- My opponents only argument was that the founding fathers saw benefits to this. Tie this argument in with the Status Quo, of which my opponent does not understand. According to my opponent, in today's society people wish to do harm by other means. This is a fact, however, by eliminating the possibility of guns, we are in fact minimizing harms. Secondly, A concealed weapon would tie under the tensions and hostilities arguments at the end of my point 2 of the status quo, in which all arguments escalated into deadly violence due to gun use and possession.

His arguments 2) and 3 can be tied together, both are about moral agency. Judges very quickly, I ask that you please re-read my Point 3 of Moral Agents, and cross apply that entire Point to his arguments two and three. My opponent does not understand my moral agency argument. In fact he basically restates it by saying quote "Weapons in themselves do not cause harms,it is people who cause harm." End quote. This is precisely what point 3 was explaining, that people are irrational, that they have different morals, different ideals, and any simple argument can escalate into violence when given the right tool, such as a gun.

Finally Let's go to my Cycle of violence argument. My opponent is escalating a cycle of violence that we seek to transcend. This occurs through fear, through power, through one man or woman having all the power. This is strengthened by his own argument against my point, about Criminals being afraid of citizens. What about citizens of other citizens? What if an accidental discharge were to occur? Or an argument were to escalate to a level of violence that may lead on dead?

So i stated my opponent gave no credible sources. Let me clarify exactly what i mean judge. He hasn't given impacts for any of his arguments or any sources to back them up, he simply throws out facts and books and assumes that they will be his entire argument. In Round 3, he brought up 2 books, neither of which he explained, gave impacts for, or even argumentation. He asked you to read them instead. In my Round 3 i brought this up once again, i asked him to make it clearer for you the judge and for me the opponent, he still hasn't completely addressed his books in their entirety. Also, even if you as the judge do not like wikipedia (I completely understand, i apologize for citing it) You will still look at the other 9 credble resources used and give sources to con.

Now for Extensions,to keep matters clean, i ask that all extensions be given the same impact from round 3 as they still have the exact same ground and no refutations (Round 3 impacts in bold)

Links- My opponent never clearly gave the benefits of this right until his last speech. Technically, Rebuttals require no new argumentation or evidence, but even then, you can see my opponent fails to apply to the links argumentation.

Status Quo- My opponent unfortunately, until the very end kept looking towards the past, 224 years ago. Only now (in the final round) is my opponent addressing the Status Quo. He still has not addressed any of the evidence that amounted in that paragraph, nor the impacts. Thus you extend the Status Quo.

Moral agents- An extension can occur if the argument was not attacked correctly. My refutation of his arguments just brought up in this round against this point were that my opponent essentially restated this argument in saying that quote " weapons in themselves do not cause harm, it is people who cause harm." End Quote. He never proves these people who wield the guns will use them correctly, that common citizens can be trusted with guns. Even if you don't buy this argument, you still have to buy the impact and extend that, because it was untouched.

Self Defense- Untouched, plain and simple.

Through all these arguments your going to give con sources.

I urge a con ballot from the 4 arguments by con against pro, which pro never refuted, con has successfully fulfilled his BOP and Pro has not. All impacts still apply from round 3, and pro fails to truly acknowledge the Status Quo. Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and please vote con.

Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Yep 4 years ago
This debate is about whether this right should be a right, that comment you just made has no relevance in comparison to my arguments. My arguments focus on the benefits/harms of such a right, and the reasoning for it's existence. You clearly misinterpreted this quote, but thanks anyway!
Posted by DMW 4 years ago
Con: "Simply saying it's in the constitution doesn't give ground for automatically making it a right"

Article VI
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Second Amendment
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

I would think that as the Constitution is the Law of the Land as dictated by Article VI, that because the Second Amendment of the Constitution articulates the phrase "the RIGHT of the people to keep and bear arms", that a right dictated by the Law of the Land is, in fact, a right without question - would you not agree?

There is no mistake in the wording of the Constitution.
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
My pic is better ;D
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by WriterDave 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Self-explanatory, I think.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: To prove a right exists, Pro has to give a reason for having that right in the first place. My opinion, the strongest argument for Pro is the right to self-defense. Con counters by arguing that more violence as the result of supposed self-defense is not always justified, "proportionality" is key. Pro does not push the argument. The other key point was Con's argument that not everyone deserves the right, as we cannot know that people will use guns correctly.
Vote Placed by Buddamoose 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro just couldnt fulfill BoP.