The Instigator
Chickenman
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
dullurd
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

The ban of all automatic and semi-automatic firearms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,591 times Debate No: 632
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (16)

 

Chickenman

Pro

In 2002 2,893 children under the age of 19 were killed by a gun. Every day 45 people commit suicide with a gun. That's 16,425 per year.

One argument backing the allowance of firearms in our country is that it is protected by the second ammendment. It reads, "The right to form 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."

Where are the militias? If that is the whole reason behind owning firearms, why don't we mandate service in some sort of militia when firearms are purchased? Guns are the reason for death for almost 35,000 American citizens per year. There were only 210 in the UK in 2006.

Please tell me how the citizens of the US are helped by an ammendment that harms so many of our own people?
dullurd

Con

The second amendment is worded the way it is because the founders' underlying philosophy was that as a last resort, the citizens could provide a check on the government's power. The government was created with the sole purpose of protecting the rights of the citizenry. The Preamble to the Constitution states, that sometimes "in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another," a clear allusion to the American Revolution. Basically, if the government ever becomes so corrupted that change cannot be effected by peaceful means, the citizenry better have guns.

In the past few years, we have seen unprecedented contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution by our government. While I don't think we're about to slide into fascism, and that this mess will probably be fixed by the next President, it's important to seriously consider how much the current administration has gotten away with. While it's comforting to think that the USA will always be free, it's dangerous to assume this will happen without some formidable safeguards. Taking the right to bear arms away from citizens will only embolden the aspiring tyrants of the the future.

To provide some perspective on the statistics you cited in the opening of your argument, in the popular book Freakonomics, the author, Steven Levitt (who has lost a child of his own), makes a really interesting point about how dangerous guns are for children: far less dangerous than swimming pools. Swimming pools are about 100 times more likely to result in children's deaths than guns. Why is there no outcry to ban swimming pools? It's obvious: people love swimming pools and believe that parents ought to assume responsibility for those tragic drownings, and that it would be wrong to deny responsible citizens access to swimming pools due to the mistakes of an irresponsible minority. Guns, though objectively significantly less dangerous, get the bad rap because they do not conjure up happy childhood memories the way pools do.

Personally, I'm not into guns at all. I don't own one and probably never will. Hunting morally repels me, but I feel that it's unreasonable to pass judgment on others who have been brought up in very different circumstances than me. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and no one I knew (except for my Dad, actually) had guns. I had a BB gun that I'd shoot at soda cans but that's about it. If I'd grown up in a place where hunting was a lot more popular, the probability that I'd like to hunt would have been much higher. The fact of the matter is that lots of people love hunting and nearly all of them do it responsibly, and I think in a tolerant society that should carry some weight. After all, I eat meat like most people, so it's pretty hard to argue against the killing of animals when I subsidize it.

Finally, to restate the oft-repeated argument, banning guns will empower criminals. While responsible, law-abiding citizens will be rendered helpless, dangerous people, those with connections to the black market, will have free access. Additionally, similar to what drug prohibition has done, this will make the criminal rackets that sell guns richer, as they'll be able to raise their prices and will have a monopoly on the market.
Debate Round No. 1
Chickenman

Pro

You said that the government was created with the sole purpose of protecting the rights of the citizenry. Would you agree that it is also the purpose of the government to protect the lives of its citizens? Should tens of thousands needlessly die so that we will have weapons when a dictator tries to rise to power? Last time I checked the US is the most anti-communistic country on the planet. We were willing to involve ourselves in nuclear war because of our distaste in communism.

Your stance has a few problems. First of all, you took it from the preamble of the constitution, not the second amendment. Saying that we could possibly be helped in the worst of circumstances at the loss of thousands of lives doesn't make sense. The government should act in a way in which it does everything it can to ensure its citizens live safely.

You countered my stats by saying swimming pools are 100 times more deadly to kids. Are you implying that 3,000 dead innocent children is insignificant? WE ARE IN A WAR BECAUSE THREE THOUSAND AMERICANS WERE KILLED ON 9/11! Most swimming pool deaths are due to improper supervision or improper pool setup. You could equate getting shot on the street to being forcibly drowned. How many people are forcibly drowned per year? People jump into pools and let their kids play around them knowing they could drown. We don't go into everyday life expecting to be shot randomly, but it happens.

We have reached a stage in society where people go out and kill just because they are fed up with life. We can easily take the weapons out of their hands with a strong enforcement on a no weapon policy. Bush has no need to stop illegal weapons trading seeing as all weapons are allowed in the US any way. You failed to disprove or demerit my stats on the United Kingdom. They only allow hunting rifles and shotguns and in return recive only 210 deaths by gun.

I feel that if corruption was removed completely from this area of government an effective policy banning firearms could be made. This time please explain how your views are supported by the second amendment, not the preamble to the constitution
dullurd

Con

Wow, I messed up badly attributing that quote. It's actually the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. The reason I cited it is that it was signed by basically the same people who wrote the Constitution, so I think it's fair to bring it up if Founders' intent is what we're talking about here. The point is that our country was founded based on the idea that when no other recourse is available, citizens living under a tyrannical government ought to overthrow it, and even in 1776 that would be impossible if the government had guns but the citizens didn't. Do you think the American Revolution was immoral? I'm guessing you think it was a good thing, and it never would have happened if people didn't have guns. Obviously we live in a very different world today, but the fundamental facts remain the same. A disarmed populace is incapable of resisting the whims of a tyrannical government. And as I said in my previous argument, we oughtn't be complacent. History repeats itself, and things always are all right until they aren't.

As for the swimming pool vs. gun argument- my argument was that when it comes to deciding whether or not to permit people to have swimming pools, there's a tradeoff. If you let people have swimming pools, they'll kill children at 100 times the rate of guns, but most of the time this won't happen, and pools are fun. So in a very real way, if you believe that people ought to be permitted to have swimming pools, you have to agree it's worth the deaths that result. There's the same tradeoff with guns. Some people will be hurt due to carelessness, but most aren't, and many people really enjoy hunting/target practice/etc., it's a very popular hobby. As said before, I think it's important to discount any personal bias against guns when weighing this issue. I have no interest in them. So if you go by accidental death rate, you need to ban swimming pools before you ban guns.

As for non-accidental shootings, you need to ask yourself firstly, how many of those murderers get their guns legally? If they don't get them legally, those murders will still occur. With a gun ban, it's certain the rate of those murders would rise because there would be a vanishingly low chance of retaliation, and some law-abiding citizens who would have consented to background checks, etc. would be forced to acquire guns illicitly. For those who get their firearms legally, how many of those murders are premeditated? If they're premeditated, it's hard to see why a hunting rifle wouldn't do the trick.

Let's look at the demographic that would be most affected by a gun ban: second degree murder, in the heat of the moment, with legally obtained handguns. These would clearly go down. I would bet also, though, that you'll see lots more stabbings-to-death and beatings-to-death. A murderous rage is a murderous rage. While some murders without a gun ban would instead, under a gun ban, become severe maulings. So the deaths here would decrease. However, that alone is not enough to recommend a gun ban. First, you'd need to factor in the increase in deaths I pointed out in the above paragraph. Then with that considered, it'd still be illogical to ban them unless they're deadlier than swimming pools. Or you could ban both, but then you've have a bunch of wet, gun-toting people pissed off at you.

As for the UK, I don't think you can do the same cost-benefit analysis there as here, and it should involve a different statistic. There's nothing surprising about a country that bans guns having a low gun murder rate. But the real statistic of interest is overall murder rate. Side note: you need to use murder rates, not overall murders to compare countries. Another important thing to take into account is that the UK is a lot more racially homogeneous and integrated than the US. Blacks and, to a lesser degree, hispanics, are poorer and less integrated into society than others. Crime rates for most crimes are higher among poor people, but especially when they're members of a race that has been repeatedly subjected to discrimination and oppression. It's only natural. In addition, enough crimes are racially motivated that Congress passed hate crime laws. The UK is lily white by comparison and, in fact, as a metric of how different our countries are, there's a minor British political party called the British National Party whose website states:

"we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question. We will abolish the ‘positive discrimination' schemes that have made white Britons second-class citizens. We will also clamp down on the flood of ‘asylum seekers', all of whom are either bogus or can find refuge much nearer their home countries."

The US is sufficiently integrated so that a political party of this sort would never exist.
Debate Round No. 2
Chickenman

Pro

First of all it seems to me that the founding fathers made the ammendment for the creation of a militia. During the time of the revolution a state's survival depended on its militia. State pride was much more fierce then. A strong national army wasn't ready to protect its citizens. Today we have the strongest army on the planet. Individual states don't have to fight for their own survival anymore.

If guns are so important to the system of checks and balances, why isn't it taught in conjuction with checks and balances? We have entered an age where problems with the government are resolved peacefully. These tactics were successfully used by both Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi. They got what they wanted without having to take the lives of their opressors. In America the people hold the power. Their votes can make our break a tyrant. The people get what they vote for.

One defense backing the right to hold guns in the household is that they protect the families in any given particular home. Although this seems like it would be true it is actually the opposite. Dozens of medical studies have found that it is 8 to 10 times more likely that a firearm will hare a family member, not a criminal.

You have stated that hunting is a popular hobby for many Americans. An automatic and semi-automatic ban would only ban those weapons meant to specifically kill people. The single shot bolt action rifles that hunters use wouldn't be restricted.

Strong laws need to be put in place to control gun violence. Making the owner of an illegaly sold weapon responsible for crimes with that weapon would reduce the black market sell of weapons. Harsh prison sentances for a minor possessing a gun could reduce the amount of guns on the street. A stronger coast guard and boarder gaurd could slow the flow of illegal weapons. Our curent administration takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRA. The government has the power and means to stop the illegal trade if it had the desire to do so.

I think that if guns cannot be completely banned they need to at least be much more regulated.
dullurd

Con

Summarizing your points:
1) It seems to you that the reason for the wording of the 2nd amendment is that the US military was too weak, so state militias needed to be strong.

2) Schools don't teach that the 2nd amendment is a check on the government.

3) Nonviolence has worked, we can vote to effect change.

4) Studies have shown that guns are more likely to harm family members.

5) Hunters use bolt action rifles.

6) Harsher laws will scare criminals away from trafficking guns.

Responses:

1) That's certainly *a* reason, but I think I made a pretty logical argument earlier. To condense it: a) our founders believed that revolution is sometimes necessary and right to overthrow tyrannical governments. b) any government runs the risk of becoming tyrannical. c) it is impossible for the public to overthrow the government if it is largely disarmed. d) therefore, in order to provide this necessary safeguard, guns must be permitted.

2) There's a lot of debate today about public school curricula. Not this issue specifically, the bigger point is that school curricula are not the final word. My school blatantly lied to me about the dangers of marijuana, for example.

3) I agree that those methods are far better than violence when available. From the beginning of this debate, I have been arguing that a violent uprising is a last resort, and of course I hope that it will never be necessary.

4) This is definitely a strong point. One thing you need to also take into consideration, though, is the peace of mind it gives to millions of people. Many people are sincerely afraid of being burglarized or something. Taking away their guns and telling them "you'll probably will thank us for this" will not remove their fear. They will feel perpetually unsafe, which is a significant loss of utility (in economic terms) or if you prefer, quality of life.

5) I guess I don't understand why this is such a huge deal. I don't think most potential murderers will be upset to learn that they'll need to cock their gun before each shot.

6) This is just dead wrong and betrays a lack of understanding of economics. Economics predicts and history has shown that "cracking down" on any good, be it drugs or guns, only drives up prices and empowers those who are clever enough to circumvent the system.

One final point: the police. I'm assuming you aren't proposing disarming them. They'll still have semiautomatic and automatic weapons, right? The more you crack down on arms dealers and guns, the more corrupt cops who will take their place.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by johnwooding1 9 years ago
johnwooding1
Guns only breed violence and we must be more strict on gun control.
Posted by FrontLineConservative 9 years ago
FrontLineConservative
If someone is suicidal they will do anything to end their life. You can't blame the gun for that statistic.
Posted by countrylover 9 years ago
countrylover
gun owners never get the "freedom" they think they will if defending there family froma burgler who breaks into there home...so if you own a gun and think "innocent intill proven guilty"..wake up...peaple are always getting in trouble for using there gun..thats why i personally wont care to own one...cause if you try to protect your family..you loose anyway...the more peaple that own a gun..the more shooting there will be
Posted by adamh 9 years ago
adamh
It comes down to this: "banning" firearms causes the good, law-abiding Americans to lose their 2nd amendment rights because they do not want to break the law. The scum who are misusing firearms will find a way to get their hands on the guns either way - they do not care if they break the law.

All banning guns will do is disarm the good people and empower the criminals.
Posted by Rinaldanator 9 years ago
Rinaldanator
"Last time I checked the US is the most anti-communistic country on the planet" This is completely out of text from the debate but we are a pretty much a communist country 10 of the 10 planks of the communist manifesto are here in America right now.

1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax

3.Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4.Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5.Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly

6.Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State

7.Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8.Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture

9.Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production,
Posted by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
Guns are way to loosely sold.
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