The Instigator
andyh
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
I-am-a-panda
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The individual should not have the right to possess a firearm.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,632 times Debate No: 16163
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

andyh

Pro

Structure:

  • Round 1: Accepting the debate/clarifying any points.
  • Round 2: Opening argument (no rebuttals)
  • Round 3: Responding and Questioning
  • Round 4: Responding and summary.


By the 'right to possess a firearm' I am specifically referring to the right to bear arms in a private sphere as provided by the second amendment in the USA. My arguments against this 'right' will deal with both specifically the USA as well as a more general take on the problems posed by private ownership of weapons.

I know this debate has been had before, but as I am fairly new on the website and to the debating community I hope someone will give me the chance to share my take on the issue! Thanks, and I look forward to an interesting debate.
I-am-a-panda

Con

I thank Andyh for starting this debate and look forward to debating. I will firstly clarify some definitions.

Firearm: A weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder.

Right: A just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral.

I agree with my opponent in arguing about this within the sphere of the USA and other general problems.

Thanks, and good luck.

Debate Round No. 1
andyh

Pro

Opening Arguments against private ownership of firearms


I would like to open with a few statistics and examples.

The USA has a higher proportion of gun-involved homicides carried out than almost all countries where private gun ownership is illegal. It is only beaten by developing nations such as Guatemala & Colombia. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Between 1987 and 1990, in the US, guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,615 times annually. This equates to only 0.2% of incidents. http://en.wikipedia.org...

In recent years from the Santa-Claus shooting in December 2008 to the Nebraska shopping mall shooting in December 2007, there are frequent reminders of gun massacres that have only been allowed to happen based on legislation which allows private gun ownership.

Arguments

Gun owners often defend gun ownership by discussion 'security'. I put to my opponent that there is very little proof that guns overt crime, instead they often facilitate it. As I have shown with the stastistic above, guns were used in defense in only 0.2% of criminal acts during the given period. There are also higher levels of gun-related deaths in the USA than the majority of countries worldwide. http://en.wikipedia.org..., with only other western country coming above the USA: Estonia. There are more gun related deaths in the US than in Zimbabwe, Costa Rica & Azerbijan. The idea that guns give some kind of 'security' is nonsensical.

Try telling the people who live in the District of Columbia that guns provide some kind of security. I am myself British, and live in the city which experiences the highest proportion of gun-crime - Nottingham. It is notorious for its gun crime. In the UK however, the highest level of gun crime entails deaths of around 1.5 for every 100,000 people. In the District of Columbia this reaches 24 for every 100,000. That means that in the DoC there are SIXTEEN TIMES more gun related homicides. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Gone are the times when private gun ownership was necessary to protect ones possessions and family. It is an old law based on a time when state security was weak and did not reach all areas. Nowadays gun ownership is simply un-necessary, and in fact causes more problems than it solves.

I look forward to my opponents opening arguments.

I-am-a-panda

Con

I thank my opponent for his opening arguments. In keeping with the rules of the debate, I shall post my opening arguments first.

1. Gun ownership leads to lower crime rates

Statistics show that an area with easier access to guns will have lower crime rates. Within the U.S., the 31 states which allow the concealed carry of firearms have "a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than states that forbid concealed weapons." [1]. Examples have shown that greater gun control does not lead to lower homicide rates, in fact, the opposite occurs. When Washington D.C. banned handguns, the murder rate shot up from less than 30 per 100,000 to 80 per 100,000. The homicide rate increased, and only decreased following a removal of the ban on handguns, at a time when the homicide rate nationally was decreasing. [2]. Another example is Chicago, where a handgun ban led to a 17% decrease in the homicide rate (lower than the national average of 25%), and a huge increase in the murders committed with handguns, going from just over 40% before the ban to close to 80% in 2007 before the ban was repealed [2]. This shows that within the U.S. more gun control in fact means more crime and greater gun rights, less crime.

In terms of international examples, the rule of more gun control leading to more crime still holds true. Countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Austria and Denmark have a high number of guns per capita ratio while having low homicide ratios compared to nations such as Luxembourg, Holland and England with draconian gun control laws and high homicide rates [3]. In England an increase in gun control has constantly led to an increase in crimes, with England in the late 1800's having virtually no gun crime with little gun control to over 10,0000 gun related offences in 2005/2006 with a large amount of gun control [4] [5].

The truth is that gun control laws deprive citizens of guns for self-defence while not affecting criminals other than allowing them to operate under easier conditions. Gun control laws take guns away from people who are using them for non-criminal activities, not criminals. With guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, they can protect themselves. Guns are used for protection annually 5 times more than they are to commit crimes, and 56% of felons admit that "A criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun." It is clear that gun ownership reduces crime and on that account the individual should have the right to possess a firearm.

[1] = http://www.cato.org...
[2] = http://www.justfacts.com...
[3] = http://gunowners.org...
[4] = http://reason.com...
[5] =
http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 2
andyh

Pro

Firstly I would like to respond directly to some of Con's claims and statistics, which I believe are misleading, to put it kindly.

To begin with, I have to immediately counter Con's claim that the 31 states that allow concealed carry on firearms have a 24% lower violent crime rate etc. There are actually 48 states which have laws which allow the concealed carrying of firearms of one sort or another. Con also claims that the homicide rate increased once laws against handguns came into effect. This is being extremely selective with the figures he chooses to publish to support his argument. Homicide actually decreased equally in a number of areas which had no lifting of any bans (maryland, fairfax VA to give but two examples). http://www.texasguntalk.com... I put forward that there was no relation between the lifting of the band and the decrease in homicides. This is merely con being selective with figures.

The example of England

You have given example of England where you say an increasin gun control has constantly led to an increase in crimes. I refute this as being untrue. However if you look at the difference in gun crime statistics, you will find that gun crime in the USA is several times more common than England and the UK in general (as an example I gave in my opening argument demonstrates).

Guns laws deprive citizens of guns for self-defence

Gun laws also provide potential criminals with arms. They make potential murderers of people. Con is defending the right to bear firearms in general, not merely handguns. The idea that a citizen has the need for an AK47 or a Sweeper (which are both legal in many states) is simply ridiculous.

Accidents

I can't criticise the supposed 'security' the legality of private ownership of guns is supposed to bring without drawing on another statistic. Each year 10,000 people in the USA alone are involved in 'gun accidents'. http://www.buzzle.com... When you consider guns are only used in approx 60,000 of 'defense' incidents each year added with the many crimes committed as a result of being able to access guns (which number in the 10's of thousands also per annum), it strikes me as obvious that guns result in more danger for the individual than security.

Finally, I would like to contest that 'guns are used for protection annually 5 timesore than they are to commit crimes. Con hasn't provided a source to base this claim that I can scrutinise, but this strikes me as most probably nonsense.
I-am-a-panda

Con

For clarification, I am missing a source from my round 2 argument which supports several claims [1]. Anyhow, to refute my opponents argument from round 2.

>> "The USA has a higher proportion of gun-involved homicides carried out than almost all countries where private gun ownership is illegal. It is only beaten by developing nations such as Guatemala & Colombia." - While the U.S. has a high number of homicides, it is worthwhile to note that the U.S.'s rate of homicide is in fact decreasing, and that gun control measures are not the only influence on homicide rates. As noted by one of my earlier sources,

"the strong correlation with racial and socio-economic variables suggests that the underlying determinants of the homicide rate are related to particular cultural factors."" [2]

The same article also notes that the American and British rates of murder are in fact converging,

" In 1981 the American rate was 8.7 times the English rate, in 1995 it was 5.7 times the English rate, and the latest study puts it at 3.5 times."

This trend shows that the U.S. rates are decreasing in a world of greater gun freedom, while in the UK, with strict gun control, rates are increasing.

>> "Between 1987 and 1990, in the US, guns were used in defense during a crime incident 64,615 times annually. This equates to only 0.2% of incidents." - That was 21 years ago, and as my source points out, guns are in fact used 2 million times a year for self-defence [1].

>> "In recent years from the Santa-Claus shooting in December 2008 to the Nebraska shopping mall shooting in December 2007, there are frequent reminders of gun massacres that have only been allowed to happen based on legislation which allows private gun ownership. " - Pointing out a single isolated incident isn't grounds to ban guns. Californias strong gun control laws did little to stop that shooting and if guns were allowed to be used in self-defence, the shooting could have been prevented.

>> " As I have shown with the statistic above, guns were used in defense in only 0.2% of criminal acts during the given period." - This point I have negated.

>> " There are also higher levels of gun-related deaths in the USA than the majority of countries worldwide. http://en.wikipedia.org......, with only other western country coming above the USA: Estonia. There are more gun related deaths in the US than in Zimbabwe, Costa Rica & Azerbijan. The idea that guns give some kind of 'security' is nonsensical." - As I have pointed out, cultural factors plays a more important role than gun legislation, and as I pointed out time and time again in round 2, more gun control leads to a greater homicide rate. There is a correlation with a lowered homicide rate and less gun control.

>> "Try telling the people who live in the District of Columbia that guns provide some kind of security. I am myself British, and live in the city which experiences the highest proportion of gun-crime - Nottingham. It is notorious for its gun crime. In the UK however, the highest level of gun crime entails deaths of around 1.5 for every 100,000 people. In the District of Columbia this reaches 24 for every 100,000. That means that in the DoC there are SIXTEEN TIMES more gun related homicides." - Less gun control meant less murder in D.C., as I showed in round 2. As this source shows, a ban on handguns led to higher crime rates [3], and their homicide rate is set to decrease even further at current trends.

>> "Gone are the times when private gun ownership was necessary to protect ones possessions and family. It is an old law based on a time when state security was weak and did not reach all areas. Nowadays gun ownership is simply un-necessary, and in fact causes more problems than it solves. " - As I demonstrated in round 2, a ban on civilian gun ownership leads to higher crime rates and takes guns out of the hands of ordinary people, not criminals. State security can't be relied on 100% of the time by the people and self-defence is necessary.


[1] = http://www.roanoke.com...
[2] = http://reason.com...
[3] = http://www.justfacts.com...
Debate Round No. 3
andyh

Pro

andyh forfeited this round.
I-am-a-panda

Con

And now to respond to my opponents 3rd round.

>> "To begin with, I have to immediately counter Con's claim that the 31 states that allow concealed carry on firearms have a 24% lower violent crime rate etc. There are actually 48 states which have laws which allow the concealed carrying of firearms of one sort or another. " - While this may be true, the article differentiated between shall-issue and may-issue states, with shall-issue states, which allow permits for concealed carry to be obtained more easily than in may-issue states. With easier access to permits for concealed carry, the crime rates in these states are lower.

>> "Con also claims that the homicide rate increased once laws against handguns came into effect. This is being extremely selective with the figures he chooses to publish to support his argument. Homicide actually decreased equally in a number of areas which had no lifting of any bans (Maryland, fairfax VA to give but two examples). http://www.texasguntalk.com...... I put forward that there was no relation between the lifting of the band and the decrease in homicides. This is merely con being selective with figures. " - Firstly my opponent cites a less than reliable forum poster as his source for his claims that Maryland and Fairfax's homicide rates dropped. Without any valid source for this I find this claim negligible.

>> "You have given example of England where you say an increasing gun control has constantly led to an increase in crimes. I refute this as being untrue. However if you look at the difference in gun crime statistics, you will find that gun crime in the USA is several times more common than England and the UK in general (as an example I gave in my opening argument demonstrates). " - And as I pointed out, the crime rates in the U.S. and England are converging [1].

>> "Gun laws also provide potential criminals with arms. They make potential murderers of people. Con is defending the right to bear firearms in general, not merely handguns. The idea that a citizen has the need for an AK47 or a Sweeper (which are both legal in many states) is simply ridiculous. " - Firstly, as I cited earlier, guns are used 5 times more in self-defence than criminals use them [1]. This would suggest that even if every gun owned by criminals was legally purchased, citizens use them more than criminals. Clearly freedom of access to guns benefits citizens more than it benefits criminals.

>> "I can't criticise the supposed 'security' the legality of private ownership of guns is supposed to bring without drawing on another statistic. Each year 10,000 people in the USA alone are involved in 'gun accidents'. http://www.buzzle.com... you consider guns are only used in approx 60,000 of 'defense' incidents each year added with the many crimes committed as a result of being able to access guns (which number in the 10's of thousands also per annum), it strikes me as obvious that guns result in more danger for the individual than security. " - My opponents point here is weak. If a person purchases a gun, they do so at the chance of being involved in an accident with said gun. If the accident is not their fault, they an sue the gun manufacturer or whoever is at fault. It is the individuals right to take this risk. 70,000 accidents doesn't stack up with the 2 millions times a year guns are used in self-defence annually. If my opponent is concerned with safety, perhaps he'd like to look at lawnmowers first, which cause 200,000+ injuries annually. [3]

Overall, guns cause crime rates to drop and provide security to the individual. Guns are used more in defence than in crime annually and it's clear that gun control does nothing but harm individuals and their liberty.

[1] = http://reason.com...
[2] = http://www.roanoke.com...
[3] = http://www.amputee-coalition.org...
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Aaronroy 5 years ago
Aaronroy
Pro did poorly in this debate. Draconian handgun bill in the UK increased violent crime rates 69%, so he's simply misrepresenting his statistics.

It seems pro is more arguing against the bearing of arms instead of the ownership of arms. There is a specific difference. He's also debating on the value of necessity, which is an extremely poor value to formulate your arguments around as many things we use on a daily basis are unnecessary.
Posted by andyh 6 years ago
andyh
My summary:

I'm going to keep this brief.
The statistics Con quotes are incredibly selective. He has provided statistics for which I have shown that there is no correlation between guns laws and the figures, as there are similar decreases/increases in states where that had been no change.

I have shown however in figures I myself have provided and cited, that crime and more importantly homicide levels are inherently linked to gun law, and in fact increasing problems. I have also shown how the legality of guns has actually had only minute use in self defense situations, and therefore cannot be defended on this basis.

While con goes some way to defending the ownership of hand guns, he does nothing to defend the ownership of automatic weapons such as sweeers, AK47s etc. He has not by any stretch been able to justify the ownership of firearms in general.

The guns debate reminds me of the nuclear weapons debate. The ridiculous idea that if we all have weapons we will be safer, or at least we better have what the enemy has or better! I put forward as my final point that this is simply nonsensical. What my opponent casts off as 'isolated cases' are in fact thousands upon thousands of incidents that occur every day, every month, every year.

Thanks for an enjoyable debate.
Posted by Mirza 6 years ago
Mirza
I like this kind of a debate where both debaters have nice flow in their arguments, and don't have mere wall of texts. Good debate overall. I think Con has the stronger arguments here, but we will see at the end.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 6 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Sure, no problem with that :P.
Posted by andyh 6 years ago
andyh
Hey just to prewarn, I am out all day tomorrow (royal wedding!), and may possibly miss my 4th round. In which case, may I write my summary here in the comments section?
Ta
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