The Instigator
Jarhyn
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
likespeace
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

There is no rational reason for which an American civilian should want to own an assault weapon.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
likespeace
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,369 times Debate No: 29265
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

Jarhyn

Pro

Given the recent political discussion about "assault weapons", and the general lack of such debates here on DDO, I felt it was time to instigate just such a debate.

First, I'll state that this debate is to be taken in good faith. If there is some assertion that is made, it will stand unless challenged. If it is challenged, then the opponent must provide support for the assertion at the earliest possible convenience, and argument from authority/tradition/law is certainly insufficient to such a task.

In the discussion of what this debate is to be about, I would forward two acceptable definitions of the particular variety of the sufficiet "assault weapon" feature which we will be debating over:
  1. Assault Weapon: any firearm which is capable of the semi-automatic discharge of 7 or more continuous rounds.
  2. Assault Weapon: any rifle or shotgun which is equipped with a pistol grip.
    • What constitutes a pistol grip is a fairly "fuzzy" definition; I would say that such grips generally involve a protusion from the body of weapon or some style of grip around which a hand may be wrapped, though a mere hole for a thumb to be placed through the stock is not sufficient for such a classification.
"Civilian" here means any indiviual who is not engaged in current military operations, or acting at the time in official police, or performing currently in contracted personnel or property security capacities, or a person acting with unethical intent.

It is, of course, my burden in the initial argument to canvass across the feasible situations in which a civilian may in the course of time have need of a firearm, and show logically or with evidence that no such situation requires an assalt weapon specifically, and that firearms which are not assault weapons are wholely sufficient or even preferable for the task. It is my opponent's burden in the initial argument to contrive a situation in which civilians would necessarily need an assault weapon rather than some other "lesser" for of firearm to service such a rationally expected task.

As per the resolution these must be situations of rational need; one person against overwhelming numbers of armed assailants is not a situation where the civilian would be rational to fight back in, nor is it a situation where just such a civilian is rationally likely to end up. Further, unethical uses of guns (to threaten and/or commit murder, robbery, theft, rape, or any other clearly unethical action) are also excluded; a premise here is that such activities are not rational among a society of persons.

With these understandings in mind, I propose the following rules:
1) First round is acceptance*, second round is argument, third round is rebuttal and additional supporting arguments, fourth round is pure rebuttal and final round is closing.
2) Responses shall be directed towards the previous rounds(s) only.
3) *CON may go first; if CON uses his first round for argument, PRO agrees his last round shall be a blank post. For the purposes of voting and posting "rounds" shall be offset by this one post.
4) No direct "vote pandering". An argument ought stand on its own, without appeals to emotion or ad hominem. The only place it is acceptable is to provide a proposed RFD is at the end of closing, and it must still be free of appeal to emotion, outright lies, or ad-hom attacks.
5) No "sneaky ****erism". This is defined as making declarations to win or troll an argument rather than making an attempt to investigate whether a claim is actually valid or supported by reason. The winning argument here is to be determined as that argument which stands up to reason, not which argument/person people subjectively like more. In accepting, CON agrees that any votes which do not reflect an objective evaluation of the arguments (subjective votes) are invalid and to be ignored during final evaluation, retracted, reported, and/or negated.
6) No extension of argment character space or via gratuitous formatting liberties, except if mutually agreed upon.
7) This is a philosophical debate, and first principles must be mutually accepted if used as a basis of argument. Argument from authority, argument from tradition, and the naturalistic fallacy are all accepted as fallacies by CON.
8) Shared participation is encouraged; while there can only be one formal "PRO" and one formal "CON", any independently supported argument may be advanced and picked up by the formal debators.
9) First principles accepted in this debate must include that: "The universe exists"; "knowledge exists"; "all descriptive models have greater value than any non-descriptive model"; and that "equals OUGHT be treated equally".
likespeace

Con

I thank my opponent for setting this debate up, and wish him luck, in what will hopefully be an entertaining debate. :)

I choose the first definition:

Assault Weapon: any firearm which is capable of the semi-automatic discharge of 7 or more continuous rounds.

Pro, I believe you made a mistake in defining the rules--

> "*CON may go first; if CON uses his first round for argument, PRO agrees his last round shall be a blank post. For the purposes of voting and posting "rounds" shall be offset by this one post."

While this would allow me to speak first and last, I will not take advantage, but rather allow you to open.



Debate Round No. 1
Jarhyn

Pro

First, thankyou Likespeace for accepting this debate. While I would have liked to discuss the subject of pistol grips, high-capacity semi-auto weapons are really a stronger definition for me to defend.

It seems apparent today that firearms are a fact of life in the United States. Between the high availability of firearms among criminal elements and the dauntingly large supply of firearms among the law-abiding civilian population from which such criminal elements may recruit it is apparent that any ban on all firearms would not only be ineffective at promoting the general welfare, but also directly counter to that goal.

Respecting the initial definition of “Civilian”, It seems readily apparent that there are four situations in which a firearm might serve: Self defense in the home, self defense on the street, hunting of animals, and violent insurrection against tyrannical government.

  1. Self Defense in the Home

    1. Few to no rounds need ever be fired to adequately defend.
      1. Violent crime is most likely to be committed by a single assailant[1][2].
      2. Very few cases require shooting at an offender, and shooting at them is almost always sufficient to provoke retreat, even when defenders do not hit anything [2]. There is no reason to believe more shots available would be more effective.
      3. Large numbers of attackers are rare [2].
      4. The majority of armed offenders generally do not carry firearms [2][3].
      5. A rational person would not engage in reckless ineffective weapon discharges, as shall be detailed in section V(A).

    2. As such, no assault weapon is likely to ever be necessary for the purposes of home defense.

  2. Self Defense on the Street

    1. Few to no rounds need ever be fired to adequately defend in the vast majority of situations.
      1. See points above for self defense in the home; they apply here as well, except likely with a slightly higher instance of larger numbers of assailants.

    2. Carrying assault weapons in public for civilians terrifies and terrorizes the population and disturbs the peace[4].

    3. Allowing assault weapons in public for civilians prevents the ability to discern an approaching active shooter from a normal civilian, as shall be detailed in section V(B).

    4. Civilians are not expected in and should not expect to participate in extended firefights; such situations are exceedingly rare[2]. This is a primary reason why organizations such as the police and military and personnel and property security companies exist in the first place: to provide training, ensure quality of personnel, and to both accept and limit liability.

  3. Hunting of Animals

    1. Very few rounds are ever needed in any given “short” timespan.
      1. If you cannot hit an animal on your first 1-2 shots, it is likely to already be too late for that opportunity; gunshots generally scare away game for a reasonably long period of time, allowing reloading to take place.
      2. If attacked by an apex predator such as a bear, puma, etc., if you can’t put it down with ~4-5 rounds of whatever you’re firing, it’s probably already too late.

    2. A lever-action, pump action, or bolt action rifle with fixed maximum capacity can take down a prey animal as effectively as a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle.

  4. Initiating Violent Insurgency Against Tyrannical Government(s)

    1. Insurrection is about asymmetrical warfare. It is a situation where “tactical” confrontations are the least desirable outcome. It is not about killing lots of people; it is about killing the right people. If you end up in the sights of the enemy, you’re already doing it wrong. Bolt action, lever action, pump action, or similar hand-worked actions are sufficient to serve the purpose of selective fire, and even actively encourage that goal by forcing the use of carefulness and skill.

    2. Asymmetric combat requires AVOIDING regular combat. Assault Weapons stand out particularly, and only serve as a “Please shoot/imprison/torture me, I’m a rebel” sign for one to hang off of their shoulder or on their belt.

    3. Home defense points continue to serve here; if you and your rebel friends cannot effect a defensive goal with 3-6 shots, you’re cruising for 2 in the chest and one in the head. An ungainly assault weapon laden with bullets will only be reliable for getting you dead with less opportunity to fight back as your ears ring and bleed from the breaching charge used to open the door, or as your eyes sting with CS gas they deploy into the room. Assuming they didn’t just level your place with a drone strike.

    4. Asymmetric conflict is about forcing attrition. Assault weapons encourage the rapid waste of limited ammunition. The other side will have more men, more rounds, more weapons, and more training. The goal is initially to make them hemorrhage those resources and their morale with minimal application of your own. Regular armies are for once you begin to take their weapons and you take their bullets, once the population is on board and after asymmetric fighting has yielded its dividends.

    5. It is not rational yet to begin stocking for such conflicts, as per V(C) below.

  5. Desires for Assault Weapons are NOT Rational

    1. An inability to hit what you are aiming at also implies an inability to guarantee NOT hitting what you are NOT aiming at, when it is also in that general vicinity. This creates an unacceptable level of risk and it is my contention that it is irrational to force such a risk upon others.

    2. It is irrational to wish to confound the ability of law enforcement to monitor and take down potential imminent threats to the public welfare. Either the police must waste time and effort confirming all false positives to catch all true positives, or the police must risk allowing true positives.

    3. The government is not attempting to take away the class of weapons particularly useful for rebellion, nor is the liberal left attempting to take away the ability of the people to represent their interests nor attempting to take away any thing that could rationally be called liberty. Further, the logic of IV(B) applies right now as well; ownership now reveals a desire or preparedness to participate in rebellion.

    4. Anyone can “go off the deep end”.
      1. The majority of murders happen as a result of argument rather than felonious intent however the assailant still tends to seek a firearm when available [5].
      2. When a mass murder happens, the assailants use the weapons most easily accessed.
      3. It is clearly an irrational course of action for a person to subject others to additional risks when they themselves “go off the deep end”.

  6. Conclusions
    1. Owning an assault weapon is particularly useless for home defense,
    2. Owning an assault weapon is particularly useless for defense on the street,
    3. Owning an assault weapon is particularly useless for hunting,
    4. Owning an assault weapon right now is particularly useless for the violent overthrow of our government,
    5. The desire to own an assault weapon for the above purposes is largely irrational,
    6. Therefore there is no rational reason for which a civilian should want to own an assault weapon.

Bibliography
[1] Stolzenberg, L., & D'alessio, S. J. (2008). Co-Offending and the Age-Crime Curve. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 45(1), 65-86. Retrieved from http://jrc.sagepub.com...
[2] Kleck, G., & Gertz, M. (1995). Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern), 86(1), 150. Retrieved from http://www.saf.org...
[3] NCVS Criminal Victimization 2009, table 10 http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
[4] Youtube video
[5] http://www.bjs.gov...

Copyright (C) 2012 Andrew Kathan

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation A copy of the license is available athttp://www.gnu.org...


*the full text is behind a paywall; limited quotation is available upon request via comments.
likespeace

Con

We're not debating whether society should ban guns beyond six-shooters. That, one can reasonably argue about. No! My opponent takes his resolution a step and a leap too far, when he claims it is irrational for any civilian to even want to own one. I object!


I. What does Rational mean?

A rational action? An action is rational if and only if we choose that action because we soundly believe it is the best way to achieve our goals, desires, tastes, etc. [1]

A rational belief? - It obeys the law of probability, based on an agent's knowledge. [2]

A rational goal? - "Our reason cannot tell us what to desire", although there are some reasonable limitations on our desires, such as consistency. [1]


II. Basis of My Argument

Since Pro resolves "There is no rational reason for which an American civilian should want to own an assault weapon [6+ round of ammo].", I need only present a single counter-example to win. My opponent says as much in round one, and even allows contrived scenarios--

"It is my opponent's burden in the initial argument to contrive a situation..."

I will now proceed to offer a counter-example.


III. The Counter-Example

Simon wants to collect all the guns used by cyborg "Terminators" in the movie series of the same name. He sets a goal of buying real ones as he prefers when it's legal and possible, replicas otherwise. Ever since his early retirement, he's enjoyed inviting friends over to show them his collection.

The T-1000 wielded a Beretta 92FS with a 15-round magazine and a left-handed magazine release. [3] The gun's legal in his state, so when he spotted one on a good sale, he bought it.

Is his goal rational?

Yes. There's nothing inconsistent with respect to his desires, either stated or implied, about buying one of each kind of the legal/available guns used by cyborg "Terminators".

Is his belief rational?

Yes. His belief that he will enjoy owning and displaying this gun is based on experience and the laws of probability. Additionally, today it is on sale, so today is a good day to buy!

Is his action rational?

Yes. He soundly believes buying this gun today is the best way to achieve his goals.


IV. Conclusion

Rationality now allows, even compels, Simon to buy that gun under favorable conditions.

While it is not essential to win the debate, I would point out this counter-example isn't even so contrived, as there are many gun collectors in America, and even websites to help them identify movie guns[3].


V. Sources

1. "On Philosophy, Politics, and Economics" by Gaus, pgs 11-12

http://www.amazon.com...


2. "Truth and Probability", by Ramsey, 1931

http://fitelson.org...

3. Internet Movie Firearms Database

http://www.imfdb.org...

 

 

Debate Round No. 2
Jarhyn

Pro

I thank my opponent for his prompt response and apologise for my lengthy wait in posting. I will hope that the wait has been worth it.

First, I would like to point out that my opponent’s definitions of what may be considered a rational desire is an argument from authority. To examine whether there is such a thing as a “rational desire” and to evaluate what such a thing is to be described as, I pose that such an argument stands to be defended when it is presented.

So let us examine if CON’s argument from authority stands up to scrutiny.

First, so far in the debate, in the resolution and elsewhere I have left the idea of what may be a rational desire to good faith, trusting that my opponent would use the same “rational desire” as I have been using, and have forgone spelling it out. I see, however, that this is not the case.

The definition of “rational desire” I have been operating under has been based upon knowledge rather than belief. It is not simply enough to say that some action or activity is rational because someone believes it to be effective or consistent with, but rather that they have knowledge that it is to be effective. There is because people can clearly hold irrational beliefs, and so belief cannot be the basis of rationality. Further, I have been operating on objective rationality, rather than subjective rationality. Something must be consistent with reality rather than simply internally consistent to be rational; if someone believed that Draino was a delicious and refreshing drink which causes no ill effects upon the imbiber based upon observing people drinking fluid from a Draino bottle this belief is not inconsistent with itself nor with their knowledge, however it is inconsistent with reality and thus irrational.

This brings me to the crux of CON’s argument: that "Our reason cannot tell us what to desire".

While it is certainly true that our reason cannot currently tell us what to desire at this point in time, it is not guaranteed to be thus forever in the future (it is a noble and plausible goal to seek to alter our desires such that they are consistent with our reason). More importantly, however, is that even so, our reason can tell us which of our desires are consistent with truths of reality and with our knowledge. Those goals which are consistent with our reason we can understand are rightful desires, and those which are not are thus irrational desires.

So this leads me to my rightful rejection of CON’s counter-example of Simon. To do this, I will present the example of Tom, a close dear friend of Simon.

Tom is a collector of historical heavy machinery, and has a stressful job. Tom owns a farm, and decides that one of the historical heavy machines which he wishes to own is a replica of The Killdozer(see youtube video ). Being the industrious individual he is, he actually builds one of the deadly monstrosities. This weapon of mass property destruction is completely legal in many localities to own, and as such is like Simon’s unnecessarily destructive weapon in every relevant way.

While Tom is a fairly reasonable person, when the bank repossesses his farm he snaps. During this period of mental break, he hops in his Killdozer and levels the bank and kills a few people in the bank as well.

It is clear that his desire to own such an unnecessary weapon is not rational, given the extant truth of reality that people can snap.

While CON may have a case that such a weapon as Simon’s Baretta or Tom’s Killdozer may be a rational desire if such destructive weapons are rendered inoperable it remains the case given extant truths of reality that owning such a weapon is irrational. Whether it is Simon or Tom, the knowledge that they may snap and USE their weapon to the fullness of its function is cause enough to preclude ownership of such tools unless they have an actual rational need besides simple temptation to own the weapon.

CON’s argument stands refuted, and the resolution stands affirmed.
likespeace

Con

I will focus on the rationality of Simon the Collector and self defense.

(I will not be defending hunting, the right of people to rebel against their government, nor one man's desire to own a killdozer to exact revenge on his local city council. There is no need to, per the debate terms.)


I. In Defense of Rationality

Pro failed to define rational, and thus should not be surprised I have provided cited, expert definitions for the relevant terms in our debate.

> people can clearly hold irrational beliefs, and so belief cannot be the basis for rationality

Per the round two definitions, rational actions are not based on just any beliefs, bur rather sound beliefs. What constitutes a rational belief is itself defined. It thus follows that Pro's attacked a strawman, and not the actual definitions provided for rationality.

> If someone believed that Drano was a delicious and refreshing drink..

Pro's example is loaded because Pro, I, and most voters know "Drano" is a caustic substance used to clean drains that causes ill effects if you swallow it.

Let's consider a balanced variation with a lesser-known label--

A tourist walks out of an African desert and feels thirsty. He observes two gentlemen drinking a beverage called "Granadilla Twist" and orders one himself. Unbeknownst to him, the tavern owner has poisoned his glass, and intends to kill then rob him.

Is his belief that the fluid in the bottle is potable rational? Yes.

Is his belief that the fluid in the bottle is potable accurate? No.

Pro posed the resolution as, "There is no rational reason for which an American civilian should want to own [any guns beyond a six-shooter]." It's possible for a reason to be rational and yet fall short of accuracy.

I hold Pro to his resolution.


II. In Defense of Simon the Collector

Pro challenged my counter-example of Simon, who "ever since his early retirement" has "enjoyed inviting friends over to show them his collection."

The problem? Simon one day "may snap and USE their weapon." (a 15-shooter, as opposed to the 6-shooter this resolution does not oppose).

I will tentatively grant a slim chance of a man of this age and character going insane, without warning, and using the gun to shoot 7+ times--say 1 in 100,000,000 (I based this on some quick research, but am open to higher odds, if and only if Pro can prove them.)

In philosophy, this is called a lottery--

99,999,999 out of 100,000,000 times - His quality of life is improved through ownership

1 out of 100,000,000 times - His quality of life is reduced through ownership.

Pro writes, "It is clear that his desire to own such an unnecessary weapon is not rational"

No, it's not clear at all that the rational choice is to avoid doing what you love in life. In fact, if there's a 0.99999999 chance his life will be improved by even 1% and a 0.00000001 chance his life will become worthless, the math says to take that chance!

This should hardly be a surprise. The desire to hang glide, scuba dive, sail, hike the Grand Canyon, or conquer new mountains is not generally considered irrational. And we have those immortal words from the old philosophers--carpe diem, seize the day!


III. Self-Defense in the Home

Pro's Conclusion IB was "As such, no [gun beyond a six-shooter] is likely to ever be necessary for the purposes of home defense."

Pro's conclusion is insufficient to meet his burden of proof.

We rationally buy and use many items in preparation for unlikely events. Good examples include seat belts, smoke detectors, and home alarm systems. Pro's only concluded that such an event is <50% likely to occur. Pro's not proven it's irrational to prepare for it.


IV. Self-Defense in the Streets

Pro's argument IIA/D: He says it's unlikely. Again, that doesn't prove we shouldn't prepare. It's also obvious that living in some communities entails more risk than average.

Pro's argument IIB: "Carrying assault weapons in public for civilians terrifies and terrorizes the population and disturbs the peace."

May I remind my opponent, he didn't resolve against "military-looking rifles" such as those appearing in that YouTube video, nor against openly carrying guns.

Pro has not demonstrated that the most common way civilians carry hand guns in public--concealed from view--"terrifies" civilians nor "disturbs the peace".

Pro's argument IIC: "Allowing [guns beyond six-shooters] in public for civilians.."

That's irrelevant,since the resolution isn't about what society should allow.

Pro's arguments against self-defense are thus totally dismantled.


V. Self-Defense: A Case for More than Six Rounds!

Before concluding, I wish to introduce a few statistics of my own:

i) Pro's own source states 52.7% of defensive gun uses involved two or more attackers, and 26.6% of defensive gun uses involve three or more attackers. [4]

ii) Pro's own source states 48.1% of defensive gun uses involved armed attackers, and mostly they arms themselves with sharp and/or blunt objects. [4]

iii) Police and civilians are typically trained to shoot at the center of mass of the bad guy. Accurate shot placement in a tense situation on a moving target is hard. [5][6]

iv) Police and civilians are typically trained to shoot twice ("double tap") or more. In real life, bad guys don't instantly drop to the ground upon being successfully hit once. [5][6]

v) Size matters. With a .22 calibre hand gun, bad guys are stopped at most 34% of the time with an ideally-placed shot. With a .45 calibre hand gun, bad guys are stopped at most 94% of the time in five seconds with an ideally-placed center of mass shot. [7]

vi) Civilians, especially women, often buy smaller guns because: (1) they're less tiring to fire, (2) they're smaller/lighter and easier to conceal, (3) ammo for them is cheaper, and (4) urban gun ranges often only allow small bores, particularly .22 calibre. [8]

vii) Winter clothing, such as jackets, can negatively affect a hand gun's effectiveness. [9]

While the burden of proof is actually upon my opponent, I contend these facts together provide a compelling case for more than six rounds, especially for the smaller .22 and .38 calibres.


VI. Conclusion

I've shown why Pro's single argument against Simon the Collector fails.

I've also shown the folly of his arguments against self-defense, which leave him falling short of meeting the burden of proof. Not only that, I went on the offensive, and made a case in favor of ownership.


VII. Sources

[4] http://www.saf.org...

[5] http://www.policeone.com...

[6] http://www.policeone.com...

[7] http://www.chuckhawks.com...

[8] http://www.cbsnews.com...

[9] http://www.theboxotruth.com...

Debate Round No. 3
Jarhyn

Pro

First, I would like to thank CON for his response. I will thus focus on invalidating CON’s points. Those points which CON has not answered I continue to maintain, and as you will see I have rebutted the remainder below.

I. On rationality

I would like to note that the debate resolution, even as per CON’s original formulation of it was dealing with the subject of “rational desire”, and to further note the use of “should”. The way it reads, and from both CON’s counter-example and my own initial argument, it is clear that the resolution was previously correctly interpreted as dealing with the subject of whether the desire is justifiable rationally, particularly given extant truths as per my own point V(D) in my original argument.

While it is possibly subjectively rational to believe that the drink a given container is potable, there is still that pesky should in there, which implies ethics. In the best of all worlds, would an ethical agent not know of the poison; SHOULD they know of the poison?

On this point, CON has failed to address my contention that “our reason can tell us which of our desires are consistent with truths of reality and with our knowledge. Those goals which are consistent with our reason we can understand are rightful desires, and those which are not are thus irrational desires” and thus dropped and conceded it.

II. Further Damning Simon the Collector

For this particular argument, I must again note that I have not spoken against Simon owning something that looks like a Baretta, or even against Tom owning something that looks like a Killdozer. If someone enjoys doing some unethical thing and may understand that it is unethical, it is clear that the rational choice is to avoid doing that unethical thing (or for someone else to inform them that it is unethical, so that they may carry on with avoiding it).

Certainly Simon or Tom may be a little disappointed in the fact that they own a toy rather than a functional weapon, but it may even be the case that with some public oversight there may be room to allow access to some vital manufactured piece which would allow converting the toy into a functional weapon provided strict public oversight. In such a case, however, ownership of the weapon aspect of the object remains outside of the individual’s grasp, and in such a case, the individual wanting to have access to some deadly weapon for some time bears the responsibility to render his potentially dangerous activities safe. In this way it remains possible to both have the improvement of their lives, and not own the unnecessarily overpowered weapons. In any case the desire for more than a toy given the possibility of a mental break remains irrational given the dropped (and thus conceded point) that people SHOULD not want to do so.

On the subject of lotteries, the relevant difference between CON’s declarations of activities such as hang gliding, scuba diving, sailing, hiking, or mountain climbing is that in the case of assault weapon ownership, they put others rather than just themselves at risk. Simon is not only taking his own life in his hands with his lottery, but forcing the risk of his “winning” upon other unwilling citizens. Seize your own day, sure, but I’m not about to let you seize my day too. In no way is it objectively rational to wish to submit people to this unnecessary risk.

III. Self Defense in the Home

Con asserts that I have not met my burden of proof. Despite the fact that I have indeed met this burden, I will further elaborate. First, it is my contention that a six-shooter is enough. When will an assault weapon be more sufficient? Does CON contend that a group of seven people will maintain morale and overpower someone despite the risk of any of them of being shot and killed? If they are armed with firearms, there are three general courses of action: Either they have the spine to draw and fire back and they shoot the defender as he dispatches one of them, or they lack the wherewithal and they run, or they overrun him and kill or disarm him as he shoots one of them. Lesser armed offenders have only the latter two options available, however in none of those cases does the defender have the need for an assault weapon, nor in any of them is the attacking group more threatened by an assault weapon.

Secondly, as I have contended previously in this debate, I maintain that it is a preparation for an unlikely event to not own an assault weapon, that event being the mental break of the person who is in question. Not owning an assault weapon is the “seat belt use” prescribed for mental breaks. CON has not proved it is irrational to prepare for that possibility.

IV. Self Defense in the Street

First, CON has already dropped the point that allowing civilians to carry assault weapons confounds police and prevents them from doing their job, and that doing such confounding is irrational.

Secondly, I’ll note that in the video, the individuals in question were also carrying hand guns. While this is likely the material for another debate, it is a denial of an individual’s ability to make informed consent to their presence or activities by denying them the information that a person is armed; people have a right to know when others may present a threat to their existence, and it is irrational to deny them that right.

Third, CON speaks against my point of the semantics of “allowing”, however going back to the good faith nature of this debate, and particularly the “no sneaky ____erism” rule, it is particularly clear that the discussion wasn’t about “allowing”, per-se, as much as a euphemism for the objective rationality of the desire for a civilian to engage in behavior which confounds such discernment. There was no intent to make such discussion, and while I apologize for my poor word choice, it is easy to see that upon correcting this poor choice of words that the argument continues to stand.

V. For self defense, six rounds are enough.

In response to CON’s largely irrelevant declarations...

i, ii) Even though the majority of those situations involved multiple attackers, brandishing the weapon (not even firing it) remained an effective deterrent, even when the attacker(s) were armed [2].

iii) Warning shots and limited shooting was sufficient to cause the vast majority of attackers to run. Even in situations where the attacker was not hit at all, the attacker still ran [2].

iv, v) Even if bad guys don’t “drop” from getting hit, they’re sure as hell likely to RUN when the bullets start flying [2].

vi 1-3) These are not an argument for ownership of assault weapons, this is an argument by con for women to “suck it up, buttercup” and buy a heavier weapon and learn how to use it. In any regard, my rebuttals to i and ii above continue to serve here, and CON’s own vii particularly supports this contention, particularly when many of the more serious threats on the street now wear body armor rather than just jackets [6].

vi 4) Either go to a different range, start your own range, or campaign for state run ranges. This is an argument against the unavailability of crappy firing ranges, not for the ownership of assault weapons.

vii) This is not an argument for assault weapons, this is an argument for owning more effective not-assault weapons, and to use more effective armor piercing rounds in them.

In no way do any of these points combine to create an argument for the rational ownership of assault weapons.

VI. Conclusions

I’ve shown why Tom and thus Simon are irrational, and CON has conceded many points in my favor, and perhaps the most important point: that reason is a valid measure of what desires we should have. I have upheld my burden to defend the contention that there is no rational reason people should want to have assault weapons, and thus the resolution stands defended.

[6] http://www.slate.com...
likespeace

Con

I. In Defense of Rationality

> there is still that pesky "should"..

Google defines "should" as "an obligation". This jives with the cited expert definition of rationality, since rationality compels action.

> In the best of all worlds..

In the best of all worlds, there would be no poisons. In lieu of paradise, rational and accurate are distinct and useful words.

"Accuracy and rationality are linked, they are not the same: a fool may hold a belief irrationally as a result of a lucky guess or wishful thinking yet it might happen to be correct. Conversely, a detective might hold a belief on the basis of a careful and exhaustive examination of all the evidence and yet the evidence may be misleading, and the belief may turn out to be wrong." [10]


II. In Defense of Simon the Collector

I addressed why it is rational for Simon to partake in a lottery where he has a 99.999999% chance of sweetening his life, and a 1 in 100,000,000 chance of souring it.

  • Pro didn't dispute the rationality of owning a gun with six rounds for self-defense, so his first six rounds can simply be explained as dual-use.
  • Pro did not dispute the odds of him mass-shooting were 1 in 100,000,000.

> I’m not about to let you...

Pro can't strong-arm me to win.

> the desire for more than a toy given the possibility of a mental break remains irrational
> given the dropped (and thus conceded point)

Repeatedly claiming I have conceded points does not make it so. I addressed this point above and in round 3, section II of our debate. Due to character limits, I can't quote your every word.

> In no way is it.. rational to wish to submit people to this unnecessary risk.

Since rationality compels Simon to participate in the lottery, and that risk is an essential part of the lottery, accepting it is necessary.

> it is clear that the rational choice is to avoid doing that unethical thing

Whether it's rational to do an unethical thing depends on how you define ethics.

> If someone enjoys doing some unethical thing

The debate resolution relates to rationality and not ethics. While I will humor you by defending Simon's actions according to one ethical system, I do not agree to any change in the resolution.

The Golden Rule and Kant's Universality are two common ethical standards. They implore us to treat others as our equals, but don't require putting them on pedestals. For example, I BBQ food in my backyard, even though the smoke it generates could be hazardous to my neighbors. Similarly, my neighbor gardens her backyard, even though those trees and branches could endanger me in a storm. An action that entails a small risk to others is ethical if and only if we'd be okay with another doing a similar thing.

Simon wasn't presented as a bigot, and has every reason to believe that if all Americans participated in such a lottery, we'd be the better for it.

The claim that Simon is unethical was unsubstantiated and is now refuted.

 

III. In Defense of Self-Defense in the Home

> First, it is my contention that a six-shooter is enough. When will [a gun beyond a six-shooter] be more sufficient?

Standard Gun vs. Six-Shooter

It can take several shots to stop an attacker, especially when using a gun in a lower-power calibre. The graph above shows when I would prefer more than six rounds. Let's see if you've proved only six is sufficient.

> Does CON contend that a group of seven people

I completely agree 5+ crooks are too many. Now that you've decimated that strawman, let's discuss the interesting cases.

> Either they have the spine to draw and fire back and they shoot the defender as he dispatches one of them, or they lack the wherewithal. Lesser armed offenders have only the latter two options available,

This is our clash. You contend the gun owner will lose to two criminals (with guns, knifes, bats, or unarmed). Your contention has problems--

1) You didn't prove that, and it's counter-intuitive in the unarmed case.

2) A household may have more than one person defending it.

3) Many crimes--such as rape and kidnap--do not involve immediately killing the victim. The "victim" later uses their gun with an element of surprise.

4) Even when both criminals have guns, there are many counter-examples. One is watch shop owner Lance Thomas, who's successfully fought off many robbers. In the last attempt, two gang members simultaneously drew guns on him. "You're dead!", they shouted. Lance killed them both. [11]

> I maintain that it is a preparation for an unlikely event to not own a [gun beyond a six-shooter], that event being the mental break of the person who is in question.

We both agree (a) defensive uses requiring 6+ rounds are rare, and (b) mass shootings involving semi-automatic pistols w/ 6+ rounds are rare. Which one is more likely?

Facts:

  • Averaged across the last 30yrs, ten people per year are killed in mass-shootings, wherein the killer carried (but didn't necessarily use) a semi-automatic hand gun. [12]
  • Statistically, there are ~30,000 justified defensive hand gun uses per year where a gun owner is attacked by 2-4 people, shoots at least one, and survives. In such cases one would prefer more ammo. [4]

The facts favor my side of the debate. Democrats, like Obama and Feinstein, have proposed a higher and more defensible limit of ten rounds. My opponent's claim goes much further--

>"There is no rational reason for which an American civilian should want to own an assault weapon."

Again, some communities face increased risks, like Lance Thomas' shop in downtown Los Angeles. If even one civilian has a rational reason to believe scenario (a) is more likely for them, a vote in my favor is due.

 

IV. Self-Defense on the Street

> I apologize for my poor word choice.. "no sneaky ____erism" rule

Calling out your inaccuracies is sneaky? ::rolls eyes::

You contend that carrying a concealed (hidden) hand gun may confuse civilians and/or law enforcement into believing you're an active shooter. The flaw in your argument is that the gun's hidden.

If the citizen is required to draw their gun to save their own life or that of a passerby, confusion may exist, but then it's outweighed by the saved lives.

> people have a right to know [if another citizen is carrying a concealed weapon]

This is a good try, since concealed carry invalidates both your "terror" and "confusion" arguments. I note the constitution, federal law, and 48 of 50 states disagree with you. Thus, it would be your obligation to prove both that this 'right' exists and trumps all other considerations, such as privacy.

 

V. Self-Defense: A Case for More than Six Rounds!

> this is an argument.. for women to "suck it up, buttercup"

Seriously? Your response to the fact that limiting the ammo count to six rounds disadvantages female shooters is "suck it up, buttercup"? I'm surprised. A reasonable response--what I expected--would be to admit the rationality of higher ammo counts for guns with lower-power calibres.

> buy a heavier weapon and learn how to use it.

Again, many find the higher-power calibres to be tiring and painful to shoot.

> This is an argument against the unavailability of crappy firing ranges

No, it's one reason many civilians choose guns with lower-power calibres.

> start your own range, or campaign for state run ranges.

Obviously, that wouldn't be the rational choice for many civilians.

 

VI. Conclusion

I've again defended Simon the Collector and poked holes in both Pro's attacks on the rationality of self-defense. Note, Con's made erroneous claims I've conceded points in his favor. To clarify, if I concede, I will say so.

Next, the exciting conclusion. :)

 

VII. Sources:

[10] http://ai.stanford.edu...

[11] Lance Thomas YouTube Video

[12] http://www.motherjones.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Jarhyn

Pro

I. In Defense of Rationality

>Google defines...

Again, you are not speaking to the intent or context of the definition, particularly when this is a normative ethical should. If you could call "it is objectively not rational to do otherwise" as an obligation to do, only then it would be an obligation based "should".

>In the best of all worlds poison would not exist...

This is playing semantics. There remains an ethical should, namely that the world would be better all things considered if persons could know of the existence of poisons, so we have an obligation to strive towards that world.

II. Simon's final nail

I have already said that Simon can participate in lotteries himself. The question is whether he has the right to force others into his lottery, particularly when he can still make his life better without doing so.

>> I’m not about to let you [seize my day too]...
>Pro can't strong-arm me to win.

I have been clearly taken out of context here; the rest of the sentence has been returned, as seen. I am not making any attempt at strong arming in the above quoted sentence, when the remaining text is returned. It is a statement that given the fact that individuals universally have a right to defend themselves (and thus society as a whole maintains such a right), that we have every right to demand others not force us to the consequences of their risks. As the consequence of this risk is potentially my life, and that he can never repay my life to me once taken, it is absolutely to be prevented.

>>Con conceded the point
>I addressed this point above and in round 3, section II of our debate.

At no point did con speak to the contention that desires can be irrational if they run against our reason.

>Since rationality compels Simon to participate...

First, this is begging the question to assume it is a RATIONAL desire which compels him; As it stands, I have described WHY it is irrational, and as such accepting this desire which compels him is also irrational.

>Whether it's rational to do an unethical thing depends on how you define ethics.

As the resolution contains a "should" the question is if we can rationally justify this desire within ethics.

>The debate resolution relates to rationality and not ethics.

Again, I point to the "should" in the resolution. Further, neither Kant or the Golden Rule say that others must be treated equally. An agreement must logically be reached between parties as to what risks they allow others to put them in. As I do not agree to allow Simon to put me in that risk, I agree to not put Simon in that risk. Simon does not have any right to invalidate my non-acceptance of that risk, any more than I have a right to violate his non-acceptance of me doing some other unethical thing to him.

Thus the claim that Simon is unethical is sustained.
 
III. In Defense of Self-Defense in the Home

>It can take several shots to stop an attacker

"Stop" an attacker how? To kill them? I already showed that stopping them as in "scaring them away and saving oneself" only usually requires a brandishing and usually at most warning shots. Being shot still sucks and anyone capable of understanding that is likely to back down at the mere threat of it, as is supported by [1]. Given this extant truth of reality, wanting to kill when injury is enough is apparently unethical; why kill or cripple when slightly wound will do?

>I completely agree 5+ crooks are too many.

Then as the study showed before, a gun is enough

>You contend the gun owner will lose to two criminals

I do not contend any such thing. I contend that in the majority of circumstances, given my evidence, that a defender will scare away any reasonably sized group with few to no rounds ever being fired.

My contention is that if a group of two+ people is intent on doing bodily harm, if someone empties all six shots and they remain to stand and deliver, then one or more of the remaining will have had time to flank and/or disarm the defender.

>We both agree... mass shootings involving semi-automatic pistols w/ 6+ rounds are rare.

I agree with no such thing. If a mass shooting happens, generally it happens with a semi-automatic weapon that is capable of firing 7+ rounds, including the use of pistols.

>[T]here are [many] defensive hand gun uses... where a gun owner is attacked by 2-4 ...... In such cases one would prefer more ammo.

I have already shown why that last assertion is mere assertion, counter to the evidence. Brandishing and firing warning shots are sufficient, even in cases of multiple attackers, and even common sense dictates that in the possibility where an offender may be injured, running is the most prudent action.

>If even one civilian has a rational reason to believe [needing to defend against a group] is more likely for them [it is rational to own assault weapons]

I already showed why even in defense against groups, the extra capability is entirely unnecessary.
 
IV. Self-Defense on the Street

>> I apologize...
>Calling out your inaccuracies is sneaky?

Yes. It is clear from context and use that the intent of the word was not the intent you spoke to.

>You contend that carrying a concealed (hidden) hand gun may confuse civilians and/or law enforcement into believing you're an active shooter. The flaw in your argument is that the gun's hidden.

No, I contend that given the necessity of informed consent, carrying concealed weapons is ethically wrong and the desire to do so is irrational.

>I note the constitution, federal law...

This is an argument from law. I'll just go ahead now and note that we both agreed that argument from law is insufficient here.

 
V. Self-Defense: A Case for More than Six Rounds!

>>"suck it up, buttercup"

I contend that if a lower caliber can't get the job done...

>> buy a heavier weapon and learn how to use it.

and if that hurts too much, "suck it up" and just deal with the tired arms and the minor pain of firing a more powerful weapon. It gets easier the more you do it, and it's certainly less painful than being killed, robbed, or raped.

>> This is an argument against the unavailability of crappy firing ranges
>No, it's one reason many civilians choose guns with lower-power calibres.

No, it's an EXCUSE.

>> start your own range, or campaign for state run ranges.
>Obviously, that wouldn't be the rational choice for many civilians.

Ah, so it's irrational for people to demand important infrastructure from their government?
 
VI. Conclusion

As has been defended throughout this debate, CON lacks a leg to stand on, Simon being a selfish and unethical prig, as he SHOULD NOT force others to accept risks they wish to not accept, and as it is silly to want more rounds than is useful or necessary in an assault situation.
likespeace

Con


Nature of the Debate

Pro resolved, "There is no rational reason for which an American civilian should want to own an assault weapon." An assault weapon was defined as "any firearms which is capable of the semi-automatic discharge of 7 or more continuous rounds." Our debate is about rational reasons to own hand guns beyond a six-shooter.

The rationality of owning a hand gun with a six round magazine for the purpose of self-defense was asserted and never disputed by my opponent. We are strictly discussing the extra rounds.

A Rational Action? - An action is rational if and only if we choose that action because we soundly believe it is the best way to achieve our goals, desires, tastes, etc. [1]

My opponent accepted the burden of proof.


Case 1: The Gun Collector

I proposed a gun collector who would enjoy owning a hand gun with a 15-round magazine. The first six rounds were justified on the grounds of self-defense. The remaining rounds constitute a two-outcome lottery--

99,999,999 out of 100,000,000 possibilities - Gun collector's life is much happier.

1 out of 100,000,000 possibilities - Gun collector becomes a mass-shooter.

If the collector's goal is his own happiness, and the above are the lottery results, it follows that it's rational for him to partake in this lottery since participation maximizes his expected happiness. The nature of the lottery also makes accepting the risk essential--it must be done in order to reap the benefits.

(As an aside, I also justified the ethics of participation in the lottery, under at least two systems.)


Case 2: Self-Defense Inside

I demonstrated, from my opponent's own source, that 30,000 times each year a civilian encounters 2-4 criminals, justifiably shoots one or more with a hand gun, and survives. This is precisely the case where a gun beyond a six-shooter is desired. In comparison, an average of ten people per year are killed in mass shootings involving a hand gun. The statistics attest to the benefits of gun ownership beyond a six-shooter.

> if a group of two.. one.. will have had time to flank and/or disarm the defender

You've ignored: 1) your statistics, 2) my counter-examples, 3) folks who don't live alone, 4) the defender often surprises the attacker with the gun, 5) many urban positions can be difficult to flank.

> and firing warning shots are sufficient

Your own source shows often warning shots aren't enough. I'll say it again, that a scenario is unlikely, doesn't mean we should ignore it. We use seat belts and smoke detectors for unlikely scenarios.

And, of course, some live in communities with more crime. I presented Lance Thomas as a rational individual attacked by thugs multiple times, some of whom clearly wanted him dead.


Case 3: Self-Defense Outside

I explained how carrying a concealed/hidden hand gun doesn't create "terror" or "confusion". In the rare case it's drawn to save a life, that saved life would outweigh those factors for most.

Pro then dropped those arguments and claimed that humans have a "right" to know any potentially lethal objects a passerby happens to be carrying--such as guns, knives, or ball-point pens. He conceded America doesn't recognize any such right, provided no justification for its existence, and doesn't show it outweighs safety and/or privacy concerns. Unless and until then, concealed carry is a rational choice.

Case 4: Lower-power Calibres

I showed that lower-calibre guns--often wielded by women and the elderly--require more shots to stop a bad guy than higher-calibre guns. Pro replies, "Suck it up, buttercup!"

> "suck it up" and just deal with the tired arms and the minor pain

Pro fails to explain why it's irrational for a woman to buy a gun that also does the job, isn't painful to fire, is lighter/easier to carry, is cheaper to practice with, and is allowed at more firing ranges.


Pro's Conduct

In round three, Pro stated that he had a pet meaning in mind when he said "rational" rather than the standard one I provided with multiple expert citations. In round four, Pro first claimed that "should" meant something other than the standard dictionary should, and that the debate was really about what was moral.

I once again object to the above. Pro missed his opportunity to introduce pet definitions, which was way back in round one, before I accepted the terms of the debate.

In round five, supposedly for our closing and vote pandering only, Pro introduced new arguments and/or rebuttals. I ask that these new points be set aside unconsidered.


Conclusion

While I see many reasonable opportunities for gun control in America, my opponent's claim goes too far, denying the existence of any rational reasons to own guns beyond six-shooters. I trust, dear reader, you will agree with me that my opponent didn't prove all of these cases irrational. Jahryn, I thank you for your time, and hope you will reconsider your extreme position in light of this debate's results.

P.S. - In round three, I meant to write ".32" instead of ".38 calibre."
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Enlightened 3 years ago
Enlightened
This debate shouldn't be about what weapons should be allowed to be owned, but what kind of people should be able to own them.
Posted by Enlightened 3 years ago
Enlightened
Weapons are tools, and like tools they can only be manipulated by an autonomous being.
Posted by Enlightened 3 years ago
Enlightened
Did you know assault weapons are just things used to assault another human being? It's true.
Posted by superlative 3 years ago
superlative
Then your question should be "are the reasons for owning assault weapons justified", not "there is NO rational reason for owning assault rifles". It's not semantics, it's a completely different statement.
Posted by Jarhyn 3 years ago
Jarhyn
The thing in question in this debate, superlative, was whether the reason given over and over again is itself rationally justified, or whether it's just an emotional and silly reason with no basis. To just say that the given reasons are themselves justified without actually bringing support to that position is begging the question which the debate sought to answer.

Anyway, @likespeace, I enjoyed the debate, despite some rather nasty and/or semantic exchanges that happened near the end. I'd like to AVOID such exchanges in the future if we end up in a debate again, all things considered. Even so, I had fun arguing my case and I hold no ill will.
Posted by superlative 3 years ago
superlative
The pro argument is flawed and subjective. "There is no rational reason..." - people who own assault rifles have a rational reason - it's the same reason they give over and over. Whether you agree with those reasons is another matter. You should have phrased it as "Americans should not own an assault weapon" because that accurately reflects your OPINION. The statement "there is no rational reason..." is factually incorrect.

Likespeace wins by definition alone - the fact that he is supplying a rational reason automatically means he wins because he supplies at least one rational reason, whereas you argue that none exists.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
::yawn:: I will post that correction in the final round. :)
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
FYI, I meant to write, "especially for the smaller .22 and .32 calibres." You may treat my round three argument as if that were written, and I will make a formal correction next round. I hope you are enjoying our debate, or at least moreso that the previous two versions!
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
Jarhyn, while I know you hoped I would choose the other definition, I think you will be satisfied anyway. The argument I plan to present would apply equally to either definition.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
Thanks for setting this up! I see the terms and definitions are in-line with your previous debates, plus the small ammendment that we discussed. Based on our debate histories, I look forward to an entertaining and informative debate. May the best arguments win! :)

FYI - It is work hours here, so likely my debate reply will come later this evening.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Clash 3 years ago
Clash
JarhynlikespeaceTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Con successfully refuted Pro's fallacious arguments, as well as clearly showing that there is rational reasons for an American civilian to want to own an assault weapon. Thus, the argument point goes to Con. The grammar point goes also to Con because Pro's writing is in my opinion awful and not easy to follow. And as rross said above, Con's definition of 'reason' was supported with sources, in contrast to Pro. Thus, the source point goes to Con. Indeed, as Con rightly said, Pro took his resolution a step too far.
Vote Placed by rross 3 years ago
rross
JarhynlikespeaceTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: To me, this debate came down to what "rational" means. I'm surprised that Pro didn't have a better definition. Actually, it's an interesting question, which was not dealt with properly here. However, Con's definition was backed up with sources and Pro's was not. Reason can exist with false axioms. Which means that someone could have a rational reason, based on false belief, to own an assault weapon. Definition of should was not so central. "suck it up, buttercup"? I don't think so. Conduct.
Vote Placed by eastcoastsamuel 3 years ago
eastcoastsamuel
JarhynlikespeaceTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a very, very close debate and I congratulate both participants on their efforts. Too much of this debate was based on semantics, more than I would like there to be, and too much was based on specific examples, such as Simon the Collector. Still, both gave sufficient, well-reasoned arguments that backed their claims and definitely made me think about the philosophy behind this issue. In my mind this debate is a tie, but the voting system makes me vote for Jarhyn. Congratulations to both parties, and best of luck in the future.