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The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

USA should have universal background checks

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 473 times Debate No: 58845
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




USA should have universal background checks

while it may be disputed the exact number, the commonly cited stat is that ninety percent of people support background checks.

there's plenty of potential here- over 40% of gun sales involve no background checks.

at the point of sale, back ground checks stop tons of people....

what about the idea that they can just go get em illegally?

it's not even like people can't get access to guns, it would just limit who can get them so easily, or perhaps at all. not all criminals (or more often normal people who turn to criminals) are die hards who will stop at nothing to get a gun. if we've restricted the access to guns, surely it will have some positive effect.

besides common sense, here are some points to consider as more evidence that not all will run to get an illegal gun:

besides states and countries, i can also cite a study that says that the more likely you are to have a gun, the more likely you are to use it, or to have problems related to it.

a large study done at harvard showed that the more guns a state or country has, the more overall deaths they have.
what effect the overall national decline in firearm ownership from 1981 to 2010 had on gun homicides. The result was staggering: "for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership," Siegel et al. found, "firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9R43; percent.

i can also cite a study that says that the more likely a state is to have guns, the higher their gun homicide rate is.. in fact, up to twice as high. if the above link is established to be true, this should be self evident.

and, you can argue 'people will just find other ways to kill' but it's contrary to the evidence above.... isn't it fair to conclude that the more likely you are to have a gun, the more likely you are to murder someone?

In fact, our serious crime rate is about even with countries like Germany and Denmark, but our homicide rate is three times higher than either, largely the result of guns being used in criminal attacks.

we might find outliers, state or city anecdotal evidence, but the overall picture is painted with the above evidence.
think about common sense points too:
-think of someone on jerry springer having their arguments in the front yard. don't you think they'd be more likely to run in and get a gun if they had one? do you think they'd run in and get a knife? not as likely. /// i know plenty of people who don't have guns, and when they get guns, are prone to talking about using it. this is a common mentality among street and poor's almost even human nature.
-and, are you willing to admit that one hundred of the people who are denied one would go get one?
-and, are you willing to admit that having a gun doesn't cause anyone at all more prone to wanting to use it or kill someone?
-if there's any doubt about whether checks will make a difference, why not just give it the benefit of the doubt given the only cost is mere inconvenience?

the evidence is overwhelming.


1. 40% myth

This number is false, and actually comes from research from the Clinton Administration in order to support gun control: however the number reported was actually 36%, and the amount of guns actually sold without a background check is closer to 10% according to that study. It was a survey with 251 participants. More tham 3/4 of the respondents took the survey BEFORE the Brady Bill was even enacted. Further, the survey didn't actually find out who got their firearms from licensed dealers--rather, if the respondents thought the dealer was certified... And as a reasonable person can see, what people think and what actually is is distinctly different. If you look at the study, 85% of the guns purchased had a background check through a licenced dealer, the reason the number is high was partially because they counted gifts as well as inheritance. After other factors are included, the number falls to around 11% [1.].

But this begs the question as to whether or not we should further expand background checks. They are costly, often times time consuming, and hinder law abiding citizens. We need to ask: would expanding background checks hinder the abilty for law abiding citizens to defend themselves? Indeed, if this is the case, extensive control laws may actually increase crime--or at best keep it the same--not benefit society.

2. Brady Bill stopped guns from being purchased

Why yes, yes they did. But who did they stop? Indeed, it is possible the guns delayed--or prevented--law abiding citizens from purchasing firearms for defense. This would increase the amount of people who would not be able to defend themselves. Guns can cause bad things to happen, but they can also cause good things to happen. In this case, we must see whether or not background checks generally reduce good firearms, or if they reduce bad ones (the firearm, generally, isnt 'bad' or 'good', rather its the people who purchase them: here I examine which these laws would effect).

The main area where one could purchase a firearm without background checks would be at a gun show. So, how often to criminals obtain their firearms from gun shows? Well... Not too often, it seems. Fewer than 1% of state prisoners report obtaining their firearms from a gun show. Therefore, regulating gun shows, for example, would have little effect on crime. FURTHER, the vast majority of people who are halted by background checks are, you guessed it, law abiding citizens. Although 92% of background checks ended with a simple call to the government, about 3% took two hours to complete. Another 2% wait up to three business days, and 3% take full 3 business days. Indeed, a 2 hour wait could easily deter a law abiding citizen from purchasing a firearm. Although my opponent may applaud this, chances are this person is a law abiding citizen who would use the firearm for enjoyment or self defense. This would decrease gun ownership and, therefore, make it harder for normal citizens to obtain firearms. The decreased purchasing would make crime easier (fewer armed citizens) and may actually increase rime [2.].

In fact, the vast majority of people halted by background checks actually are law abiding citizens--it isnt just my speculation. Of those stopped by background checks, only 6.6% need more investegation. Of those 6%, 51% of that group was investegated before the initial check was completed! This leaves about 4000 more cases left to investegate... or, 94% so far were halted for no good reason. Of this, only 140 of those individuals were banned from purchasing firearms. Of those 140 cases, only 77 were able to be prosecuted--the rest were allowed to buy the firearm. Really? a 94 - 99% false positive rate? The fact that of all the denials the majority of them were stopping law abiding citizens, the success of the law was at preventing good people from defending themselves [3.].

3. Guns, homicide, and suicide

First study: the CDC. The study includes criminals as a huge part of its data. Indeed, if someone who is not even allowed to own a firearm, gets one on the black market, and uses it, they would be considered a danger in the study. Indeed, since the vast majority of citizens are not in this category, and would be much more likely to use the gun in defense, the study is already biassed towards a danger viewpoint. Further, the study doesnt count brandishment in its defense category. It only counts when the gun is fired. According to research, most defensive useages dont require a shot to be fired--brandishment and warning shots combined are about 92%. The study fails to control for where people own the gun--there will be more homicide, regardless of gun ownership status in a bad neighborhood than in a gated community--this is not controlled for. Further the data is 20 years old, which means it only includes the societal attitudes, well, 20 years ago. Further, the study admitted that African Americans and criminals were over-represented in the data. Therefore, this study is not conclusive on homicide (I will talk about suicide below).

Second study: Hemmingway et al. I will use their 2007 study as it seems to use similar methodology as the others but extends the dataset to 2001. The thing is... They only use the data until 2001, when they could have continued going a few more years as the data existed. Further, they excluded Washington DC from their dataset without any explanation as to why. DC likely weakened their results, as crime increased when a handgun ban was enacted, and fell when it was struck down. Other researchers have used all the data availible--every state, county, and city, and often find that firearms actually decrease crime rates. In fact, when you re-do their data, you find this: "their result depends on excluding DC and including other crime rates to explain the murder rate. This would mean that more guns, less homicide. Even when DC is excluded, the simple correlation using cross-sectional data is negative, though not at all statistically significant." [4.]. Yep, their data actually shows guns decrease homicide, and that if DC is put into their data we see a strong negative homicide effect.

Third study: International compaisons. This is actually incorrect. One research study by... Harvard, of all places, found that more guns led to fewer murders [5.].

Suicide: The majority of research finds that guns increase firearm-related suicide deaths but NOT overall suicides, because the suicidal usually substitute methods (garage + car, hanging, knives, etc). In fact, 4-5 studies found that suicide rates were not affected by firearms, whereas 1-2 (one of them was listed as yes/no, presumably because the study used two methodologies and got different results per methodology) found it did affect the overall suicide rate [6.].

Background checks effect on crime: A lot of research (Lott and Whitely 2003, Lott 2010) find that background checks will increase crime. In fact, there is one good example: MA.

Or, lets look at international comparisons (America does quite well!) Source:

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at Tuesday, December 17, 11.35 AM

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at Monday, March 31, 3.17 AM

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at Monday, March 31, 1.00 AM

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at Monday, March 31, 2.10 AM

(This means the US is the only reason crime increases, when looking at cross sectional data... And the reason is simple: huge amount of people, more poverty than a lot of countries, etc. If the US is the only driving force in a positive correlation, this means I am more likely to support the first graph).

The evidence is overwhelming. Vote CON.

Debate Round No. 1


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by George_Clinton 2 years ago

And yes
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 2 years ago
i've very rarely received such a formiddable response on this subject. i will look into this stuff and get back with you.

are you really only 16? very impressive, quality like that usually doesn't come from your age group.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 2 years ago
i've very rarely received such a formiddable response on this subject. i will look into this stuff and get back with you.

are you really only 16? very impressive, most don't come from your age group.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: All points to Con. The forfeits are enough to give Con conduct, but the fact that Pro keeps repeating the same points despite their repeated failures in other rounds is really getting to me, as is the apparent lack of interest in working on her spelling and grammar in that same post. So S&G also goes Con. Sources go Con because I find that Con did a much better job referencing his points, and Pro's links often fail to support her arguments. Needless to say, arguments also go Con. dairygirl4u2c, I realize you like to start a lot of debates at once and use the same argument over and over again, but realistically, you need to do better than this. I agree with your stance, but you're making it difficult to agree with your arguments.