The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Winter Tourney: Gun Rights

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 659 times Debate No: 99808
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
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This Debate about gun control. Basically, I allow guns when my opponent doesn't. Thanks for Hayd to make the winter tournament, and Solon to be my opponent. It's the second time I have to write this, and I do not like it, and it will be way shorter than the first one.

1. Acceptance only
2. Arguments only
3. Rebuttals
4. Defense/ Conclusion, no new arguments.

Rights: Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.[1] Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as lawand ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

You know what a gun is.



I accept. I look forward to the debate!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Solon for accepting the debate.

My framework will be centered around some laws that will be important, like the 2nd amendment, and self-defense. My framework will mostly be centered around 2nd amendment, and self-defense, and I will give definitions for both of these, then go onto my arguments.

Self-defense: the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as bycountering blows or overcoming an assailant [1].

2nd amendment: he Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms [2].

Now I will move onto my arguments.

Argument 1: 2nd amendment

My first argument will be about the 2nd amendment. Here is what it says in the 2nd amendment [3]. And in the shorten definition above, it shows that the 2nd amendment shows that people have the right to bear arms, or basically, have guns. If we ban guns, then that means that we are violating the second amendment. Socrates says, “A bad law is still a law [4]”. The second amendment isn’t a bad law, though it is a law, as socrates says, a law is a law, and laws must be followed. And as the 2nd amendment is a law, the second amendment from the U.S. Constitution, the law must be followed. Therefore, we should not ban guns, because of the 2nd amendment, and if we do ban guns, we are directly harming this law, and doing the opposite of it. A law is a law, so we can’t ban guns, so the resolution is negated, and vote for Con.

Argument 2: Self-defense

My next argument will be about self-defense. Some people say that there are around 2 million cases of self-defense each year. Some people think 3.6 million. Some say around 75,000 [5], and reasonably, I think it’s either of 75,000.

Now, we don’t care about the *number* of self-defense cases per year. Yeah, there are a lot of self-defense cases, but that’s not the important part of this argument. It’s whether guns *can* save lives, or *can’t* save lives. In the statistics above, it shows that there are self-defense cases each year, which show that guns *can* save people. Because it can save people, and one life is important, we should not ban guns, because guns save lives, and if we ban guns, these lives will be lost.

Let's give an example of this. A robber comes in your house, and demands for money, jewelry, or something precious. Like, "Give me all the money you have in this house, and all the diamonds, and everything precious in this house, or I will shoot your head with a gun!!!" Then you will be very frightened because of the man. Let's say that the robber has a gun, because he bought it illegally (will be explained more in my 4th argument), and you don't, because you are a citizen of the U.S., and don't buy guns illegally, because you follow the rules. You need to defend yourself. The things you basically have are knifes, baseball bats, golf rackets, etc. This is harder to defend yourself if you have these things, because firearms are the best defensive weapon. So you have two choices, give everything to the robber, or get shot by the gun. You can easily die if you get shot by a gun. If you have a gun though, you do have lots of chances to defend yourself, by shooting the other one. That's shouldn't be immoral, and not justified, because it was a self-defense act. I forgot where I heard this, but I heard that US thinks of self-defense acts well.

Argument 3: Gun culture

My next argument will be about gun culture. Americans love guns, I can’t use this as a source, because this is plainly obvious. Guns are part of our culture, and if we ban guns, then that means that the people who will use guns will make some people get hurt, because they can’t use their guns which they used daily. There are many poachers and hunters with guns in the US, and if we ban guns, they can’t do this, and it will have an impact on their life.

So… who cares about their life? We need to care of their lives, because if we ban guns, their culture, and our culture of using guns will have severe impact to many, and the government needs to help the citizens, not harm them by taking away their culture. So, we should not ban guns, because it will harm, and make many suffer.

Argument 4: Economy

My next argument will be about economy. If we ban guns, then it will make an economic impact, and the economy will suffer. Let me give a chart first, then some quotes.

"Economic Impact of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Industry in the U.S.





Jobs (FTE)










Economic Impact





That is a graph from this source [6]. My quotes will be on this same source also.

"Companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment employ as many as 132,584 people in the country and generate an additional 155,402 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as those that depend on sales to workers in the firearms and ammunition industry [6] [7]."

and also, from another source

"All told, the firearms industry contributes more than $33 billion to the U.S. economy and supports about 220,000 jobs, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation [8]."

Here is a picture in the same source

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According to all the sources and pictures I have shown, guns give over 150,000 jobs in the US alone, and contribute 33 billion dollars to the U.S. economy. If we ban guns, then all of the jobs will be thrown away, and all the money, which is 33 billion dollars to the economy will be thrown away into the drain, and it will disappear.

Not only the economy, there will be a black market formed. Guns will be bought and sold illegally. It is said that over 90% of guns are illegal guns. So if we ban guns, then only illegal guns will be left. Illegal guns will go to the black market, of course, and citizens, who follow rules will not have guns, when robbers who do not follow rules will still have guns, which makes citizens less safe, as criminals still have guns, when they don't. The impact of this argument is clearly shown. Vote Con.

Argument 5: Waste of time

Let’s first see how many guns Americans have.

“According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns in all [9]. This computes to 93 guns per 100 people. In the same article: "But that doesn't mean every man, woman and child has a gun. The number of armed households has actually declined to about 1 in 3. So an ever larger number of guns is concentrated in a shrinking number of homes." The graph shows a decline from 50% in 1975 to 31% in recent years.[10]”

Guns are used by too many people of the U.S. Even though we ban them, some people will still have them illegally. Even though we ban them, they will still use them. Banning will do not point. It will cost more money if you ban it, but not much need because no one will follow it, and they can’t check over 300 million guns.

This does an impact to the resolution, because if we do actually ban, it will be pointless because of the numbers, people will still use guns.


I have shown that guns are protected by the 2nd amendment, self-defense, that guns don't reduce crime, that banning guns are a waste of time, and banning guns will cause the economy go down very low. I have shown why guns should not be banned, and why they should be legalised. Vote for me.

Not all my sources can fit in the text, so I'll just post them in the comments. Onto Con.



Since the topic was a bit vague, I'm going to argue: 1) Gun rights do not exist, and 2) Banning guns is good. Since the topic is gun rights, though, you should vote Con even if I only prove that gun rights don't exist.

The topic of discussion is gun rights, and it's best to frame that discussion in terms of whether the government has the authority to ban or restrict firearms. As Ronald Dworkin notes in Taking Rights Seriously, rights are "trumps", meaning that a right is something that prevents a government from compelling its citizens to do something (for instance, forfeit their firearms), even if that government is serving the public good by doing so. Obviously, if there is a "right" to firearm ownership, then no government can ever take that away, and so the debate hinges on this.

We need to know where our rights come from, so that we can then say what our rights are. It is meaningless to say "I have a right to this" without appealing to some reason you have that right--as Dworkin would say in Justice for Hedgehogs, there are no "morons" (moral particles) that magically give you the right to own a firearm. Instead, we say that there are reasons that something is a right. I will present a framework that both explains why rights exist, and what these rights are.

Unsurprisingly, my rights framework is not going to include the right to own a firearm, and if you think my framework is justified, you must side with me.

Equal Respect and Concern

Imagine this: You can save five lives right now. You're signed up to be an organ donor, and all it would take is an untimely demise to save the lives of five people who badly need your organs. An acquaintance, who is a true moral paragon, realizes this, and promptly kills you to save the five.

Intuitively, we know that the acquaintance has done you wrong, and we know utilitarianism clearly fails here. But why do we know this? What have you been denied in this example that is so important to you? It's not your life; the lives of those five people matter, too. It's not your autonomy; it seems odd to say that it's good that someone has the autonomy to let others die.

What you have been denied is your right to equal respect and concern. Per Ronald Dworkin, respect means that others should allow you to make your own ethical decisions (defined as how you achieve your idea of the good life), while concern means that others must treat you as equal in worth to them (Justice for Hedgehogs). In the "mandatory organ donation", you have been denied equal concern--your acquaintance made judgments about how valuable your life was in relation to others, and used that judgment to end your life. There, after all, is no objective measure of who deserves to live more. If you could save the lives of five Nobel laureates, would that make you okay with being murdered? If you were going to discover the cure for cancer with just one more day of research, would that make you more upset at being murdered?

In this first round, I'll leave the justification for this rights framework at this: It is intuitive.

This is more powerful than you might think. It could be true that some moral principle says that we ought to murder other people, whenever and wherever we can. This would absolve your acquaintance of any wrongdoing. But it's wrong, and it's wrong to you, the reader, because of your conviction that it just is. You might say that murder denies, say, your natural rights. But when you're asked why you believe in those natural rights, this chain of questions will inevitably lead you to the conviction that it just is right.

Therefore Dworkin believes that the good morality will include coherence backed by conviction (Justice for Hedgehogs). Your morality must be coherent because incoherence cannot be sincerely held as moral (at that point, you're just saying "I don't like drunk driving in cars. I like drunk driving in SUVs"). Your morality must be backed by conviction because if you don't really believe something is right and you do it anyway, you're hypocritical, and not really making a moral decision in the first place. If someone tells you eating Cheetos is wrong, and you stop doing it not because you believe them, but because you don't want to argue with them, abstaining from Cheetos not a moral decision at all.

The right to equal respect and concern is the fundamental right of all people, endorsed by our intuition and personal conviction. This requires that we are treated as equal to others, and that we are free to pursue our own conception of the good life, provided it does not conflict with the first principle.

The Right to Arm Bears
Guns kill. Other than hunting rifles, they're explicitly designed to kill people. Per our framework, the questions we must ask are this: 1) Do we ever have a right to kill people, 2) Do we have the right to own things designed to kill people, and 3) Does a gun ban unfairly prevent people from achieving a good life?

1. Obviously, it is morally permissible to kill people at some times. When we're in danger, when someone is attacking us, when the threat to ourselves is so great that only killing can save us, killing is obviously justified. But we are also aware that killing is generally wrong, and that it would be wrong for humanity to increase its capacity to kill each other. There is no right to nuclear weaponry for self-defense. The first question necessarily leads to the second.

2. The question can be answered with a question: What is the difference between a gun and a nuke? A gun can kill people. A nuke can kill a lot of people. That is the difference. We allow guns in the US because they don't kill that many people. What sort of premise says we have a God-given right to own killing machines if they aren't that dangerous? Obviously, knives are fine and they can kill, but it would be ludicrous to talk about our right to own a knife. The actual right we have that underpins the (mistaken) notion of gun rights is the right to self-defense.

Self-defense is easily extracted from the fundamental right. A government that denies its citizens the ability to defend themselves in times of danger does not treat their lives with concern, for it unfairly allows criminals to live la vida loca at the expense of law-abiding citizens. The question is: Does the legality of guns enhance self-defense?

Before I address that:
3. No. The right to equal concern has greater weight because of the lethality of guns.


Guns have little correlation with crime rates--except for the US, both firearm and non-firearm owning countries had low homicide rates. But, in the US, the firearm homicide rate was over ten times higher than the other average country. "Self-defense" is clearly having a perverse effect--our right to self-defense has been interpreted such that you're more likely to be shot to death in the US than anywhere else.

Firearm ownership does not enhance the right to self-defense. Your chances of being murdered are not decreased by legalizing guns; they are either unaffected or increased. Guns enhance the killing potential of criminals, so the right to self-defense is not enhanced by guns.

Since there is no right protecting ownership of firearms, we may decide a ban based on whether it serves the public good. Especially in the US, banning guns would reduce the capabilities of criminals and thus of crime, so favor a gun ban.

The right to equal respect and concern is the intuitive right from which all others flow. From this, we have the right to self-defense, but guns do not enhance or protect that right, and there is thus no right to bear arms that follows. Especially in the US, guns detract from the public good, and should be banned.

Debate Round No. 2


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It's unfortunate that my opponent did not post rebuttals, but nonetheless, on with the show!

In this round, I will:
1. Demolish Pro's framework (Following the law), and urge that the topic be viewed through a moral lens (according to the values of equal respect and concern).
2. Reiterate the reasons pro-gun policies do not enhance self-defense.
3. Minimize the impacts of "gun culture" (because it was not quantified by Pro). I will also show that this is irrelevant when we're determining whether gun ownership is a right.
4. Minimize the impact of gun restrictions on the economy. I will again show that this is irrelevant when we're determining whether gun ownership is a right.
5. Show that the number of guns is not a relevant objection to either gun rights or a gun ban.

Remember that to win I need only show that gun ownership is not a right.

Breaking--or at least, changing--an unjust law is right
Pro argues that the existence of the 2nd Amendment itself somehow argues for the existence of gun rights. In a legal sense, he's right--currently, in US law, the second amendment is a "trump" over utilitarian calculations of public good. But it would make no sense to be debating what legal rights we have--it would be like if we debated "Due Process" Rights and Pro immediately turned to the Constitution and said "Hah, the 5th/14th amendments say we have that right; I win!"

But there's a better objection, too: The law is obviously not necessarily equivalent to what is right, per my framework. Where it is wrong, it should change, for example through passage of a Constitutional amendment. I don't need to show the counterplan is viable, only that we obviously aren't debating what the law is, but what it should be. What it should be, to paraphrase Hume, has nothing to do with what is unless there's some moral reason why they're connected.

Prefer my framework of equal respect and concern, which actually addresses the rightness/wrongness of the issue at hand.

The stats that show guns are used for self-defense are taken from a world in which guns are used for offense as well. As I showed last round, there's little correlation between guns and crime prevention--having more guns does not make your country safer, and in some cases (especially the US) may make it much more dangerous. Guns must demonstrably enhance your self-defense (your ability to stop a crime from being committed against you) for there to be a "right to bear arms". According to the NIJ, "467,321 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011" (, which means that guns reduced the ability of 467,321 people to defend themselves in one year. This is far, far higher than the 75,000 Pro estimates defend themselves with a gun per year. Of course, it's ludicrous to assume all those people would not have been victimized were it not for a gun, but given the insanely high crime rate in the US, guns are clearly helping criminals more than they are helping victims.

What is a right?
Before I talk about culture and economics, it's worth returning to a point in my framework: "As Ronald Dworkin notes in Taking Rights Seriously, rights are 'trumps', meaning that a right is something that prevents a government from compelling its citizens to do something (for instance, forfeit their firearms),even if that government is serving the public good by doing so." This means that utilitarian arguments cannot demonstrate that gun ownership is a right. It is not enough to say "banning guns hurts the economy, so it is a right". There must be a further connection to some moral premise. Pro does not provide that, and so he cannot possibly show in these two points that gun ownership is a right.

Gun culture, boo-hoo
Pro's argument boils down to "If we ban guns, some people will be sad." He doesn't tell us how many people will be affected, and he doesn't tell us how they'll be affected. This point proves literally nothing, and it also has very weak ties to the resolution--saving lives (which banning guns would do) is far more valuable than making a few people sad. It's also worth noting that most people who argue for firearm bans specifically exempt the hunting/sports weaponry Pro talks about, especially in the US (see a striking example of someone arguing the contrary, and you'll notice how against the normal "gun ban" language it is).

The economy, which would be the one decent objection if it were relevant
I won't contest that gun manufacturing adds jobs and contributes to the economy. I will contest what that means, and its actual impacts.

First, it does not mean that a gun ban will cause $33 billion to simply poof out of existence. This follows pretty easily from the definition of "contribute" in economics, and we've established that a "gun ban" typically excludes hunting rifles. Note that I did so in my "The Right to Arm Bears" section.

Second, and more importantly, you must weigh human lives against the economy. Guns kill people. In the US, which we've both accepted as the reference point for a gun ban, they kill a lot of people, and make people less safe, as I've shown. Again, 467,321 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011, while Pro estimates only 75,000 per year defend themselves with guns.

Third, the "black market" objection is so frivolous (because there is no source) that I need not address it.

Altogether, this isn't a terrible point when it comes to showing utilitarian impacts of a gun ban. But, again, it does not prove that there is a right to bear arms.

Waste of time, or, I can write numbers too!


Let's say these are all numbers of guns in different countries. Clearly, the bigger numbers make it harder to keep track of all guns for logistical reasons. But it doesn't make it impossible. Enter Australia.

Australia instituted a mandatory gun buy-back program, and it worked. Gun crime rates fell 60% in the decade after it was introduced (; over 600,000 guns were destroyed ( Buybacks have generally worked everywhere they've been implemented at a national level (

"They can't check over 300 million guns" is a bare assertion; it means nothing, treat it as nothing.

Pro provides no convincing reason that a right to gun ownership exists. His utilitarian arguments cannot justify the language of rights, and guns clearly do not enhance self-defense. His appeals to the law fall flat because the law is not the arbiter of right and wrong--equality of respect and concern is the final arbiter.

Guns increase crime and reduce the ability of people to defend themselves by increasing the capabilities of criminals. Banning them is possible, and has reduced crime wherever it has been tried.

Guns do not protect the fundamental rights of equal respect and concern, and there is therefore no right to them.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by SolonKR 9 months ago
Well, this is unfortunate :/
Posted by fire_wings 9 months ago
Okay. It's eleven pm right now, so I'll post it in comments tomorrow.
Posted by SolonKR 9 months ago
I'd rather have something to argue against in the last round than not. Go ahead and finish it, and link it/post it (whichever you prefer) in the comments.
Posted by fire_wings 9 months ago
@Solon, I suck at Google Docs, and I didn't finish, I didn't make my rebuttal on self defense.
Posted by SolonKR 9 months ago
Link your argument in a Google doc and I'll link it in my next round.
Posted by SolonKR 9 months ago
What happened to your round? O.o
Posted by fire_wings 9 months ago




[4] Book of History, Ancient Greece Philosophers, Han Chae



[7] John Dunham and Associates, New York, December 2015. Direct impacts include those jobs in firearms and ammunition manufacturers, as well as companies that manufacture products such as ammunition holders and magazines, cases, decoys, game calls, holsters, hunting equipment, scopes, clay pigeons and targets. Direct impacts also include those resulting from the wholesale distribution and retailing of firearms and ammunition in sporting goods retailers and variety/mass merchandise stores.




Posted by missbailey8 9 months ago
Lol, where's your source, Fire?
Posted by fire_wings 9 months ago
You just made me the urge to punch you in the face, because I need to now start my argument quickly.

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