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RFD - Gun Ban Debate

Varrack
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9/20/2015 11:12:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is my RFD for the recent gun debate [http://www.debate.org...] between tajshar2k and Hayd.

There are a few observations I have:

1) The resolution is about the effectiveness of a nationwide gun ban. It isn't about whether or not a gun ban should be implemented, but rather the effect it would have if it were to be implemented. It also isn't about whether a ban *could* be implemented, but assumes from the start that if it were to be, the result is would have would be positive or negative.

2) There are two viewpoints on the issue of what the intended result of a gun ban actually is. Pro claims that it is the reduction of violent crime, while Con believes it to be saving lives. This disagreement has a huge effect on the debate because most of Con's case is dependent upon the assumption that the intended result of a gun ban is preserving life.

= My decision on the right metric =

As a judge, I have to buy either Pro's or Con's definition of the "intended result" of a gun ban. This is so I understand the resolution as it ought to be interpreted. Neither Pro nor Con really argue for their metric of what such a result would be, so I need to go off of context and arguments made. Here are some points I wanted to make about the clashing definitions:

1) Pro is the instigator of the debate, and thus has an obligation to define the terms appropriately. He failed to do so here, which led to the disagreement and confusion on what "effective" really entails. I can't blame Con for assuming it to be one thing, because Pro never provided him a definition in the first place. Con has no obligation to define terms as he is simply the contender, so the fault really lies on Pro. As such, I am tempted to go with Con's metric because Pro never provided one to begin with, and the failure of one in my view means the benefit of the opponent.

2) Not only did Pro not contend Con's definition, he *conceded* Con's definition to be true. Here's an example of that;

"Guns are used by Americans for self-defense annually. Studies found that approximately two million defensive gun uses occur each year. In other studies it showed that between 800,000 and 2 million defensive gun uses are used per year, which show that guns save lives and protect against criminals. Let me compare this to the annual homicide rate. You can see in 2013, the # of murders that occurred were about 14,827."

Under Pro's own overview of the intended result of a gun ban, he is already going off of the assumption that guns, or a ban on them, exist to protect lives. My issue with this is that Pro is supposed to be advocating his interpretation of reducing violent crime to be correct, yet he bows to Con's definition several times. Overall, both debaters seem to be leaning toward Con's definition, so I think it's safe to go with the contender's analysis of what a gun ban entails. Life here seems to be the standard for measurement.

To add, I am more inclined to go with Con's metric because it does not necessarily exclude Pro's and seems to cover the debate and arguments made better. Pro in his arguments and in his rebuttals seems to assume that a gun ban would be ineffective if it didn't save lives. Con never makes this appeal to Pro's definition like Pro does to Con's, and the vibe I get from both is that saving life is the biggest factor when it comes to banning guns. Pro talks about the homicide rate several times, and says in R3 that Con needs to prove that the number of suicides outweigh the number of gun self defense uses in order to sin the point on suicide. Neither self defense nor suicide is necessarily violent crime, get Pro adds it into his framework like he was assuming Con's definition all along. Thus, I will use Con's metric and assume the resolution is about saving lives in relation to a gun ban.

Pro's Case

1. Gun Culture

This point is irrelevant to the resolution. Pro is supposed to be arguing that the intended result *after* implementing a gun ban would not occur, but here he is talking about how the actual ban would unlikely be implemented. The resolution talks about the effect a ban would have, not about whether hunters will put up with it or not.

2. Little effect in certain states

Pro says here that Vermont has low gun control and a low crime rate, so a gun ban wouldn't lower crime much anyway. This point has little impact for me because 1) it isolates one state when the resolution is about the entire country in general, and 2) assumes that just because a state has a low homicide rate, it can't get much lower with a ban. Con responds by pointing out the correlation/causation issue that exists here, and lists other possible factors in affecting the crime rate. But he doesn't give me a reason to believe that Vermont's crime rate is due to something other than the lack of guns - he just lists some possible factors of it. So this point isn't worthless, but isn't particularly strong either.

3. Self-defense

Pro states that guns are used for self-defense 800k to 2M times annually. I suppose this makes sense because it ties in to saving lives, although it assumes that a gun ban would reduce self-defense uses, which I'm not sure to buy but will probably go with it since both sides assume it.

Con replies by saying that stat is false and provides the 0.8% figure from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reliable enough. I suppose I will go with Con here, since Pro couldn't reply and I really have no other reason to go with him.

4. Illegal guns/Pros of CCW

Pro states that illegal guns commit the majority of crime - 93% - so banning guns won't be very effective on reducing crime, and homicides are included in crime so there is some resolution impact. Con says that a full ban would completely eliminate all guns, even the illegal ones, but this makes no sense. A ban on guns is not the same as the removal of all guns. When alcohol was prohibited in the 1920's, it was banned, but it was still bought and sold illegally. Whether the law states something or not doesn't mean illegal activity won't occur. I find this assumption silly and baseless.

The CCW point is useless. As Con pointed out, whether or not you are allowed to carry guns has nothing to do with a complete ban, which the debate is about.

5. Britain

The U.S. has much lower gun control than the U.K., and has a lower homicide rate, so guns are good. This is basically Pro's argument. Con replies saying that 1) the U.K. doesn't have a gun ban, they just have tight restrictions, so this really is irrelevant to the resolution, and 2) the culture there is different than in the U.S. I think this is a pretty sufficient response because it is irrelevant if it has nothing to do with an actual ban (although Pro could have worded it in such a way to say that the less guns there are, the more crime there is, and a ban with no guns would mean high crime. He didn't do that here). Con could have elaborated on the culture difference point a bit more, but I think C5 is nullified enough at this point.

Con's Case

1. Suicides

Simple argument: More guns = more suicides. Pro responds with 1) suicides don't matter in the long run because of defensive gun uses, and 2) Japan has tight gun control and a higher suicide rate than the U.S., so there is no correlation anyway. I don't like this rebuttal because it leans upon an earlier argument (defensive gun uses) in an attempt to minimize the suicide point, and it all really seems like a hidden concession to me. Pro also falsely equates strict gun control with a full gun ban, when Con has already explained the difference. So I give Con impact here.
Varrack
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9/20/2015 11:13:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
2. Homicides

Con states that banning guns = less homicides, since 69.4% of homicides were committed with firearms. I'm not fond of Pro's response because it all relies on past arguments, but it works to some degree. I don't buy his self defense point since Con addressed that later but he did say that CCW = less homicides and that 93% of crimes are committed by illegal guns, both of which Con dropped. So while the rebuttal was good, it didn't attack Con's stat directly, so Con gets a little impact (but not much).

3. Accidents

Con says that guns cause accidents, about 15k of them annually, and that they're bad. Pro says that the morality of being shot dead is highly subjective, because some guy may say that being accidentally killed is really not a big deal. This is probably the worst rebuttal I have ever heard on this site, and very inhumane as well. I really don't need to explain why it's so bad (it should be terribly obvious), but using a moral nihilist response in a stats debate is a really bad move.

Conclusion

Pro's case: small impact (C2) + large impact (C4)
Con's Case: large impact (C1) + small impact (C2) + large impact (C3)

So, as you see, Con wins out, and earns my vote. Pro just needs to work on his rebuttals a bit more and maybe strengthen his case a bit.

= End of RFD =