The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Concealed Carry (CCW) Laws Reduce Crime

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,745 times Debate No: 57167
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (45)
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In this debate, I will argue that allowing (shall issue laws, for example) CCW will decrease violent crime in the United States. My opponent, as CON, will be arguing against this proposition, that CCW laws have no effect, or increase, violent crime rates.


Concealed Carry: concealed carry weapon, a practice in which a person carries a weapon, generally a firearm, hidden on their person. This generally (except in states, such as Alaska and Arizona) requires a license.

Shall issue: A 'shall' issue law is a variant of law related to the legality of CCW practice. This means if you apply for a license, and meet the criteria (including, but not limited to, 21 and over in age, no criminal record), you will obtain the license. The authority will not exert discretion to awarding the licenses.

May issue: Similar to shall issue, except that the authorities exert discretion on who obtains the licenses. In shall issue, the WILL give the permit if you meet the criteria, and as the name implies, they MAY give the license, the sheriffs department, for example, can deny certain applicants which pass the preliminary tests.

No issue: CCW is banned, and only rarely will grant CCW permits.

My opponent will be, essentially, arguing that lenient laws (shall issue and may issue) either do not effect crime, or increase the crime rate. I will argue that lenient laws will decrease violent crime.

First round is for acceptance


I accept. This is my first debate against someone of your notoriety. I hope I will be able to provide a challenge. Good luck Pro, and good luck to myself as well. I'll probably need it more than you do.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

The mechanism: Deterrence

Deterrence is a phenomena well known economists, especially those who study crime. Economists study human behavior, and generally lean towards more conservative policies when related to crime. Economists, for example, have discovered supply and demand. People respond to incentives, such as price. When the cost of an action increases, people are less likely to commit such an action. It has been proven that increased arrest rates for a certain crime reduce the crime rate for the crime which has high arrest rates. When researching whether incapacitation or deterrence is a larger factor in the reduced crime due to arrest rates, Steven Levitt notes, “empirically, deterrence appears to be the more important factor, particularly for property crimes.”[1]

This theory is further supported by the excellent work of Gary Becker, who recently passed away. His work modelling crime demonstrated that the higher the cost is to criminals, incidence of crime would significantly decrease. Becker theorizes (as Levitt confirms) that if we increase punishment on, say, violent crime, nonviolent crime (like property crime) would increase. As Becker noted, “increases [of] the marginal cost of changing offenses by a change in either p or f (see Figures 2a and b). The optimal number of offenses would necessarily decrease, because the optimal values of both p and f would increase. In this case (and, as shortly seen, in several others), the optimal values of p and f move in the same, rather than in opposite, directions” [2]. Therefore, if the mechanism which would cause CCW to drive crime down (deterrence) is true, we should see an increase in nonviolent crime, but accompanied with substantial decreases in violent crime.

This theory has also been used in the death penalty debate, and further proven that it exists in that field. A review of the evidence by the Heritage Foundation argues, “the recent studies using panel data techniques have confirmed what we learned decades ago: Capital punishment does, in fact, save lives. Each additional execution appears to deter between three and 18 murders. … The strength of these findings has caused some legal scholars, originally opposed to the death penalty on moral grounds, to rethink their case … capital punishment produces a strong deterrent effect that saves lives.” [8]

Increasing the cost to the criminal--in this case, arming them (where the criminal doesn't know who is armed) leads to a high cost. The possibility of injury and death of the criminal increases dramatically when victims are armed, this also means victims previously preyed on due to the fact they cannot physically defend themselves (women, elderly people) have now an even playin field. And as the possible victims are concealing the weapon, the victim has the potential for surprise. The existence of an armed populace, therefore, makes it more risky and difficult to commit crime.

Economists (who do most of the work on CCW) generally agree on the deterrence hypothesis. However, some argue that there is a brutalization effect. Therefore, this mechanism is essentially considered almost a fact in this line of work, my opponent needs to demonstrate--empirically--that a brutalization effect outweighs the deterrent effect.

The Empirics: CCW decreases crime
We now understand that there is likely some deterrent effect, so the question is, what impact do lenient CCW laws have on violent crime rates? What does the empirical evidence suggests? By and large, the data supports the deterrence hypothesis: that lenient CCW laws decrease violent crime.

The first study on the issue which many forget was done by Cramer and Kopel in 1995, published in the Tennessee Law review. Although the study is small compared to more recent research, the study relied upon various cross sectional as well as case studies regarding conceal carry. They found that in counties with high CCW rates, crime was significantly lower than in those with a lower CCW permit rate. Although they note a possibility of other factors, they rule them out, arguing “[i]f more CCWs are really a threat to public safety, and the number of CCWs outstanding in this third group of counties is so large, the other factors that determine murder and aggravated assault rates must be truly enormous to so completely overwhelm the effects of all those CCWs.” Further, they did a 6 state violent crime comparison. Using the research of others in this section and summarizing it, they conclude, “[c]oncealed carry reform appears to reduce murder rates, at least in large, high-crime states. Concealed carry reform may reduce aggravated assault and robbery rates. Perhaps most significantly, there is simply no evidence that concealed carry reform will cause a net increase in the homicide rate, or in any other crime rate.” [3]

The next study, which is the most controversial study on the subject, is Lott and Mustard 1997. The research took into account every county of the United States. Using time series and cross sectional methods on county level data, they estimate that if the states which didn’t accept shall issue laws did accept them, there would be 1500 fewer murders, 4100 fewer rapes, and 60,000 fewer aggravated assaults. As the most comprehensive study at it’s time, it provides extremely strong evidence that CCW reduces violent crime, even if there is some substitution effect to nonviolent crimes. The aggregate effect is decreased crime, with the economy avoiding 6 billion in losses due to crime [4].

Over time, the fact that CCW decreased crime became more and more compelling, causing more and more states to have more lenient laws. Confirming the more guns less crime hypothesis, Plassman and Whitley find that each year a shall issue law is in effect, murder rates fall 1.5 to 2.3 percent. Further, they find that studies which claim CCW increased crime (slightly) misread their results, and that their crime models do not replicate reality past 1997. They claim when this is adjusted for, the results generally show that shall issue laws decrease the crime rate, confirming Lott and Mustard’s 1997 hypothesis [5].

A study in 2001 by David Mustard show that conceal carry may actually save the lives of police officers. Using state data, he found that states which enacted shall issue laws experienced a decrease in felonious police deaths, and a slight decrease in overall police deaths. After controlling for various variables, the results were statistically significant in 7 of the 9 model specifications. The trends before and after the laws were passed were significant in about half of the specifications [6].

More research by Lott in 1997 also confirms his original argument. He provides even more evidence, including visuals, to prove that pro-CCW laws decrease violent crime. His graph on overall violent crime demonstrates his point: (linked due to errors)

Violent crime increases before the law for at least 4 years, and continued falling for at least years after. Homicide, robbery, assault, rape, and burglary all decreased after shall issue laws were passed [7]. (linked due to errors)


I have identified a possible mechanism, and then demonstrated a reliable empirical basis for the mechanism to be accepted as correct.Concealed carry logically can either deter or increase crime, but the fact is, the deterrence effect is much larger than any possible brutalization effect. Further, there is not one case of a concealed carry permit holder attacking a police officer [6], proving that the brutalization effect is insignificant, at best.

Concealed carry reduces violent crime.










Thanks to my opponent for his arguments.

Introduction and Instant Negation of All Statisics

Well, well, well. I see that my opponent is simply using this debate as a way to demonstrate his skill of finding statistical data online. Unfortunately, I'm not going to falter in the wake of statistics and research groups. The bottom line is that my opponent hasn't really shown why these concealed carry laws reduce crime. I demand, and I assume the audience demands, this. Statistical data is simply not enough. My opponent claims in his conclusion that he has identified a mechanism (detterence) and then demonstrated the validity of this mechansims with "empirical" data. First of all, my opponent has not linked "detterence" with the concealed carry of weapons. This must be done. Second, empirical data is cheap. Just take a look at this source. It effectively negates everything my opponent supposedly "proved" about the death penalty.

Must I go on? Sure, I could dig up mountains of statistics on why the concealed carry statistics are false or skewed, but wouldn't this be a much better debate if my opponent and I proved our respective opinions with logic and reasoning that is merely supported by stats or other sources, rather than just with the latter? There is a reason why sources only dictate 2-points in the voting system (and most reasonable voters focus much more on convincing arguments anyway.) I move that in the next round my opponent actually shows the connection between concealed carry laws and the reduction of crime. However, so as not to cut this round short, I will make some of my own arguments in this round as well. I"m not going to spend all of my time falsifying my opponents sources though, that is pointless and far too easily done. Both my opponent and I are better than that.


My opponent spends all of his time digging up ridiculously long stat and report sheets. With these stats he goes on to show that detterence is significant in the reduction of crime. This may be the case, but it is unrelated to this debate until my opponent shows otherwise. My opponent also goes on to talk about the more guns = less violence hypothesis. I'm not neccesarily against this. However, if I am not mistaken, this debate is about the concealed carrying of guns, not the carrying of guns in general. Perhaps more armed citizens does lead to less violence, but that is not the topic of this debate. You can tell by some of the things my opponent is saying that he is trying to force me into debating a certain way, a way he is readily prepared for.

"my opponent needs to demonstrate--empirically--that a brutalization effect outweighs the deterrent effect."

No thanks Pro. I am not engaging in empircal warfare with you. That is not my aim in debates. My aim is to prove my points with logic and then support that logic with facts and statistics.


This has been a relatively short round on my point, but it got my point across. My opponent has bombared us all with a novel's worth of studies and statistics. This is simply not enough. Pro has not shown why concealed carry laws act as a detterent, why concealed carry laws are more effective than simply carrying a weapon, or why the only way to debate his claim is via brutalization. My opponent has not fulfilled his BOP (which is fully on himslef) and has a lot more work to do if he wants to do so.

That is all.

Debate Round No. 2


"Negation" of Statistics

My opponent, instead of responding to the strong empirical data, merely attempts to shrug off statistics as if they are worthless. This is similar to the often quoted saying "lies, damned lies, and statistics". However, this saying, and my opponents case, is simply untrue.

To shrug off statistics is a foolish mistake. If, for example, we assumed statistics are 'cheap' (like my opponent argues), then entire scientific fields would be essentially eradicated. Economics, criminology, and anyone who uses data to support their experiments. However, it is true that statistics can be false. But this does not mean that statistics is flawed at its core. Merely because one statistician, for example, is wrong does not mean all statistics are false. If a doctor prescribes the wrong medicine and kills the patient, the doctor is at fault, not medicine as a whole. When statistics are properly used, properly researched, and use correct methodology, reliable conclusions and inferences can be drawn from them.

Now, my opponent's argument (that I have not linked CCW with deterrence) is mindboggling. What is deterrence? Deterrence is when the costs of an action become large enough to persuade individuals to not commit a certian action. Conceal carry does exactly that! Conceal carry would be a huge deterrent! Why? Very simple. Conceal carry arms a percentage of the population, meaning that potential victims can defend themselves against criminals. Conceal carry not only makes criminals uncertian who is armed (which makes, say, an assault situation much harder), but they know that if they are armed, they are in trouble. As economist John Lott has stated, "Concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. Second, victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves." [1]

Now my opponent's main argument against statistics is that there are different opinions, different results... And...? My opponent has such high regard to logic--which I have demonstrated with the deterrence argument already, he must have skimmed it...--its unerving. Logic is, of course, needed. It is what can help statisticians determine correlation and causation (as well as other tests). However, to rely only on logic is just as flawed based on my opponents reasoning than relying on statistics. For example, many people have made logical arguments along the lines of procreation against gay marriage, others have made logical arguments for gay marriage on the lines of equality. People logically argue about the existence of god. Oh, I can dig up mountians of logic that are for or against a certian topic, but that does NOT mean that logic is actually flawed. Legal scholars have differing opinions, is law not a valid science? In reality, to demonstrate that there is conflicting research is a terrible argument. The question is not whether or not the field of statistics is valuble, or valid, but which numbers are correct. This is the same as with logical arguments. Instead of shrugging off statistical arguments, attempt to find holes in them. Debating statistics is exactly like debating logic, the only difference is that one has numbers.

More guns, less crime

Should my opponent really throw this argument out? In fact, it leads to an excellent analogy to the issue, and his throwing it out is to his detriment, not mine.

Take robbery, for example. Criminals do not know which homes are armed, and which are not. It has been demonstrated that robberies in the United States are done when no one is home due to the fears of civilian self defense, whereas in countries with low gun ownership robbers go when they please [2]. This demonstrates that when an people are armed, and criminals do not know who is armed, they will change their behavior accordingly. Sound familiar? To ignore this argument is to concede the entire premise behind CCW is correct.

"this debate is about the concealed carrying of guns, not the carrying of guns in general"

This brings up a good point. Carrying guns in general can actually be an excellent case study in this area. Conceal carry versus open carry, what effects would we see? For open carry, a criminal knows who is armed, and will not target that specific person. However, they have opertunities to attack other people which are unarmed. However, if 1% to 3 percent of the population has a concealed weapon, then the person has to change his behavior. Look for bumps in peoples pockets, go for people less likely to have a firearm, etc. If anything, my opponent bringing up this point proves my point: concealed weaponry can be an extremely strong deterent, due to the increased cost of attacking an armed victim.

HOWEVER, if you read my arguments, you see I talk primarily about concealed carry, and NOT the general gun topic. My opponent is actually drawing the debate much further away from the resolution then I have.

My opponent made no arguments

From round one: "My opponent, as CON, will be arguing against this proposition, that CCW laws have no effect, or increase, violent crime rates."

As we can see, my opponent has NOT actually argued anything. He has attempted to refute my case, but he has NOT offered ANY logical or statistical reasoning as to why CCW wouldn't decrease crime. See, my opponent talks about me relying mainly on empirical evidence. However, even if we assume my opponents argument is correct, my case would STILL be stronger than his: he has not even used logic in his case, for he has not made one! He has a response/case section, but he skips the case, and focuses entirely on what I said! My opponent claims I have not shown that CCW is a deterrent (which, obviously, I have, through both logical and empirical means), however, he hasn't shown that CCW isnt a deterrent. Which means, even accepting every thing he has stated, at best the conclusion from his statements is a tie, not a CON win. My opponent at this point in time seems to be attempting to gain a tie, not a victory. As of now, his method of argumentation should not be successful in the voting period.


What have I produced?
1) Empirical data from multiple research studies, authors, and viewpoints
2) A brief explanation of the deterrence hypothesis
3) A logical connection between deterrence and CCW (see, eg, this round, as well as last round paragraph 4 under deterrence, which my opponent must have not read "Increasing the cost to the criminal--in this case, arming them (where the criminal doesn't know who is armed) leads to a high cost. The possibility of injury and death of the criminal increases dramatically when victims are armed, this also means victims previously preyed on due to the fact they cannot physically defend themselves (women, elderly people) have now an even playin field. And as the possible victims are concealing the weapon, the victim has the potential for surprise. The existence of an armed populace, therefore, makes it more risky and difficult to commit crime.")

What has my opponent produced?
1) No emprical data, except an article about the death penalty which cites criminologists using simplistic datasets which prove nothing when met with scrutiny
2) No case as to why CCW decreases crime
3) As there is no case, even assuming my opponent is correct does not warrent a CON win, rather a tie (again, this is assuming he is 100% correct, but as I have demonstrated, he is not)
4) Claims I have a BOP

Now, thats my opponent's only argument, that I have the BOP, but that is an outright misrepresentation of round one. I gave the BOP to no one, he will respond "you're pro", however, as previously quoted, I gave CON a burden of argumentation as well. To repeat, "In this debate, I will argue that allowing (shall issue laws, for example) CCW will decrease violent crime in the United States. My opponent, as CON, will be arguing against this proposition, that CCW laws have no effect, or increase, violent crime rates." [emphasis added]

THEREFORE, looking at the guidelines of the debate which my opponent agreed upon by accepting the debate, we see that the BOP IS NOT SOELY MINE, and is SHARED.

As you can see, I have fulfilled the requirements and BOP much more than my opponent has. As of this point, my opponent has not demonstrated that my case is incorrect (instead, tries to avoid the overwhelming evidence), and has failed to create his own case.

P.S. Just in case anyone is interested as to whether or not the DP is a deterrent (this isn't an argument, it was originally intended to prove the deterrent effect existed, which my opponent seems to agree upon) see here:;




It seems Pro didn't quite grasp my argument in the second round. He seems to think that I completely shrugged off the statistics and touted "logic" as the great and powerful force behind debates. This is simply untrue. What I did in the second round was expose a major flaw in my opponents argument. This flaw was the fact that he did not properly explain why CCL acts as a sufficient detterent to crime. This has now be done and I can now refute it. I would also like to defend myself regarding my feelings toward statistics. The thing is, statistics are a major part of debating. However, when put foward alone, they are nothing. Simply finding statistics to support your argument is not enough. A healthy balance of logic and statistics is key. Statistics assertain a pattern and logic explains why this pattern exists. My opponent did not use this balance. All that my opponent did in the second round was show that detterence is key in eliminating crime and then show stats that support CCL. Despite the simplicity of doing so, he did not sufficiently show how CCL is a detterent. This has been a rather lenghty and perhaps irregular introduction, but I will now get into my specific points.


Maybe I was a bit too harsh in saying "Negation of All Statistics." How about a new heading? "Negation of All My Opponents Statistics." I'm going to play the source game now. Below I have provided the links to several credible sources that tell a different story than my opponent has been spinning.

These are just a few of many. However, they do demonstrate the amount of controversy surrounding many of the sources and people my opponent is pulling from. I do not hate all statistics. I just hold them to be only a part of the overall picture.


The main non-empirical argument my opponent put forward this round was as follows. The reason that CCL laws reduce crime is that they make every civilian a potential criminal sees a potential armed-threat. This is why they are more effective than open-carry and this is why they reduce crime. This is of course a general summary of his argument, but I do believe it is fairly accurate. However, there is a major problem with this. A large majority of criminals are either mentally ill, frequent drug or alchohol abusers, or undeducated. This is a very big deal. According to a study by Ruben Rosario, 60% of all prison inmates are illiterate. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 26% of victims of violence report that the offender was using drugs or alchohol. According to a study by Doris J. James and Lauren E. Glaze, 45% of federal offenders, 56% of state offenders and 64% of jail inmates are mentally ill. (Statistics can be beautiful) After taking this into consideration, rethink my opponents argument. What are most criminals going to react more strongly to? The appearance that very few civilians are carrying guns ( via CCL) or the appearance that a few surrounding citizens are carrying guns? (via open carry). Remember, a large majority of these criminals are either severely uneducated or in a reduced mental state. Will they react strongly to hearing on the news about concealed-carry laws? Will they even know their state allows concealed carry? Probably not. When commiting a crime or right before commiting a crime, a visible revolver on their victims belt will speak much louder to them than a news story they heard about CCL.


My second round of this debate was focused mainly on exposing my opponents statistics and showing that he had no logical argument. This third round has been stronger on both of our part. I have now produced evidence disregarding my opponents statistical claims and fought his logic vigorously. Lets look at what we both have at this point in time.

What has my opponent produced?

1) Weak, controverial empirical data that many in the gun-control field find to be insufficient.
2) A reasonable explanation of detterence which I agree with, but does not help my opponents case any more than it does mine.
3) An connection between CCL and detterence which has been negated by my arguments.

What have I produced?

1) Empirical data sufficient enought to counter my opponents
2) A very reasonable and strong argument as to why CCL don't reduce crime.
3) A strong case in my favor

I now understand that the BOP is to be shared. I could probably fight back against that by saying something like, "if you don't specify, it goes to pro!", or "pro always gets the BOP, it's just a fact!", but I will not. I would rather my opponent specifies the BOP in the future, but I won't hold that against him (but I won't be too hurt if the voters do! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean?). Thanks for a great and very difficult round of debating Pro. This is good fun. However, I have produced the stronger argument this round and have fulfilled my part of the BOP. My opponent has not.

That is all.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent has shifted from “negation of all statistics” to we need both a logical and statistical argument in this debate.

Conflicting research

The first link goes like this: 1) Scholars don’t accept John Lott’s work, and 2) The National Research Council (NRC) does not agree with Lott’s research.

To say that John Lott’s work is not accepted by the researchers in this field is a blatant disregard for the research in this area. Researchers co-author his papers with him, and write their own symbolizing a trust in his research. Although many criticize some variables he used in his 1997 paper, it is agreed upon that it was the best paper on the issue at its time, and is extremely thorough--even to those who disagree with its conclusions. Recent research still supports Lott’s conclusions. A recent paper by Mark Gius, according to science daily, concludes that “limiting people's ability to carry concealed weapons may in fact cause murder rates to rise” [1]. Although the author argues more research is needed, it is very compelling that a study (1980-2009 time period), published only last year, by an independent researcher supports Lott’s basic conclusion. Further, there are 18 papers that support the notion that lax conceal carry laws reduce violent crime, of these, 10 don’t include Lott as an author or co-author. Of those 18, only 2 have solely Lott as an author, and 6 have Lott as a co-author. To compare, 10 studies claim there is no effect on crime, and only 1 arguing that it increases. These 18 studies all use different statistical techniques, different data sets, and control for different variables. All the same, they find that conceal carry decreases crime. The one study that claims it increases crime, the study had numerous coding errors, and other researchers were able to replicate Lott’s conclusion in the end [2]. To argue that Lott’s findings are not supported by other researchers is, in the least, the inability to research the empirical research.

Second, it is argued that the NRC report did not replicate Lott’s findings. When you read the report, most of their regressions show a decrease in crime. The NRC did not say that Lott was incorrect, merely that more research needed to be done. However, one of the members of the NRC wrote a different opinion, arguing that the NRC wholly replicated Lott’s work, and that the regressions show that CCW decreases crime. A new study which looks into the NRC data set has found that, “[w]e find that the [NRC] results are essentially the same as the estimates based on the Lott data set.”[3] When looking at total violent crime using dummy variables, the NRC and Lott get the EXACT SAME RESULT. They also get the same result for rape, assault, robbery, and property crimes. The results for murder are exceedingly close. Interestingly, a study that found that CCW increases crime actually finds a strong decrease in murder and total violent crime, they blame this on Lott providing bad data to the NRC as they couldn’t replicate the results, but as stated, this is incorrect as other research replicates Lott’s and the NRC data perfectly. The reason some researchers failed to reconcile Lott’s and he NRC’s data was because they altered the regression model, and as a result use different specifications and data techniques that the NRC used (which biases the results against Lott). Instead of controlling for the arrest rate for each type of crime, they only used the arrest rate for total violent crime--need I explain why that is an issue? The studies saying the NRC doesn’t replicate Lott’s result suffer from truncation bias. In counties where the crime rate is 0 before the law, the crime will increase above zero, no matter how effective the law is for any specific year, and then decrease back to 0. However, as the anti CCW studies fail to control for this, it artificially gives a result that shows CCW increases crime, or has no net effect. Further, the coding errors in the anti Lott studies are as follows: for one county in Alaska, the county is repeated 73 times in 1996, says Kansas enacted conceal carry in 1996 when the law wasn’t passed until 2006, claims the first full year of CCW in florida was 1989 when it was actually passed in 1987, says first full year in South Dakota was 1987 when the first full year was actually in 1985 [4]. The NRC results actually prove the Lott hypothesis, and do not disprove it. Although the official NRC authors are more conservative with their support for Lott, the fact is that their data support his conclusions--and they do not say that he is incorrect.

Although I cannot see the washington post link, I will assume that they make mention of Donahue’s study in the Stanford law review. It finds that assaults increase after the law is passed. This occurs because they put a straight line into a non-linear system, which means that it shows assaults temporarily increase after the law was in effect. This picture demonstrates why they--falsely--find that assaults increase:

As you can see, in this little graphic, it shows how putting a linear trend causes crime to go up. The actual trend goes down, whereas the linear trend goes down over time, but at the beginning we see it is above the actual, which artificially produces a spike in crime due to the law which actually didn't exist.

The fact is, the statistical evidence is firmly on my side

Deterrence: Why it works

My whole deterrence argument relies on one fact which CON disputes: that criminals, like normal people, are rational. My opponent and I have proposed differing models--he argues criminals are irrational and won't respond to incentives, I argue that they are rational and will respond to incentives.

Evidence suggests that criminals do act rationally. In looking at auto-thieves, these criminals act rationally and go for cars which they think will give them an advantage, and they select different vehicles according to which they see fits their needs the best. Therefore, “the decision with respect to a target and opportunity is rationally motivated”. To put that in to context for this debate, a potential victim will be selected based on rational means--if a criminal doesn’t know who is armed, he cannot know which victim would be costly for him, so he would be more tempted to do non-violent property crime (substitution effect) which reduces his chance to find an armed victim. With drug users, who are often seen as irrational, they ingest different types of drugs depending on what effects they have (e.g. they may take marijuana because the high is ‘good enough’ and the risk is lower than, say, meth). Further, drug dealers deal drugs due to the high money possibilities, again, entailing rational criminals. Wright and Rossi find that criminals attempt to avoid armed victims and target the weak and those who can’t resist--a rational criminal. Another study found that, “some acts of lethal violence are the result of angry aggression, others seem to show signs of rational planning. Therefore, although violent acts appear to be irrational, they do seem to involve some calculations of the risk and rewards”. Although there is competing evidence, there is a lot of proof that rational choice model is correct [5]. Crimes such as armed robbery, the reason they commit these crimes is because they want to make money. The benefits outweigh the costs. For most crime, we see a rational actor at play [6]. But for some violent crimes, they often dont profit economically from these actions, rather mentally (many people have a thrill). To assume they are not rational actors is also incorrect. Indeed, they only get the thrill if they commit the action. If potential victims are armed--but they do not know which ones--this increases the potential to have a failed attempt at attacking the victim, meaning no thrill--or whatever it is they want--from the action.

But why concealed? If, say, every armed person wore a red hat that said I love Texas (or carried openly), then those specific people would not be targeted for crime. However, say 1/100 people (1%, which is the rate of CCW in many states) were armed. This means in a room of 100 people, there is a possibility that one person had a firearm. The criminal would not know who is armed, and then could easily be deterred, thinking “1% chance of injury, being caught, or death?!”. This means in the group of 100 people, everyone would benefit, open cary only helps one individal.

The only way for CCW to increase crime is if the permit holders were criminals. In fact, there are very few cases of CCW permit holders being criminals, and of the ones who are, it is generally for minor offenses [7]. The most likely scenarios are: falling crime or no effect. Say we have 100 criminals. And 75 of them cant read, and that 20 of them who can read don't know the law exists, and 5 know it does. And 1 of those 5 is deterred, that is a 1% possible decrease in violent crime offenders. Even assuming none of them are aware of CCW, many of them will escape death or police capture. They then go to their other criminal buddies, and tell them victims are armed. Even if no criminal knows about the law, they will learn through experience or others telling them that victims are now armed and they don't know which ones, the deterrent effect--even amongst fully ignorant criminals--exists in the long run.


1) Empirical evidence shows that CCW decreases crime. 19 studies show a deterrent effect (18 plus the new Gius study).

2) Deterrence effect demonstrates that some criminals are rational, and will respond to incentives

3) Assuming every criminal is ignorant of the law, they will learn of its existence through experience or being told by other criminals who have encountered an armed victim, will eventually learn about the law











My opponent seems to of misunderstood the points of my statistical argument and his comeback to my point about open carry was extremely weak. Let me get straight into this last round.


My opponent makes me seem very extreme in this matter. I never stated "scholars don't accept Lott's research." The point I was making with those sources was the following. Lott's research in the matter of CCW is not widely accepted, it is not fully accepted by the media, and it is not enough to win a debate alone. Despite what my opponent says on the matter, all of these points are true and basically uncontested. What my opponent states in his long passage about Lott's studies on CCW and crime gets my point across as well. It is clear that Lott's research is considered murky by many in his field and many media outlets and that there is no clear empirical consensus on CCW. The Washington Post source (which was broken, I apologize, but my opponent found it anyway) literally says "the murkiness of the evidence." This was all I was attempting to prove with my sources and it is exactly what I have accomplished.


My opponent has me all wrong here. I don't argue that criminals won't respond to incentives. What I am debating is the kind of incentives criminals respond most strongly to. Criminals will respond most strongly to clear, visual incentives. This means that an average violent criminal (that is the resolution my opponent has turned to) will respond stronger to one or two people of every hundred holstering a shiny firearm on their person than being absently (if at all) aware of CCW. And yes, this is because a majority of violent criminals are illiterate, under harmful influences, or mentally-ill. I'm not saying criminals aren't rational, I"m just saying most of them aren't proffesional heisters. My opponent brings up an example of 100 people in a room. One has a gun and a criminal is going to choose who to attack. First of all, the criminal doesn't know anyone in the room has a gun if it is being concealed. Second, my opponent acts as if civilians work on a "survival of the fittest" basis. If a potential criminal could clearly identify that one person out of a group of 100 had a gun, the criminal might be unwilling to attack anyone. However, if no gun can be identified, the criminal is very likely to commit a violent act (1% chance of injury? I'll take those odds.) That is saying that the criminal even knows of CCW laws, which he probably wouldn't. Pro attempts to protect his weakest side (criminals wouldn't know about CCW) by providing an unsound argument about criminal infastructure and criminals spreading tales of concealed weapons. This is pretty preposterous. First of all, many violent criminals aren't connected in any meaningful way to other violent criminals. Second of all, what kind of story is a criminal going to tell? "Yeah man, I was robbing some guy and another guy brought out a gun. From this experience, I now know that a CCW law is in effect in our state. We are going to be so dettered from now on!" Ridiculous. If anything, criminals are going to think that they overlooked a nearby citizen that pulled a gun on them and analyze their environments more thoroughly the next time.


1) Empircal evidence regarding CCW is murky and unconclusive

2) The detterence effect demonstrates that a majority of violent criminals are partly rational, but will still respond more strongly to clear, visual incentives.

3) Assuming criminals will learn of this law and respond to it with any meaningful change in crime is unfounded.

Thanks for a great debate 16kadams. Audience, I implore you to VOTE CON.

Debate Round No. 4
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 7 years ago
My debates never get a lot of votes for some reason.
Posted by 16kadams 7 years ago
xD yes
Posted by Malacoda 7 years ago
Hey, I told a ton of people to vote so hopefully this won't be a tie. It deserves better than that.
Posted by 16kadams 7 years ago
I would like to inform you my Dad is a Lawyer AND a doctor, and has been to emergency rooms, and treated people from all kinds of shootings. Your argument--that children are shot with firearms--is irrelevant. Your whole argument is spurious and illogical.

Children are no doubt victims of accidental gun violence, however how many children are saved with firearms? As I demonstrated, the amount of firearms used in defense is far higher than the amount of crime used in offense. The amount of children killed by firearms is much less than cars, for example, but we dont ban cars because they are useful. We shouldn't ban guns because they are useful for defensive and sporting purposes. As the study previously cited, safe storage laws often INCREASE the amount of accidents. You argue PURELY on an emotional level, NOT a factual one.

Defending yourself is a myth? 2.5 million people defending themselves with a firearm is a myth? 50% of women being raped is a myth? 80% of americans will be victims of violent crime at some point in their life. To say the amount of times you need to defend yourselves is minimal is pure ignorance.

You make a lot of 'what if' arguments, which are not based on fact. What ifs are not logical arguments.

In Katrina, huge amounts of firearms were taken by the government ( I guarantee you the majority affected would not have acted rashly with firearms. Again, your whole argument is flawed and one sided. It ONLY looks at any possible downsides for guns, without accounting for the countless benefits. Imagine how many people were killed because looters killed them over food or supplies? The fact mass gun confiscation occurred and people still had firearms actually REFUTES the premise behind gun control: that it only affects the law abiding citizens, not the criminals.

You never do debates because you know your arguments would hold no substance against logical thinkers.
Posted by 7 years ago
As a soon to be nurse I've seen too many kids who've accidentally shot themselves or committed suicide to feel the numbers are inaccurate. I'll follow up soon with my own sources as I have read many on gun ownership. Furthermore if ur truly safe storing there should be a lock on whatever safe the gun is in so- there's no reason it should take a trivial amount of time to access ur gun. If it does- by that one fact the storage of the gun is unsafe. Therefore a RESPONSIBLE gun owner shouldnt be able to quickly access a gun. Furthermore if the majority of break ins occur during the day-which I doubt is gun related and more logically being a smart criminal, avoid getting caught then the idea of realistically, and in all likelihood being attacked and needing to defend oneself is a myth. Lastly, many of the people shot were NOT looting, for example the police shooting a group of people, who were unarmed, on a bridge over the rumor of looting. Or the man who's car broke down, was seeking help, shot by a civilian and then when people took him to get assistance-- this unchecked fear amongst gun owners led to him being shot in the head and burned in a car and the people who were trying to help were beaten. Average people can not take tbw law into their own hands unless you'd like to create a South Africa like environment in which almost everyone owns a gun, and murders are through the roof. For example if you come to a stoplight and no one is around the law states u run it because otherwise your likely to be mugged. So, there's your society of armed civilians. The police go through unique training equipping them to accurately assess danger and they still fail sometimes. With that in mind, y do u think ur average blue collar worker sans training on how to stay calm and assess danger- will do any better? Unless uve been trained, u (the plural u) are not special, highly falable and likely to use excessive force if the weapon is present, and I for 1 don't want to live w that on my
Posted by 16kadams 7 years ago
Logical, the research used in the medical science has been proven to be extremely weak evidence as well as flawed research, which stems from political biases. This was exposed in Kleck 1997, Targeting Guns, where he essentially reviews and refutes every major study done in the medical journals, and finds their conclusions to be all flawed in some way.

The suicide example has been debunked by any serious analyst. Although firearm suicides fall after gun bans, overall suicides remain about the same because other methods become more common. In fact, safe storage laws actually often increase crime and accidental death rates (

Generally, it is the criminal who is most surprised. Criminals rarely attack at night, as he fears an armed victim. This is a valid fear, as guns are used in defense far more often than in offense. When he breaks into someone's home, he does NOT, generally, know the home, or where the valuables are. The citizen does, and has a defenders advantage. A small delay from obtaining the firearm is almost trivial. Once obtained the advantage is on the side of the defender. This is why criminals almost always avoid 'hot' robberies in the united states. This is a benefit because 'hot' robberies (when the victim is unarmed), leads to an increase of other crime--rapes, assault, etc. When no one is home, robbery is the only crime. This means the guns deterrent effect on 'hot' robbery will decrease the crime related to armed robberies.

In New Orleans, there was actually a LOT of looting occurring. Many wealthy people hired mercenaries to defend their property. I guarantee the gun owners had a substantially lower looting rate. Want proof? See LA riots. Korean shopkeepers with AR-15's were not murdered, and their shops were not looted.
Posted by 7 years ago
Owning a gun leads to a 5x greater likelihood of committing a violent crime and 3x more likely suicide. Source- my pediatric nursing textbook. This isn't a debate, it can be answered w numbers. A very small percentage of home break ins involve violence or death. The fallacy is if u have a gun ur safe. Well if someone is planning to kill u, the sad fact is they already have a 1 up because they have the element of surprise. The average gun owner is not Liam Nieson and is more likely to shoot them self than an assailant so being able to hide a gun-- doesn't make it any better. It just slows down the lead time you have to call the cops so they can do their job. I'm sure Adam Lanza was a concealed carry fan-and please, don't tell me guns don't kill people, people kill people. Its obvious the gun didn't hitch a ride to the crime and pull its own trigger, but the person also didn't spray bullets out of their fingertip. Its almost like saying Nazis didn't kill Jews in Auschwitz, the gas chamber did. As a hominid with a working frontal cortex, own the act. Conceal carry in anyone but police equals societies policing themselves and every citizen making up their own law. Need proof? New Orleans post Katrina. Lots of gun owners lots of people shot for no reason.
Posted by 16kadams 7 years ago
The research on this is all from economists, and they use a lot of economic theory explaining why one side is correct or the other side is wrong.
Posted by ChosenWolff 7 years ago
Why is this economics btw?
Posted by Mray56 7 years ago
Good debate. Both sides
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