The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Gun control works

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,751 times Debate No: 57084
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (57)
Votes (2)




My contention will be that gun control is demonstrably effective in reducing the incidence of homicide and that there are precedents for effective gun control which illustrate its effectiveness. These are ignored by gun proponents because it doesn't suit their purpose, and instead of looking at facts, they produce anecdotes and hypothetical scenarios where a gun would help them defend themselves. I will argue that these are hypothetical in nature and have a significant motivation behind them, and do not point to actual empirical facts. Indeed, the majority of pro-gun rhetoric is informed by a strong American gun culture, as opposed to genuine benefit to the community.

Additionally, I will argue that Americans only need guns because others have guns, which wouldn't be the case if other civilians didn't have guns (obviously here you can use the "but criminals will still have guns" etc argument). In so doing, I will contend that saying "hey, criminals have guns, we need guns" followed by "there's a gun issue here" is not solved by throwing more guns at the problem. It has not been historically successful, and it's not working now.

I bear the BoP for gun restrictions being effective. You bear the BoP for constructed refutations and demonstrating that an armed population is in fact safer than an unarmed one.

I would like to be clear:
- Police and military are still armed. Feel free to talk about the 'police state' or whatever.
- This is not a complete restriction on gun usage; licences in certain circumstances can be granted, such as for sport, hunting and security agencies.
- For the sake of argument, I will extend this to mean other personal equipment, such as mace, tasers, and batons are also outlawed.

- Three rounds
- 6k character limit
- 72 hour argumentation period
- 10 day voting period
- Let's keep it factual, civil and fun!

Enjoy, and good luck!


I'll give a brief overview of my case. Just as my opponent has done. In round 2 I'll just do arguments and in round 3, I'll limit myself to rebuttals and offer no non rebuttals. I will try to prevent an all inclusive case in round 2, so it's strong enough to serve as it's own counter rebuttal.

My case will discuss how the type of gun control my opponent is advocating is extremely unsafe.

1. It is unsafe, because it makes it easier for a tyrannical government to oppress it's people.

2. It's unsafe because there is less deterrent for crime. (All women are now unarmed and will have the word victim basically written on their forehead).

3. It's unsafe because criminals remained armed and victims are the only ones who lose tools for self defense. Criminals would still be able to create zip guns, among other things.

4. I'd also like to point out some weaknesses in attempting to enforce such a law, if space permits.
Debate Round No. 1


My case study for precedence is Australia.
Historically, Australia used to permit gun usage, and although certain additional conditions were in place, for a long time it was a similar situation to acquiring a firearm in the US.
However, in the face of rising gun violence and paranoia about communism during the cold war, the state of New South Wales (where Sydney is) implemented controls on military-calibre rifles. In the 1970s these were once again relaxed.

However, guns were still a problem. In 1996 the Port Arthur Massacre saw the deaths of 35 people, including very young children, and the wounding of many more(1). The assailant used two military-standard rifles. He was apprehended the following day and is currently serving 35 back-to-back life sentences, plus 1 035 years in solitary confinement with no visitation provisions and no chance of parole, which is almost unheard of in Australia(1).

The government took this issue seriously, and instead of advocating for more people to own guns or running away from the issue, it grabbed the problem by the balls and initiated a gun buy-back scheme which has been tremendously successful(2). In addition, it initiated sweeping reforms to get rid of the gun culture in Australia. Handguns were banned, high-powered rifles, rimfire, anything semi- or fully-automatic, and on those firearms that ARE still legal, there are very strict licensing arrangements, capacity restrictions and storage conditions. Initially, the public was outraged as gun-owners criticised what was ostensibly an infringement on their liberty(3). However, the reforms worked:

Port Arthur was the last straw. In the preceding 18 years, there had been thirteen mass-shootings, 112 shooting-spree deaths and more injured(2). Since the gun laws were implemented, there has not been a single massacre in Australia(1,2,3,4,5). Gun death-rates have almost dissolved. In 1988 the gun-homicide rate was around 123 per year. In 2011, that had fallen to twenty-five and these were mostly attributed to accidents and mishandling(6). The suicide rate fell dramatically from about 492 a year to 247(2). And the rate of handgun homicide is now less than 0.01 per 100 000 people(7). Australians are safer as a result of these gun laws, and after the initial shock abated, the public is now almost ubiquitously supportive of the government's controls.

The information tells us that murder, suicide, injury and armed robbery decreased sharply following the reforms, and has stayed low. However, many people were not convinced that it was the laws themselves that had changed this, and an article was written by two female pro-gun activists, claiming that it was in fact feminism and the saturation of Australian media with the disgusting rhetoric of pro-gun activists in America that had actually changed public opinion, and not the gun laws themselves. So, the University of Sydney conducted a series of statistical analyses of all of the available data(4), including population parameters, and whether the incident was a suicide or murder. They then controlled for things like population (Australia has a small population, so in order to be comparable with other countries like America and the UK, very careful controls were used to ensure the data compensated for this). They also controlled for type of gun used (ball-bearing and air-rifles were included in the data set, which would have to potential to skew these results, however it happens to be the case that there are no known instances in Australia of fatalities by either of these types of weapon).

They concluded that these effects were directly attributable to the new legislation, to a high degree of confidence and statistical significance. There was absolutely no evidence of substitution for either homicide or suicide; both fell as a proportion of gun incidents, but they also declined overall, indicating that those without access to weapons did not opt for another means of suicide/murder. After all of the aforementioned controls were applied, this was still statistically significant (p<.05)

This study was landmark and politicians wanted to know why gun buybacks wouldn't and haven't worked in the US. They identified three points(8):
a) US buybacks tend to be small in scale.
b) Guns are surrendered voluntarily. This is a problem because people just end up not surrendering the ones used in crimes.
c) Replacement guns are far easier to obtain in the US.
These three points are all addressable.

Finally, "guns don't kill people, people kill people" just isn't justifiable. The American Journal of Medicine has released a comprehensive study detailing that there is a positive correlation between gun ownership and death rates(9); owning guns does not abate crime. In fact, it worsens it.

(1) []
(4) Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings S Chapman, P Alpers, K Agho, M Jones, University of Sydney []
(5) Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data, Andrew Leigh, Research School of Economics, Australian National University and Christine Neill, Department of Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University []
(6) GRAPH: []
(7) GRAPH: []
(8) []
(9) []



My opponent has made it clear in his round 1 introduction he was planning on advocating for a complete gun ban with the exception of the government's right to own guns. He has failed to really connect his case study of a partial ban to one with full ban for private citizens. I'm going to offer my own arguments using some stats from Australia and than in the next round show the flaws in my opponents statistics.

Australian Gun Restrictions Ineffective

The Australian Bureau of Criminology and out 5 years after the gun restrictions my opponent mentions and has acknowledged that there is no correlation between the gun laws and the number of gun related crimes.

Since the 1980's gun crimes have been on a downward curve in Australia.

These trends continued at the same pace even after the gun laws in Australia were enacted. So unsurprisingly when stricter gun laws were enforced, the trend continued at the same pace.the restriction of guns really shouldn't be associated with a lot of the stats my opponent brought up. These stats are just part of the same downward curve that we've been seeing since the 1980s.

Just for comparison let's take a look at how Australia's crime rates compare to America's after these strict gun laws.

"Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent."

"At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent."

"Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women."

These quotes were taken from the following sources;

Violent Crimes

My opponent points out many interesting facts. Things such as a reduction in guns leads to a reduction in gun crimes. Or he'll point out that a reduction in gun ownership reduces suicide by gun. That's very interesting and those results are obviously going to occur even to pro gun advocates. These stats are also irrelevant and fail to give the big picture.

What should also be obvious is the following facts. When bad people know that an old lady or a fragile female doesn't have a gun on them, they are more likely to victimize them.

There are bad people out there and they like crimes of opportunity.

This is not me just theorizing either. The stats back this up. Since the stricter gun laws, sexual assault has risen about 30% and the violent crime rate has risen over 40%. Robberies have went up by about 6%.

There was a reduction of gun crimes, but that misses the bigger picture. Was stricter gun laws effective in reducing crime rates, and the answer is no.


These gun laws get a lot of credit for reducing the rate of gun related suicides as well. Upon a closer examination, you can see that the rate of hanging suicides increased at the same rate that gun suicides decreased. (Baker, Jeanine; McPhedran, Samara (18 October 2006).
(The link requires a small purchase to see the full document).

Mass Murders

McPhedren and Baker did a study that compared the mass murder rates with New Zealand and Australia. The 2 nations have a very similar socio economic status, but New Zealand has a looser approach to gun regulation. Despite the different approaches to gun laws and the similarity of the 2 countries both have had no mass shootings since 1997. It's pretty clear here that another force is in play concerning the reduction in mass shootings of both countries.


I'd like to apologize to my opponent for waiting until the last minute to post my argument and kinda rushing through it. I will focus on rebuttals in the next round. My opponent even without the rebuttals hasn't shown that Australia's gun laws have a significant impact on crime and he hasn't shown how gun restriction being effective, would mean an outright gun ban for private citizens would be beneficial in any way.
Debate Round No. 2


In this, my final round for the debate, I plan to exploit the insurmountable flaws in my opponent's rebuttals, arguments and sources, and leave you with the clear understanding that the pro-gun debate is one of gun preference, not safety, and that gun control works.

Firstly, my opponent ought not misattribute statements to me. "My opponent has made it clear in his round 1 introduction he was planning on advocating for a complete gun ban with the exception of the government's right to own guns." Um, no I wasn't? "He has failed to really connect his case study of a partial ban to one with full ban for private citizens". Not only is this a blatant misrepresentation of my position, his rebuttals, which are based on this, fail at the outset because of his reliance on this point. Naturally, I will continue by pointing out where his sources and arguments are clearly biased and misrepresentative in other ways, too.
For context, this is what I said in my introduction: "This is not a complete restriction on gun usage; licences in certain circumstances can be granted, such as for sport, hunting and security agencies." Check it! My case study of partial-bans in Australia is therefore perfectly relevant, valid and useful, because I deliberately set my argument to be based around it.

On to proper rebuttals.

In your first paragraph, you quote Howard Nemerov. The piece that you cited is an extract of a post he made on an online hard-right forum, which was re-hosted by a right-wing think tank, with his only credentials being hosted on "NewsBusters: Exposing & Combating Liberal Media Bias". Not exactly, like, heaps credible, hey? Although you have cited some of his statistics, I suggest you actually check the Bureau's website before quoting them. Read on, the real stats are below. He cherry picked (badly) and this does not constitute a sound argument against gun control.

Your second argument largely consists of the contention that the trends were going at the same pace before and after the ban so realistically the ban did nothing because it was declining anyway. Again, this just isn't true. Firstly, I suggest you re-read the source that you gave me from AIC, as it details that the rate of decrease accelerated greatly following the ban.
Secondly, I already agreed that it had started declining; the point is that the astronomically rapid decrease was only visible after the ban, indicating that hundreds, if not thousands of lives were saved earlier than they otherwise would have been. This is the source from last round that I cited, which has in its title that it had already begun decreasing but that the ban sped this up to a statistically significant level:
The increased speed of decline SAVED LIVES and that is the key element here.
You said, "These stats are just part of the same downward curve that we've been seeing since the 1980s". they're not. []
Wanna check out that sharp decrease from 1996? I wonder what that's all about?
Do feel free to continue arguing that it would have done that anyway without a ban, the fact is that the study that I cited (by the University of Sydney, not a right-wing Internet forum post re-hosted by a sketchy think-tank site by a guy without any credentials whatsoever) found a statistically significant correlation (which, they determined to a confidence of P < 0.001, was causal) between the ban and the reduction in homicides.

You said guns would be making you safer. You say the downward trend in Australia is the same as in America, but America doesn't have a ban. They're the same, so control doesn't work in keeping us safe.
Fine, then I say, "if they're the same, then guns don't work in keeping us safe, either, hey?" Although, to be fair, those figures are wrong anyway, so I don't rely on that argument.

You then go on to say that if you ban guns there will be obviously be less gun suicide [etc].
Yup! And as I illustrated in my first round, there was absolutely no evidence of substitution once guns were removed. The study found that it wasn't just gun-homicides and gun-suicides that decreased after the ban. It was all homicides and all suicides. Please scroll back and check the paper, because the relationship is confidently causal.

Oh, you found McPhedren and Baker! I brought them up in my round, to warn you of their trap! Anyway, they were wrong, and lied, here's UNSW's Medical School's reanalysis: []

Typical. "When bad people know that an old lady or a fragile female doesn't have a gun on them, they are more likely to victimize them." This just is not substantiated by evidence. Not to sound crass, but your stat about "sexual assault [rose] 30% and violent crime 40%" is absolute bullsh*t.
Where are you getting your information? Oh, there it is! Free Republic! That's our friend Howard's forum! Here is the graph from the Bureau, which doesn't say what he says it does: []. The only statistically significant increase was assaults, and while we don't really need to get into that here, the main reason was because of a change in domestic alcohol laws which is currently a topic of widespread public discourse. Howard made stuff up. Cue surprised face.

My opponent is clearly debating someone else. He said, "he hasn't shown how gun restriction being effective, would mean an outright gun ban..."
I didn't say that it would be an outright ban, and restriction is effective. And unless you think that fewer people being murdered and committing suicide is beneficial, then I guess I haven't proved that it's beneficial...? Pretty sure murder's a crime, pal. And other crimes are not increasing, as you say, due to reduced gun volumes. The removal of guns makes us safer. As a function of this, Gun Control Works.


I apologize to my opponent for the sloppy reading and misunderstanding of his resolution. It shouldn't distract too much because I did manage to stay on topic.

The Genetic Fallacy

My opponent dismisses some of my sources because they come from right wing think tanks or gun policy experts that happen to be pro gun. My opponent is using what's known as the genetic fallacy.

He can't attack the numbers or data collection, because they're true. So he does the next best thing and says what people using the genetic fallacy always do, he asks us to disregard the evidence because it was discovered by people with a different political ideology than him.

He never really tells us how their information is wrong, but only assumes they are without checking their citations. Now let's examine my opponent's contentions 1 by 1 and see if any of them hold up.

C1) There are less mass murders as a result of gun laws

In Round 2 I showed this wasn't a result of strict gun laws by comparing New Zealand's (the best, most comparable country) rate of mass murders to Australia's. My opponent, simply ignored my argument. So I undoubtedly destroy his first contention.

C2)Gun Buybacks work

They don't work at all. I can use my opponents own citations to show that. On page 6 of my opponents citation it shows that the number of homes with guns was the same before the Buybacks as after, about 700,000.

People basically sold their guns to the government and replace them with new ones, as my opponents source points out. I'd advise my opponent to read his own sources. The downward trends pointed out by my opponent were going to happen with or without a gun Buyback program.

C3) Gun Laws are directly responsible for the reduction of crime/gun deaths

As I explained my opponent has disregarded my sources using the genetic fallacy, but my sources do prove this contention wrong, not that They need to. Since he hasn't brought forth enough evidence of his own. If you look at the sources he mentioned including his last one I used, you can see how they assumed gun laws lead to a reduction in crime. Since the 80s the crime rate has been decreasing by about 3% a year, and at some point after the gun laws it jumped to a decrease in 6% a year.

The problem is that you can't attribute the decrease to gun laws. You see similar trends in New Zealand and America as my sources have pointed out. The increase to 6% happened at similar dates. There are likely a bunch of contributing factors to this decrease, and none can be linked back to gun control, because places that didn't increase it much had the same stats.

My guess and many others agree, is that advancing technologies contributed to this decrease in crime.

I've provided studies that have shown suicide rates to be decreasing at the same rates as normal, probably as a result of improved mental health techniques and diagnosis. I've shown that if gun suicides went down hangings went up. They weren't at the same exact rate, but that's probably because of the many options available to kill one's self.

Let's not forget, that suicides aren't always reported as such. If a person is suicidal, but are cowards. They may start engaging in extremely risky behavior with a high chance of killing them. These deaths will, be classified as accidents.


Upon further analysis of my opponent's stats, you can see no connection between increased gun laws and a reduction in crimes. I've offered rebuttals for everything that he's provided.

However my statistics showing an increased amount of rapes by 30% increased robberies by 6% and increased violent crimes by 40%, have been ignored. His rebuttal involving a genetic fallacy, shouldn't be counted.

When you take away a woman or an elderly man's gun you leave them as easy marks, for thugs. My stats confirm this.

Remember Pro has the bulk of the BOP here, and none of his points stand while mine have went virtually unaddressed other than in the form of a dismissive logical fallacy. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
57 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
I'm away for the week but I'll check it out when I'm back
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
Just a tournament for members that are new. You have to have a ELO below 2,000 or have less than 10 debates or be here less than 2 months. You're provided with a mentor and they help you throughout the tournament.

I know you're a competent debater, but you can still learn something from the guys they have as mentors.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
@Wylted, I don't really understand. What is it?
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
@Innovative, you should sign up for this tournament of BSH1

I think there is only 1 spot left.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
Thanks for your feedback!
I appreciate the time and effort it must have taken you and I'll keep your suggestions in mind for future debates.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
That was very sweet of you to do scachdame. Most people can't be bothered to elaborate.
Posted by schachdame 7 years ago
PART 1/2

Dear InnovativeEpemera

- Australia as a case study is fine. But one case study against the variety of facts coming from different countries (USA, New Zealand) means your arguments are standing 1:1 / 1:2. The whole idea of witnesses bases on the theory that two words or cases against each other can not absolutely clarify which one is right. This weakens your case study against Con's argumentation.

- If you want to use only one case study to support a certain type of ban you either need to show why the differences between your case study and your ban are not important or you need to establish that you promote the exact ban that Australia stands for. That's where your introduced ban and your case study make problems. Even when they are the same, you need to show that connection because any grey zone that might gap between your arguments and your resolution is vulnerable due to this.

- That Con was fine with your "sloppy" language doesn't make it acceptable overall. That's not how you provide arguments and it's not how you underline their reliability. It's plain subjectively and does not belong here, if not announced in the introduction. "Check it out" is not a sufficient substitute for "My opponent is wrong as, [...]" or "Con misread the statement given in [...] as the original meaning was [...]". To tell someone to just /go and re-read an argument/ is closer to an ad hominem argument than to any proper rebuttal. If you like to talk and argue this way, feel free to post in the "funny" section, although logical arguments are also found there quite commonly.
Posted by schachdame 7 years ago
PART 2/2

- "Wanna check out that sharp decrease from 1996? I wonder what that's all about?" This is a very pretty example how poor phrasing and poor logic came together. It's a logical flaw to believe that a statistic is self-explaining, especially when your opponent already pointed out why it might not be self-explaining. A refuted argument can no be saved by just saying something like 'duh, read it again, then you see my original words were right', because that does not qualify an explanation how they really ARE better than your opponents counter argument. This weakens your argumentation.

- saying that your statistic actually found a relation between the two is a claim that your source [from that belonged to this paragraph] does not support. If you argue that you must back up it as well and/or make clear to what source it belongs. If you don't - as you did not - you're working with incorrect facts. That weakens your argumentation a great deal.

- overall: you've been working with only one proper argument, which is "it's working in Australia". This argument had a lot of details and interesting sides but it was still only one argument. Make sure that you're next approach has not only one but at least two or three legs to stand on.
Posted by schachdame 7 years ago
@InnovativeEpemera I'll sent you the detailed review as soon as I have the time.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 7 years ago
Got it twisted bro, being qualified doesn't mean more credible right? Cause that's an argument from authority, hey.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con. Pro went from calm and collected to outright rude and combative. The personal attacks were completely unnecessary. I commend Con for not returning such behavior, and for this, award him Conduct points. S&G - Tied. Neither had poor spelling or grammar. Sources - Tie. Both utilized sources to further validate their contentions and rebuttals, both shared respectable sources along with biased ones. Arguments - Con. Pro simply failed to meet his BOP. This is evident when Pro dropped one of Con's contentions, specifically, Australia. Pro also failed to overcome the rebuttals put in place by Con. For me, Con showed the flaws in Pro's arguments successfully, whereas Pro ended up getting frustrated and out of that frustration, lost focus on nailing each counter-argument raised by Con. For this, Con is awarded argument points.
Vote Placed by schachdame 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: As a Pro-Ban I am always intrigued to read a good debate for better gun control. PRO started rather strong in terms of argumentation and case study, although strongly relying on the case study probably was already an one sided approach from the beginning. Round 3 is the clear turning point as PRO fails to remain polite and slides into very sloppy language. This is especially inadequate as CON has given no reason for this (Conduct decision). PRO also fails to address the rebuttal properly. For instance did PRO fail to refute that the downward-trend would have happened anyway. That this trend saved lives is wonderful but does not serve the case of this debate if PRO can't explain if/that this trend was boosted by the ban (Argument points).

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