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

THW: ban gun ownership by civilians

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,079 times Debate No: 101301
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




The motion is "THW: ban gun ownership by civilians".

Format of the debate:
R1: Acceptance, pronoun introduction, and definitions. No arguments may be presented, and voters should ignore any arguments made in R1.
R2: Main body of argument, Con's initial refutation.
R3: Both debaters' refutation, summation. No new arguments may be presented, and voters should ignore any arguments not already made in R2. New refutation is allowed and should be considered by voters.

Please use "she/her" pronouns for me. I will default to using "they" pronouns for everyone else unless told otherwise.


"Ban": prohibit, forbid, make illegal.

"Gun": firearms with the ability to seriously injure or kill. For the purpose of this debate, toy guns, water guns etc. shall not be considered "guns".

"Ownership": to keep in one's possession and to recognise one's autonomy over something.

"Civilians": individuals not in the military or police force.

I would like to wish my opponent the best of luck, and look forward to an interesting and fruitful discussion.


I accept the challenge under the pretenses and rules you have established. As you deemed necessary, I use male pronouns.

[1] Ban - [Verb] officially or legally prohibit.
[2] Ownership - [Noun] The act, state, or right of possessing something.
[3] Firearm - [Noun] A rifle, pistol, or other portable gun.
[4] Civilian - [Noun] A person not in the armed services or the police force.

Debate Round No. 1


With the definitions I made in R1, I was more asserting that they are the official definitions for this debate. There's no need for my opponent to also define those words. Then again, the definitions he provided were near enough the same as might that I see no need to make a big deal of it.

The pro-gun lobby typically argues that gun ownership helps prevent crime and protect people, but this has repeatedly been shown to be nonsense. According to

"In 2008, we explored the issue of whether more gun ownership meant more or less gun violence. What we found, and it still holds true, was that some studies had shown a statistical relationship between those factors " areas with a higher prevalence of guns had higher prevalence of gun homicides and homicides in general."

(See source 1).

Guns owners are also a lot more likely to use guns to commit suicide than to murder someone else, and they're a lot more likely to murder someone else than to use a gun in self-defence.

"Far more people kill themselves with a firearm each year than are murdered with one. In 2010 in the U.S., 19,392 people committed suicide with guns, compared with 11,078 who were killed by others. "

(See source 2).

Guns are also the most deadly method of attempting suicide:

"Though guns are not the most common method by which people attempt suicide, they are the most lethal. About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death. (Drug overdose, the most widely used method in suicide attempts, is fatal in less than 3 percent of cases."

(See sources 3 & 4).

Sometimes, children get hold of their parents' guns and accidentally kill someone. Seriously, you're more than twice as likely to be killed by a *toddler* with a gun than by a terrorist (see source 5 & 6).

Guns also lead to far more deaths when they are used for murder than other weapons, such as knives; it's a lot easier to kill a bunch of people in one go with an assault rifle than with a kitchen knife, for example.

Therefore, guns are an enormous liability- both to the owner of the gun and to those around them, and they should be banned for this reason.



I can be somewhat mechanical in my responses to say the least. I simply listed the definitions, because it was a spec in your formatting.

The structure for my argument will be as such:

[1] Gun Laws do Not Deter Crime
[2] Guns Deter Crime
[3] Violates Second Amendment and Betrays Law Abiding Citizens.

I will now begin with the main structure of my argument.

[1] Gun Laws do Not Deter Crime

While some studies have shown that there is a correlation between firearm related deaths and areas that have higher rates of concealed carry and ownership, none have them have ever been able to show a direct link. I granted myself the luxury of taking a look at source [1] that Pro uses for her opening statement, saying quote, 'areas with a higher prevalence of guns had higher prevalence of gun homicides and homicides in general'. She failed to add the following notion, ' But studies haven"t been able to show a causal relationship " that the mere presence of guns, as opposed to other factors, caused the higher rates of gun violence.' The essential point to take away from this is that social factors are invariably the biggest determination when it comes down to gun violence. A Harvard study in 2007 points out that the main reason that the level of gun ownership in a society does not spur a respective crime rate is that murders are not evenly spread out among the population. Typically this falls to criminals who have an extensive affiliation with crime. To this extent, even if all law abiding citizens were armed, crime would not significantly rise. Additionally, if one takes the adverse effect into account, removing firearms from public ownership will also have no negative effect on crime rates, given most criminals obtain their firearms from illegal sources. According to the BJS of criminals who owned a gun at the time they were arrested, 40% obtained guns from a non registered source. However, this stat does not account for criminals who actively used the firearm, which is a much smaller group than the aforementioned. Any simple analysis will conclude that removing guns from public ownership has a minimal impact on gun crime rates, and multiple studies have shown that if one removes a firearm from the possession of a person intent on causing harm, they simply turn to other means. Case in point is the former USSR, which has the most intensive gun laws of any nation at the time, but also had the highest homicide rates among all developed nations. In a more relevant context, 90% of all violent crime in the US is not related to the use of a gun. To complete this segment, social factors are the prime determinant for firearm crime, not the firearm itself.

[2] Guns do Deter Crime

According to another BJS study, 60% of criminals admitted to avoiding attempted homicide or assault when they knew the victim was armed, and 40% admitted to cancellation of a hostile act when they even surmised that the intended victim might be armed. 74% of incarcerated individuals confirmed that they feared entering a home while the owner was present under the pretense of being shot, and 57% of felons reported that they are more concerned about meeting an armed individual than they are law enforcement. Another primary example is Kennesaw, GA, which passed a law mandating heads of households to own a firearm in 1982, and consequently burglary and assault rates dropped 89% in the following year. Another study showed that firearms are used around 2.5 million times a year in an action of self defense, nearly 80 times the number of instances guns are used in a violent and fatal act by criminals. Even more interesting, citizens shoot and terminate more than twice the amount of attackers [1527 : 606] than law enforcement, and the error rate is only 2% among these occasions, whereas the police have an error rate of 11%.

[3] Violates Second Amendment and Betrays Law Abiding Citizens.

Banning ownership of firearms from law abiding citizens who are statistically unlikely to use them in illegal actions does nothing to alleviate crime, and also deducts from lawful practices such as hunting. In the process, you also destroy or negatively impact many establishments and settlements who use hunting and other sport as their primary source of income. During the year of 2011, there were 13.7 million licenced hunters age 16 and older who spent in total 7.7 billion on assault arms and rifles, used for sport. By banning ownership of these weapons, you deduct from a large economic source of revenue, and in turn tax dollars that go to federal and state funding.

I have shown:
[1] Gun laws have little to no effect on violent crime.
[2] Guns in fact do deter crime.
[3] Banning guns has a negative impact on not only the economy, but also individual practices.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent asked me to point out that he forgot to add sources in R1 and that he has added them in the comments. This is acceptable to me, hence, voters should consider Con's sources in the comments section as part of his argument.

So, on to refutation:

" She failed to add the following notion, ' But studies haven"t been able to show a causal relationship " "

Correlation-causation is only fallacious when no causal mechanism can be explained. For example:

"Premise 1: Ice cream sales increase in June."
Premise 2: Sunburn rates increase in June.
Conclusion: Ice cream causes sunburn."

This line of reasoning is *only* fallacious because there is no plausible causal mechanism between ice cream and sun burn. Clearly, the more plausible explanation is that the weather is hot in June, and when it is hot, people often eat ice cream and also often get sunburn.

This, however, is not the case with regards to guns- clearly, the increased availability makes it easier for someone to commit a crime using a gun, and hence, crime rates go up. The causal mechanism is sound, and so the correlation-causation is a perfectly valid inductive argument.

Con's statements also beg the question- how exactly would prove, with a study, that an increase in guns causes an increase in crime? The only way I can imagine one could do this would be to create hundreds of identical societies except in half of them guns are legal and in half of them guns are not. Only then could a study prove directly that a change in gun control corresponds to a change in crime rates. Inductive arguments from correlation are, unfortunately, the best either side can do on this matter, but such arguments do suggest that guns are associated with an increase in crime rates.

" To this extent, even if all law abiding citizens were armed, crime would not significantly rise."

That is debatable, but even if I were to grant Con that premise, the presence of guns makes it easier for those who were criminals to commit more daring and more violent crimes more regularly, as they are armed. Hence, guns are still a huge liability.
Plus, "law abiding citizens" can become criminals in a moment; if someone has a gun, and anger management problems, it's very easy for that person to become a murderer or mass-murderer. The presence of a gun makes civilians more likely to become criminals.

"Additionally, if one takes the adverse effect into account, removing firearms from public ownership will also have no negative effect on crime rates, given most criminals obtain their firearms from illegal sources"

The claim "most criminals obtain their firearms from illegal sources" is only true in places where guns are illegal, and this is obvious- they couldn't obtain guns legally in places where obtaining a gun is illegal.
In some places, you can walk into a department store and buy a gun capable of killing a whole bunch of people for $100. The same gun in Australia, where guns are banned, would cost $36,000 on the black market, and it is also considerably harder to obtain since you'd have to find someone willing to illegally sell you a gun.
Banning guns makes it harder for criminals to get guns. Sure, plenty of them still will, but they'll pay through the nose- and take a huge risk- to do so.

"To complete this segment, social factors are the prime determinant for firearm crime, not the firearm itself."

One cannot commit a firearm crime without possessing a firearm. Of course, socio-political factors play a huge role in crime rates. It would be foolish to deny this. However, the mere fact that all firearm crimes are committed using a firearm ought to be enough of a reason to restrict the access that potential criminals (which, unfortunately, is everyone) have to guns.

Con argues that guns deter crime, and I'd agree that of course criminals are much more reluctant to commit crimes against individuals who are armed with guns, but then they're also less likely to commit crimes against individuals with a large dog, or a burglar alarm. The difference is that while a large dog or a burglar alarm protect you, it's also very difficult to weaponize the former and impossible to weaponize the latter- they don't have a corresponding increase in criminals using them to commit violent crimes. Hence, if protection is one's concern, one should focus on other methods- owning a dog, travelling in groups, getting a security alarm etc., and one can use all of those factors to protect oneself against crime even if guns are banned. This would still allow them to protect themselves without opening the door to violent criminals legally owning a gun.

Con hasn't addressed my argument that guns are a liability in terms of suicide and accidents, and I feel that doing so would strengthen his case. Any gun which is available enough to its owner that it could easily be used to stop a criminal is also available enough that it becomes a liability in terms of accidents. Any gun which is kept locked away in a safe so as not to be a liability to its owner is useless as protection, as one would not have it on them when needed. Hence, guns are always either a liability to accident due to being carried around openly, or they are useless as protection and also have all the other liabilities such as suicide, and opening the door to criminals.

"and also deducts from lawful practices such as hunting"

Hunting may be lawful, but it is barbaric and cruel and it should be stopped for that reason, although granted that's a whole other debate. In any case, it's certainly not worth keeping it at the cost of also keeping guns legalised even if we were to grant that hunting is a perfectly acceptable practise- consider the analogy of banning civilians from possessing military tanks even though some people might use them perfectly legally to drive to work- you still have to ban them for those who won't just use them legally. The $7.7 billion Con quoted should be taken in context; Americans spend $20 billion on ice cream (source 1) each year. Numbers like this sound big, but in terms of national revenue, they amount to nothing.

In an ideal world, I'd agree with Con's case; it would be great if everyone could own guns if they like. However, we live in a world which is far from ideal, and as the case has been made, guns are a huge liability to the safety of the owner, to those around them, and to society as a whole, through risks of accidents, suicides, and violent crime. Hence, please side with the motion that "THW: ban guns".

This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by QueenDaisy 2 years ago
Honestly, I felt like I'd lost this debate. It's a shame Con didn't post anything for the last round; I think they would have won.
Posted by RR-5L8S 2 years ago
If I may be permitted, I forgot to add sources, so here they are. Please mention in your next argument, for the voters sake.

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