The Instigator
Varrack
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
tajshar2k
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

The US should adopt a ban on all semiautomatic firearms

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Varrack
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/12/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,997 times Debate No: 109608
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (3)

 

Varrack

Pro

First round is for acceptance. BOP is shared.
tajshar2k

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Varrack

Pro

= Advocacy =

Semi-automatic firearms, portable guns which reload immediately after firing, will be the focus of this debate. Guns that employ lever, bolt, pump, breech, or muzzle types of action are not semi-auto. Air guns are not included in the conventional use of “firearm”.

I propose a ban on all semi-automatic firearms in the U.S. in which 1) their manufacturing is prohibited, 2) their import is prohibited, and 3) a buyback is implemented that would require owners to turn in their guns for their full value. For an example of such a buyback, see Australia’s [1].

The military and law enforcement would be exempt from this ban. Hunting and recreation would still be permitted, albeit all involved weapons would be single-action.

My case is built around the premise that the quantity of firearms and tightness of gun regulations are determiners of gun-related fatalities. Because semi-automatic guns can fire one or two projectiles per second, and could be used to swiftly strike dozens people within just seconds, I deem a ban as patently preferable to their current under-regulated availability.

(1) Reduction of homicides

With more firearms available comes the greater ability to use them in crimes. In 2013, a study by Boston-based researches found that a 1 percent increase in gun ownership correlated with a 0.9 percent in firearm homicides at the state level [2]. The U.S. has a far higher gun ownership rate than any country in the world at 88 guns per 100 people [3], and also has the highest firearm homicide rate among developed nations [4]. An absence of guns means less deaths due to them; Denmark’s, for instance, has just a dozen guns per 100 people and a gun murder rate 18 times smaller than America’s [3,4].

A more armed populace also means means more policemen are at risk of being shot and killed on the job. It was found that states with the highest amounts of gun ownership had three times as many law enforcement homicides as did states with less guns [5]. Consequently, cops in these states may anticipate encountering guns more often and therefore are more likely to use deadly force on the civilians they meet.

In 1996, the year of sweeping gun reform laws in Australia there were 311 homicides, 96 of which involved guns. In 2014, 238 homicides occured, 35 by guns. That’s a 72% drop in the likelihood of being a murder victim [6]. Japan, with its incredibly low gun ownership of 0.6 per 100 people [3], saw just 12 gun deaths in 2013 [7]. Laws work, and the trends are consistent. With my proposal in place, the gun crime rate would plunge, as we’ve seen many examples of.

(2) Mass shootings

If we define a mass shooting as incident in which four or more people are shot, the U.S. experiences one almost every day. In the last 1,870 days, there have been 1,624 [8]. Despite having 5% of the world’s population, we have 31% of its mass shootings [9].

Gun advocates allege that mass shootings are a mental health problem and have nothing to do with more lax gun laws. But Americans don’t appear have more mental health problems than other developed nations [10], and only a minority of mass shooters could be considered seriously mentally ill anyways [11]. That factor simply isn’t large enough to be considered a major cause of such tragedies.

I’ve yet to be made aware of a mass shooting that was carried out by a single-action firearm. Extrapolating from Australia’s and Britain’s situations in which mass shootings were either near or completely eliminated following massive gun reforms, it isn’t implausible to assume that my proposal would also bring the total number of annual mass shootings from being in the hundreds to near zero.

(3) Suicides

The majority of firearm deaths (62%) are suicides [12]. When a firearm is used, the chances of success are greater [13], so a decrease in firearm suicides would also mean a decrease in the overall rate of success, since guns are an extremely lethal method.

When comparing firearm suicides to other nations such as Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Australia, UK, and Japan, the U.S. once again tops the group at a rate of 7.2 per 100,000 people [14]. Finland is the second-highest at 5.8.

Harvard research indicates a strong, positive relationship between gun prevalence and suicide rate. “The nine states that rank lowest in terms of gun prevalence are the very same nine that rank lowest for suicide rates. Similarly, the three states top-ranked for gun prevalence can be found among the four states ranking highest for suicide rates” [15]. While not every suicide involves a firearm, a large enough portion of them do to influence the overall rate [16]. Also, people with lesser access to firearms will probably be less incentivized to do it, which can influence the overall rate too.

We can see this trend on a smaller scale too: In 2006, the Israel Defense Forces stopped letting troops take their guns home on the weekends. What followed was a 40% drop in firearm suicides [17].

While single-action and semi-automatic guns probably aren’t too different as far as lethality in suicide goes, banning the latter would significantly reduce the guns in circulation that could be used for such attempts, and therefore would save thousands of lives.

Summary

In 2010, a total of 31,076 Americans perished from gun-related homicides, suicides, and accidents [18]. Assuming semi-automatic guns constitute the vast majority of these fatalities, it’s reasonable to infer that roughly 30,000 lives could be saved annually from my proposal. Additionally, mass shootings would be rare if this policy was implemented.

The impact of this would be astronomical. It would not only save lives, but would inhibit the emotional trauma that friends/relatives of victims would experience. In order for Con to negate, he needs to outweigh the impact of 30,000 saved lives, as well as hundreds of mass shootings being prevented.

= Sources =

1. https://tinyurl.com...
2. https://tinyurl.com...
3. https://tinyurl.com...
4. https://tinyurl.com...
5. https://tinyurl.com...
6. https://tinyurl.com...
7. https://tinyurl.com...
8. https://tinyurl.com...
9. https://tinyurl.com...
10. https://tinyurl.com...
11. https://tinyurl.com...
12. https://tinyurl.com...
13. https://tinyurl.com...
14. https://tinyurl.com...
15. https://tinyurl.com...
16. https://tinyurl.com...
17. https://tinyurl.com...
18. https://tinyurl.com...
tajshar2k

Con

Thank you Pro for your arguments. Since the premise of this debate is based of reducing gun fatalities and implementing a gun buyback program, I will make arguments according to that hypothetical scenario.

(1) Gun owners will likely not comply with a buyback program

The United States had achieved its independence through violence, and the rifle is a sentimental tool that is instilled in American culture. Unlike many other countries, owning firearms is a right, and polling data shows that 87% of Americans are not in favor of banning weapons [1]. Since a buyback program would force people to give up their guns, it’s highly doubtful whether most gun owners would comply. The 2nd amendment mentions “a well-regulated militia, necessary for the security of a free state”, which means the right to bear arms is there to prevent tyranny.

Historical incidents involving Nazi Germany and the British Empire have shown how those governments took away arms as means to control a certain population, so any buyback program imposed on Americans would be interpreted as tyranny. Given this situation, it’s unlikely that many gun owners will give away their guns, unless it is done by force. To do that, the U.S government needs to violate the 4th amendment, and it will not be a peaceful transition. Before we even debate the effects of a buyback, it’s highly doubtful whether it will properly take place!

(2) Only affects gun owners who are law-abiding

The problem with banning semi-automatic fire-arms is that most gun owners use them responsibly and are in no way a danger to other people. If a ban were to be put in place, it would only affect those who use these weapons lawfully. What incentive do criminals have to turn over their guns? According to a study done at Cook County Jail in Chicago, of the 70 inmates who had possessed a firearm, only 2.9% had bought it at a gun store [2]. Now, this may only be a study done in one city, but most of America’s gun crimes are committed in the inner cities, so it’s reasonable to assume that similar trends would be observed in other crime hot-spots like Memphis and Detroit.

If we assume that only 3 % of gun crime is committed by legal obtained firearms, the math should show the following:

Out of 414,562 gun crimes committed annually, just around 12,440 of those crimes are committed by those who legally bought those weapons. Now consider that there are roughly 80 million legal gun owners in the U.S. Out of those gun owners, just 0.0001555% of them used it for crime. It would be outrageous to create any legislation that addresses a crime figure that is so insignificant, while taking away the rights of 80 million gun owners (approx.).


(3)
Legal gun owners use fire-arms for self-defense

A good reason not to ban semi-automatic firearms is that law-abiding Americans use them for self-defense. There is a major caveat that ought to be mentioned and that the real number of self-defensive gun use cannot be accurately predicted. The reason for that is often, gun owners manage to thwart of their attacker by merely brandishing their weapon, and there simply is no incentive for them to report it to the police. The lowest SDGU estimates range from 55,000, all the way to 4.7 million times per year. There has been dispute on the real figures from both political sides, but the most commonly cited figure comes from Gary Kleck, who’s research has estimated around 2.5 million SDGU annually (3).


To understand what these numbers mean, you need to compare it to the total gun crimes committed by gun owners.
Say we take the lowest possible SGDU figures, that number is still 4 times greater than crimes committed by legal gun owners. Therefore, the positive impact that is created by legal gun ownership outweighs the negatives are caused by it.


(4) Gun bans in other countries had no effect on their homicide rates

Countries such as Britain and Australia have outlawed or severely restricted semi-automatic firearms, but data on their homicide shows that the ban had no measurable impact. [4]


In the cases of both countries, there is an initial spike (could be attributed to another factor) but the trend before and after the bans are relatively the same. It only goes on to prove that banning guns doesn't really affect the overall homicide rate. It should allow be mentioned that during this time period, the U.S experienced a greater drop in homicide than Australia.[5]


(5)
Illegal gun market

Guns are in incredibly high demand, especially when talk of potential regulation arises. By completely banning them, you open the doors illegal gun trading. The U.S federal government has abysmal record when it comes to prohibition. Alcohol was banned in the 20’s however it didn’t much to prevent the demand and allowed crime bosses like Al Capone to make billions from illicit trading. It was such a failure, that the 18th amendment was repealed. Now we are currently facing the poorly managed “War on Drugs” which hasn't done much to stop the drug trade amongst gangs. If we were to declare a “war on Guns”. It would be even more disastrous.

Guns are not like alcohol and drugs where you need to replenish after you use them. A gun can last for several decades if used properly, so criminals can already gain access to the 320 million firearms that are already floating around in the U.S to commit crime, and it will last them for a long time.

If the government has already failed to stop illegal drug usage, it can't do much to stop illegal gun trading. Even if we hypothetically agree that the government somehow manages to confiscate all firearms, the rise of 3D printing and private gunsmiths assure that criminals will still find a way to get access to guns. Even in China where private gun ownership is banned, 15,000 illegal firearms still made it's way to those who wanted them. Prohibition is no gurantee of success, especially in America where gun culture thrives. [6]


(6) Economic impact


An interesting angle to consider is the economic impact of banning guns.

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

"These are good jobs, paying an average of $50,180 in wages and benefits. And today, every job is important. In fact, workers in the United States face an unemployment rate of 5 percent. This means that there are already nearly 8 million people trying to find jobs in the nation and collecting unemployment benefits."

"The firearms and ammunition industry generates sizable tax revenues. In the United States the industry and its employees pay $6.2 billion in taxes including property, income, and sales-based levies".

While I'm certainly not suggesting that profits should be valued over human life, the trickle-down affect of unemployment shouldn't be understated. If a gun ban is passed, most of these people will lose their jobs, and the economy will lose billions, which could have been reinvested for other purposes. Unemployment undeniably is connected to poverty and crime, and we only need to observe cities like Detroit, where the manfacturing industry was hit hard by the 2008 recession.

Sources:
1: http://www.pollingreport.com...
2:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org...
3:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org...
4:https://mises.org...
5:http://www.gunfacts.info...
6:http://www.ibtimes.com...
7:https://www.nssf.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Varrack

Pro

Appreciated, Con. I’ll now address the opposing case.

R1) Compliance with buyback program

Con’s first point is that it may disobey the law due to the powerful influence of gun culture. Ironically, his following argument assumes that gun owners are law-abiding and would comply with new gun laws. That contradiction aside, this argument still has multiple problems:

a. Most Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws, and Con proves this with his own source. A CNN poll in it from last month finds that most respondents, when asked “do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws?”, answered favorably at 70% [1]. Gallup, CBS News, and USA Today polls asked the same question and yielded similar results [1]. Con cherry-picked the 87% figure from a query asking about support for a ban on all guns, which isn’t relevant to the resolution of this debate.

b. Gun buybacks have worked in other countries with no reports of gun owners rising up in defiance, such as in Australia in ‘96 and Brazil in ‘03. I challenge Con to find a single buyback that resulted in noticeable disobedience, or anything that suggests US gun owners would not be civil in the event of a program happening.

R2) Illegal guns

The assertion made here is that presence of illegal guns on the unregulated market would remain unrestrained, despite my proposal. This isn’t true, however, because the banning the sale/manufacturing/importation of semi-automatic firearms would shut off the flow of new guns being added into circulation. 11 million guns were manufactured in 2013 [8], so assuming that number is the same every year, and most of those guns are semi-automatic, a ban on manufacturing would significantly reduce the amount entering circulation.

Because a ban would dampen the available supply of firearms and ammunitions, it would force prices to rise and would make transactions more difficult to complete. Many criminals would, then, decide to forego the process altogether.

What’s also worth noting is the risk factor lawbreakers would have to consider. It’s often assumed that criminals don’t and will never adhere to any laws, but to an extent, they do. Criminals internalize a cost to their actions, which thus influences their decision to proceed with committing a crime. Some Yale law researchers found that “...while criminals as a group have negative opinions of the law and legal authority, gun offenders (just like noncriminals) are more likely to comply with the law when they believe (a) in the legitimacy of legal actors, but especially the police, and (b) that the substance of the law is consistent with their own moral schedules” [2]. This means that, while some hardline criminals may ignore new laws, many will become aware the risk possessing a semi-automatic weapon poses, and thus will be more hesitant to purchase them illegally and subsequently use them in crime.

Consider also the incredibly passive approach the US takes toward gun trafficking. It’s not even considered a crime, and penalties for “straw purchases”, the buying a gun for someone who legally can’t, are about as severe as getting a speeding ticket [3]. If the US took simple measures to inhibit gun trafficking, we would likely see the availability of illegal guns be reduced.

Taking into consideration the natural drain of illegal firearms, the hesitation of criminals, and the mandatory buyback program, we would absolutely see the availability of all guns on the unregulated market plummet.

R3) Defensive use

Con cites a 23-year-old telephone survey to push an ad nauseum assertion that defensive gun uses number roughly 2.5 million a year. But according the Gun Violence Archive, there were only 2,047 defensive reported and verified gun uses in 2017 [4]. 64% of Kleck’s survey respondents indicated that their defensive gun uses were reported to the police [5], so either less than 0.01% of such incidents are really reported, or Con’s 2 million figure is complete bogus.

Using Kleck’s data, guns were used protectively in 845,000 burglaries in 1992 [6]. But out of the 1.3 million burglaries that occurred when someone was home, in only a third of the people home were awake, and only 42% of Americans that year owned guns [6]. Using the numbers, that’s about 117,000 burglaries in which self-defensive could have actually occurred.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a far more reliable source than Con’s, puts the defensive gun use number at 67,740 a year [7]. In 2012, only 259 justified homicides occurred [7]. Those are far lower numbers than what Con was proporting.

R4) Homicides

Con cites a graph on the overall homicide rate of Britain, but that isn’t what should be measured when trying to quantify results: firearm homicides should be. After its peak in 2004, firearm offenses dropped from 24,094 to 7,866 in 2015 [11]. That’s a drop of 67%. The guns that do tend to be used are considered “junk guns”: underpowered, inaccurate, and likely to misfire [12]. This is an indication that Britain is not only getting guns off its streets, but good ones.

The Australia graph is, again, on the overall homicide rate. Even if we were to trust that alone, it wouldn’t be statistically significant because the country already had a very low homicide rate that was already declining due to other factors. A measurable effect would have to be observed within the hundreds (since they only have a few hundred murders per year), and that’s not big enough of a number to make a significant conclusion. I did provide numbers in my opening case that showed the amount of firearm homicides taking a dive, so if evidence had to be extracted from the Australia example, that’s about as meaningful a find could be.

R5) Illegal gun market

I partially addressed this point above, though I must dispute Con’s assertion that the doors to illegal gun trading would open. The unregulated gun market is thriving aplenty already, and Con hasn’t shown how outlawing semi-automatics would boost it in any way that would encourage illegality and/or crime. Firearm trafficking tends to originate from states with looser laws and higher gun ownership rates [9], which suggests that legality and availability affects the market of illegal weapons. I’ve already demonstrated ways in which my proposal would discourage gun trafficking, such as squeezing the general supply through the cessation of manufacturing/selling, buyback purchasing, hiking the prices, inhibiting criminality via cost-risk, and the possibility of imposing harsher penalties on such behavior (which the US has a lot of room to do).

Con invokes Prohibition, but isn’t clear about how it’s relevant. Prohibition was a success insofar that it reduced alcohol consumption [10]; its intended goal was improving health, whereas the goal of gun regulations are to reduce crime and accidents. Alcohol may harm the individual, but it can’t be directly used to commit crime in the way firearms can. I allege that, because consuming alcohol involves individual choice whereas being a victim of gun violence does not, the latter is less desirable and thus more deserving of legal attention.

Burdens

Most of Con’s arguments have been defensive, along the lines of “it won’t have much of an impact.” Except for his last point, he hasn’t offered anything that suggests that a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be a net detriment. That means that even if you discarded all of my arguments, Con’s burden would hardly be met.

Sources

1. Con’s first source.
2. http://bit.ly...
3. http://bit.ly...
4. http://bit.ly...
5. Con’s third source, p. 186.
6. http://bit.ly... (pp. 1441-42)
7. http://lat.ms...
8. http://n.pr...
9. http://nyti.ms...
10. http://bit.ly...
11. http://bit.ly...
12. http://bit.ly...
tajshar2k

Con

Thank you for the rebutalls Pro.

Also I would like to apolgize for the atrocious formatting presented in the last round. I will try to fix it.



(1) Reduction of homicides

Pro’s study claims that a 1 percent increase in gun ownership is “correlated” with a 0.9 percent in firearm homicide, but the key word is correlate. If we look at Pro’s source, it says that the researchers could not determine causation. In other words, the study concedes that the increase in firearm homicide cannot be directly attributed to the increase in gun ownership. There is also another key flaw that is mentioned. The study itself admits that it used a
“GEE negative binomial model with year fixed effects and accounting for clustering by state, but without any other predictor variables besides gun ownership” [1].

Generally speaking, the states in the South (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi ) have always had higher rates of gun ownership, but it’s socioeconomic status has been significantly lower when compared to other states. Poverty, unemployment, lack of job opportunity strongly correlates with crime, so it’s more likely that these factors contributed to fire-arm homicide rather than the actual gun ownership.

It’s interesting that Pro only talks about firearm homicide, but if we look at overall homicide among the states, there isn’t a strong correlation. A state like California only has a 19.8% gun ownership rate with a 4.9 per 100,000 homicide rate, whereas a state like Idaho has a 56.9% gun ownership rate with a homicide rate of 2.9 [2].

Pro continues with his mistake of mistaking correlation with causation, and highlights countries like Australia and Japan. There are too many factors to consider when comparing homicide rates among countries, with a large indicator being poverty and GDP. There are two points I would like to make:


  • The U.S is ranked #1 in gun ownership (101 guns per 100 people) [3] but is ranked #88 in homicide rates (4.92 per 100,000) [4]. El Salvador on the other hand is ranked #89 in gun ownership [3] (5.8 guns per 100 people) but is ranked #1 in homicide rate (108.8 per 100,000) [4]. If guns were the main culprit in homicide, these statistics would be the inverse. Poverty and GDP on the other hand seem to correlate much stronger than gun ownership. El Salvador’s poverty rate and GDP are significantly lower than the U.S’s, which would indicate why it is much more dangerous.

  • If we look at Australia’s homicide rate prior to the ban and before the ban, it followed a consistent downwards trend which can be attributed to other factors. There is no indication of any dramatic decline in homicide after the ban was passed so it’s highly unlikely that the ban made any difference in the overall homicide rate. During this same time period, the U.S also experienced a drop in homicide rate, but at a much larger rate, despite not having a ban. In the case of Japan, it has always historically had low homicide rates, and is not proof that gun bans work.

The same arguments above all apply to the issue of law enforcement homicides. The states with higher gun ownership tend to also have higher crime rates, which logically suggests that the chance of law enforcement homicide to be higher.



(2) Mass shootings

While it is true that the U.S has more mass shootings than other countries, the % of murder that are attributed to mass shootings is less than 1% of all gun deaths. While I do not wish to desensitize the victims of mass shootings, it doesn’t make sense to create a blanket ban based on incidents that are statistically very rare when we look at the overall picture [5].

Regarding the Parkland and Sutherland Springs shootings, the incident could have been entirely avoided had the FBI taken a more proactive approach in preventing those individuals from buying firearm [6]. I believe the focus on pre-emptive measure would be more effective in preventing these incidents from happening than a blanket ban, because previous bans from the past didn’t make any difference when it comes to mass shootings. The shooters still managed to acquire those weapons.

The Assault Weapons Ban was passed by Congress in 1994 but when the Columbine massacre (1999) happened, the perpetrators were found to have TEC- 9’s with them, a semi-automatic pistol that was prohibited according to the ban. The law didn’t seem to do anything in this case. If we passed a ban on all semi-automatic guns, the sheer volume of guns already floating around the U.S would render any legislation useless [7].

If people are so determined to commit these acts of violence, they will always find a way. France has one of the strictest gun control laws in the world, but the terrorists managed got access to fully-automatic rifles (virtually impossible to get in the U.S) and hand grenades, killing 137 people. That is more fatalities than the top 2 mass shootings in U.S history combined [8].

For France, it would make far more sense to focus on pre-emptive measures (stricter surveillance, stricter immigration,) rather than focusing on gun laws. The U.S should do the same as well (bullying prevention programs, better counselling,).



(3)
Suicides

Pro makes the mistake of only focusing on fire-arm homicides, but why aren’t we comparing suicide rates in general? Is killing yourself with a gun somehow worse than hanging yourself? In both cases, you still die.


If we look at overall suicide rates, the U.S is right in the middle of the pack, and countries like Japan and Finland have higher suicide rates than the U. S’s homicide and suicide rate combined [9]. Whether it’s done by firearms or not is irrelevant, because there are many other ways to commit suicide, especially in the case of Japan, which has a ridiculously low gun ownership rate. It’s not like suicidal people in America will stop being suicidal if they have no guns available.

Suicide should be treated as a mental health concern, not a gun concern. Pro’s argument isn’t convincing since he doesn’t exactly show how overall suicide rates would reduce, just firearm suicides. He just seems to assume that lesser access to firearms would discourage suicide. He uses this same argument in his Israeli' Armed Forces example by showing firearm suicide reduced. Obviously fire-arm suicide will reduce if there are no fire-arms but it doesnt show that overall suicide reduces.



=Conclusion=

None of Pro's arguments justify the blanket ban he is proposing because he is using cherry-picked data and terms to make his case. Pro is relying far too much on data presented in other countries, but he doesn't show that correlation= casuation, which should be be considered when you make such drastic policy change. The politicial environment and culture is Australia is drastically different than the U.S's and is a poor example to use. Even the Australian Ambasaddor said that his countries gun control laws would not work in the U.S due to the different culture [10].

Thank you and I await Pro's counter rebutalls.

Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
2.https://www.cbsnews.com...
3.https://en.wikipedia.org...
4.https://www.indexmundi.com...
5.https://www.vox.com...
6.https://www.cnn.com...
7.http://acolumbinesite.com...
8. https://aoav.org.uk...
9:http://www.rebresearch.com...
10:https://psmag.com...

Debate Round No. 3
Varrack

Pro

Thanks for the debate Con. I’ll use this round to defend my case.

D1) Homicides

The study on gun ownership vs firearm homicides does account for potential confounding variables. Con quoted the bivariate analysis, which only involved the one predictor variable of gun ownership. In the overall study, the researchers state that they “examined the relationship between gun ownership and age-adjusted firearm homicide rates...with adjustment for age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanization, poverty, unemployment....After we controlled for all the measured potential confounding variables, rather than just those found significant in the final model, the gun ownership proxy was still a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates” [1]. Correlation is not causation in studies that aren’t experimental, obviously, but the findings *were* statistically significant, meaning that the null hypothesis could be thrown out.

Con asserts that overall homicide is more important than firearm homicide when assessing the effect of gun laws on murder rates. This makes absolutely *no* sense, because my premise was that banning semi-automatics would sharply reduce gun-related fatalities. How is the overall homicide rate relevant when we’re trying to single out the causes of death by guns? Con needs to show why non-gun homicides matter when discussing gun laws, but not one attempt to do that is made.

Con doesn’t dispute that firearm homicides decrease as a result of prohibiting semi-automatics, and because no relevance between overall homicides and effectiveness was drawn, he has effectively conceded that a semi-automatic gun ban would save thousands of lives. Con loses on the spot if he doesn’t dispute that my proposal would save this many lives, as this impact is impossible to overcome (since human life is the most worthy of preserving).

The US is indeed #88 in homicides, but as I explained above, the gun murder rate is what’s relevant. In that area, the US stands at #10 [2]. The countries that are above the US are incomparable in terms of socioeconomic status: their overall incomes and per-capita GDPs are lower, as well as their education levels. Countries like the Philippines, which is at the #6 place, struggle with drug trafficking [6], in which gangs will often fight the police.

In my opening case, I explained how the US stands *way* above countries that can be compared to the US, in that they are developed and have higher incomes. It’s not even a contest: the U.S has a gun murder rate of 29.7 per million, which is nearly quadruple the rate of the 2nd highest, Switzerland, at 7.7 per million [4]. Below is a graph [11] illustrating this point:



One has to seriously reach to somehow conclude that so high gun murders are due to something other than gun ownership levels. The US doesn't have significantly more crime than other developed countries, so for firearm homicides to be so high does say something.

D2) Mass shootings


Con tries to minimize the impact that mass shootings have, but the the psychological and emotional tolls they take on the the country shouldn’t be downplayed. It’s wrong to say they are statistically insignificant when they attract significant media coverage and draw reactions from celebrities and politicians alike. It affects not only those who perished, but those who survived, the families and friends of the survivors, their neighbors, etc. There’s also evidence that mass shootings inspire copycats, with 20-30% of mass shootings having been inspired by a previous tragedy [5]. This is especially worrying considering how more frequent they’re becoming, with 3 of the most deadly ones in US history having occurred in the past couple years [6]. In essence, they’re quite contagious, and something *must* be done to stop them.

The isolated example of Columbine doesn’t prove that Assault Weapons ban was overall ineffective. There were fewer mass shootings during the ban (1.6 per year) than before (2.05 per year) or after (4.18 per year) [7]. The ban had many problems anyway, such as only prohibiting 18 firearm models, but allowing other slightly-modified versions of those guns to be sold on the market. AWs that were manufactured before 1994 were also perfectly legal to own or sell during that time, since no sort of buyback was implemented [8]. Considering the above, as well as how soft the penalties are for straw purchasing, it’s not much of a surprise that one of the Columbine shooters had a TEC-9. Under my proposal, however, it would be far more difficult for that to happen.

As for the 2015 Paris attacks, the terrorists’ guns originated from the Balkans, where gun laws are looser and the firearm trafficking market is much shadier [9]. The US doesn’t have this problem because guns aren’t often trafficked into our country; it’s the other way around: Mexico has a problem with *our* firearms making their way into their country [10]. Regulations do work, but if a state is bordering another that doesn’t responsibly control the circulation of its guns, than problems can surely arise. In the last round, I spoke about how states with looser gun laws tend to be the origin for gun trafficking, whereas states with stricture gun laws are the destination. If laws were tightened federally, this discrepancy between different states wouldn't exist, meaning the firearm trafficking vaccuum would be shut off.

D3) Suicides

Again, the “overall rate matters” assumption here is unfounded. Con states “Obviously fire-arm suicide will reduce if there are no fire-arms but it doesnt show that overall suicide reduces.This is a concession. My original premise, that reducing firearms reduces suicides that would otherwise be committed with a firearm is undisputed. Con tries to say that people will still have other ways to kill themselves, but *even* if we buy this, I’ve explained how suicide attempts via a firearm succeed more often than other methods, so if semi-automatic guns were to be taken away, that deadlier option would be unavailable, meaning that suicide attempts would fail at a greater rate. Con sidesteps this impact.

Furthermore, it’s a bare assumption to say someone who is suicidal always has another way. Suicide is usually attempted in-the-moment, when someone reaches such a low that they can't be talked out of it. In this critical instances, eliminating as many means of carrying out the act could be life-saving; it takes much less time and effort to fire a gun than it does to tie a noose and hang it from the ceiling, for instance. Rarely are people suicidal 24/7; rather, it takes a catalyst to propel someone into that situation.

Conclusion

As we hold more equal burdens in this debate, the net impacts our cases have should be analyzed. My case demonstrates how lives would be saved, and how gun violence in the US would be significantly reduced. Con’s case is merely defensive; he argues why a ban might not work, but little is said about how overall detrimental it would be. Even if he manages to show negatives of it, he still has to *somehow* outweigh the impacts of 30,000 lives being saved, which he didn't come close to doing when he evaded my firearm-related murder and suicide contentions.

Sources

1. Source 2 of affirmative case
2. http://bit.ly...
3. http://n.pr...
4. http://bit.ly...
5. http://bit.ly...
6. http://bit.ly...
7. http://bit.ly...
8. http://wapo.st...
9. http://thebea.st...
10. http://n.pr...
tajshar2k

Con

Thank you Pro, I will now present my counter-rebutalls and conclusion.


(1) Buyback program


Pro is accusing me of cherry-picking and is saying that a support for all guns isn’t relevant.

The majority firearms are semi-automatic firearms, so when Pro says he is going to ban semi-automatic firearms, he is banning the vast majority of guns (Pro himself admits that in his 2nd rebuttal). The top selling firearms in America have all been semi-automatic weapons. If we get into semantics, the poll is asking about “all” firearms whereas Pro’s resolution only talks about semi-auto’s, but it’s entirely reasonable to suggest that most of those who oppose banning all guns would also be opposed to banning semi autos, since they are the most popular and the most commonly used firearms.

Pro ironically cherry-picks another statistic to prove his point by saying 70% support stricter gun control, but gun control is an incredibly vague term. I for one support a universal background check which is essentially stricter gun control. That doesn’t suggest in the slightest that I support banning semi-autos. If anything, Pro’s source is far more irrelevant than mines.

It’s hard to guess what each responder had in mind when they heard “stricter” gun control but its unlikely they were all thinking about a blanket ban on all semi-automatic firearms. The only ban that has been commonly talked about is the “Assault Weapon” ban, and that is mainly because many people believe they are weapons of war. However Assault Weapons do not count handguns, so this doesn’t prove anything.



(2) Illegal Guns

Pro is only talking about guns that are currently being manufactured, his plan will stop those weapons from going into circulation, but he misses three key points.

  1. The number of firearms in the U.S is over 320 million. There are over 12 billion rounds of ammunition.
  2. Guns can be used for an infinite period if maintained. It is not necessary for criminals to keep buying guns.
  3. A ban will shut down the major gun manufacturers, but private gunsmiths and 3D printing technologies can still be used.

Theoretically, the supply and demand that is being proposed would work, but given the sheer number of firearms, this will take a very long time. The buyback program in Australia took roughly 1 year to collect roughly 660,000 firearms [1]. If the U.S were to collect at this rate, it would take around 533 years for the U.S government to collect all firearms (The U.S has only existed as a country for 242 years). This is a ridiculous amount of time and not a realistic solution. This also assuming that all semi-auto firearm production is outlawed, but Pro completely concedes my point on private gunsmiths and 3D printing.


(3) Defensive Gun Use

Pro is saying my statistic on SDGU is false because the “Gun Violence Archive” says there were only 2,047 defensive “reported” uses. This statistic only counts reported uses, but most of the time, the crime was thwarted without any shots being fired. There is no incentive for any gun owner to report this information to the police, so it’s obvious that this figure would be significantly lower. As a mentioned before, the number of actual SDGU cannot be accurately determined, only extrapolations can be used. Therefore, the statistics provided by the GVA is useless.

I do not religiously worship Kleck’s study, but Pro offers very little reason to suggest that the methodology that he used is incorrect. While Kleck does admit 64% of his respondents reported the incident to the police, he also mentioned a caveat of his own, but Pro conveniently left that part out in his rebuttal [2]:

“This figure should be interpreted with caution, since victims presumably want to present their use of guns as legitimate and a willingness to report the incident to the police would help support an impression of legitimacy. Rs who had in fact not reported the incident to the police might have wondered whether a "no" reply might not lead to discomforting follow-up questions like "why not?" (as indeed it does in the NCVS). Further, it is likely that some Rs reported these incidents but did not mention their use of a gun”

In 2013, President Barrack Obama (D) gave funds to the CDC to study gun violence. The CDC is by no means a pro-gun organization, but even they acknowledged the statistics provided by Gary Kleck [3].

At this point, Pro has pretty much conceded my argument on SDGU, because he himself admits that there are atleast 67,000 SDGU a year. That number is greater than the amount of gun homicide and suicide put together which he says is roughly 33,000.



(3) Homicides

Pro is suggesting we only focus on firearm homicides rather than overall homicides, but if a criminal doesn’t have a gun, he will use another weapon such as a knife. Knife offenses in the U.K are far higher than they are in the U.S [4]. Even if we focus on gun homicides, we must keep in mind that Britain had far less gun’s in circulation, which is a major variable that should be considered. Bluntly put, the U.S cannot attempt to prohibit firearms they way they did in other countries, therefore comparing these trends from other countries is not advisible, and the Australian ambasaddor himself agrees.



(4) Black Market

I have addressed most of the points in R2 for the first paragraph, so I’ll focus on the 2
nd .

Prohibition is an important event to discuss not because of its health benefits, but it’s effect on crime and the black market. In Pro’s own source, it states that Prohibition increased crime [5], and that the relevant piece of information we need. There was no Al Capone before Prohibition, but after it was passed, it allowed him to create a large black market which established his crime network in America.

Given the sheer demand of firearms, I see no reason why another figure like Al Capone wouldn’t rise. Prohibition creates a black market and past events suggest that it would also result in an uptick of crime, therefore it is undesirable to pursue that would ensure that this happens.


(5) Burden

Since this is policy debate, my arguments have been structured according to Pro’s plan, which is to have a mandatory buyback program. I only need to show why this buyback program to ban all semi-automatic firearms is a net detriment. I stated that in my opening round, and Con had no objection to it. I agree that some of my arguments are defensive, but they work in conjunction to my other “offensive” arguments.

So let’s quickly recap my arguments to show that I have met my burden:

Lack of compliance for a buyback program:

Overall Detriments:

  • Waste of taxpayers money and time of federal officials who could be doing something more productive
  • Likely loss of 4th amendment rights leading to increased chaos and disorder which naturally leads to violence.

Removing Self-Defensive Gun Use:

Overall Detriments:

  • 55,000 to 4.7 million additional violent crimes that could occur
  • Americans lose their constituional right to realistically defend themselves



Creating an Illegal Gun Market:

Overall Detriments:

  • Criminals will have easier access to these weapons, while law-abidding citizens will not
  • Potential for major criminals to rise and establish crime network, along with increased crime rates


Economic Reprocussions:

Overall Detriments:

  • Rise in unemployment and decreased economic output
  • Long term affects of poverty which increases crime

Conclusion

I believe that I have shown enough flaws in Pro's case that his gun ban policy would be a net deteriment. The main argument that Pro has made throughout this debate is that his plan will reduce firearm and suicide rates, but by simply referring to SDGU alone, more lives are saved using guns than they are used to commit homicide and suicide, and that allow should be enough for me to meet my burden. However, I also shown flaws that could arise from the creation of black markets, which would result in increased crime, and I have also showed that there are economic reprocussions that will occur.

Please trust in my case and vote for Con.




Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: campbellp10// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: I voted this debate on the sources and the consistency of arguments presented. Con certainly cherry-picked a number of his stats (specifically the "86%" opposition to regulation survey mentioned in R2) which he tried to defend later but it was inadequate--after reading the sources themselves it was clearly misleading. As Pro points out, Con contradicts himself by asserting that law abiding citizens are law abiding when it suits his case but suddenly felons when they're presented with a buyback. Really Con needed solid evidence that gun laws don't impact firearm homicide rates or effectively weigh gun violence with GUSD. He fails in both regards. Pro: I would recommend offering a more crystallized voting criteria in your constructive. I know it seems obvious but it will make for a better debate if you spend some time on why we should prefer a reduction in gun homicide rates over any other value Con can offer. Overall great topic and great debate! The Vote is Pro.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter appears to justify his vote based solely on arguments made by Con. Though the voter mentions one of Pro"s rebuttals, it is only with regards to the success of one of Con"s points, meaning that the voter never points to any substantive arguments made by Pro. The voter is required to assess arguments made by both sides. Merely pointing out that one side failed to make a convincing argument does not show how the other side convinced you.
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Posted by tajshar2k 2 years ago
tajshar2k
@Wytled

After reading your vote and YYW, I accept your reasoning. I realize I could have mentioned some more offensive arguments. I actually had one for regarding burglary rates, but I got lazy and I just copied the economic argument from my previous debate.

I'll definitely keep this in mind when I do future debates. Thank you
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
I disagree on the framework part. That might be appropriate for a 5 round debate, but I think it's important to have the ability to defend one's case. I'll give that I could have crystallized more in this one, but I wouldn't set aside the entire fourth round for crystallization.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Honestly Con you"re a really good debater and I"m typically impressed by you. You spent too much time being on defense though, and I think you relied too much on an unspoken utilitarian moral framework and should have imposed your own moral framework on the debate.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Public response to Con, The author of the study on self defense came across as motivated to come to a conclusion that favored guns. He came across as willing to fudge numbers to get the conclusions he desired. The one citation that I wanted to check in the debate was from the final round was the one from the CDC, but I couldn"t click the link, and honestly you should have condensed your writing so it was easier for me to click on the citation. I applied an extreme amount of skepticism with kleck, and would have liked access to the CDC link to see if I was being overly skeptical. I"m not biased either, I am an extreme libertarian that would legalize 12 yr olds getting bazookas.

Also I was being generous with both of you and going against my personal philosophy of weighing new information that comes in the final round. My philosophy of dealing with rebuttals that occur in the final round is to ignore new information that is coming in. The final round is for framing the debate in a way that gets judges to favor a positive view of how you performed in the debate, and rebuttals in that round in my opinion are just for rhetoric and framing.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
1-6 As usual, you"ll have to excuse my disorganized thinking, which leads to disorganized writing. However the conclusion is clear even if my method of reaching it is not

I don"t really like how pro starts out the debate, losing valuable space defining terms and manufacturing a harder resolution after his opponent agreed to the easier one by choosing to make a buyback program part of the resolution he must defend.

I also didn"t like how don didn"t fight to make the resolution harder after pro left even the resolution itself up for debate if con chose to take advantage. Make him pay for his mistakes con. With how liberally biased this site is, you need to make him pay for every mistake to try and sway some of that unconscious bias.

Buyback Program- Con argues that gun happy Americans will see the buyback program as an attack on their constitutional rights and will not comply without a fight. He doesn"t really back up this assertion by pointing to The "Oath Keepers" and other groups that have possibly vowed to do just that, he just lets it hang there as low hanging fruit for his opponent.

In R3 pro argues that con"s law abiding argument actually works in his favor to show gun owners will comply with a buyback program. He then gives examples of other countries where a buyback program has worked with no problem, supporting his claim that law abiding citizens would comply. At the end of Pro"s rebuttal he says: "I challenge Con to find a single buyback that resulted in noticeable disobedience, or anything that suggests US gun owners would not be civil in the event of a program happening."

Con ignored the challenge and went on to discredit the stats showing support for the proposed gun ban, but con failed to support his contentions concerning this and he also failed to show that most Americans would be opposed to a ban.

Pro wins on the unnecessarily added buyback program as part of the resolution, but I still have to examine if a gun buyback program can
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
2-6 Reduction of Homicides- pro starts this section by pointing out that less guns will result in less homicides by gun. That"s good but it is also pretty irrelevant. He should probably be focused on proving a reduction of homicides, not a reduction of gun deaths. Clearly less guns means less gun deaths. It"s a truism for the most part. I"ll read on because I assume he will say something relevant soon.

Pro says a society with lots of guns will result in police being in deadly force situations more often. Next my opponent explained gun ban in Australia caused the murder rate to drop from 311 to 234 a 25% drop in the likelihood of getting murdered, pretty significant but oddly he says the likelihood is reduced by 72%. I assume he is counting gun deaths, which is odd. I"m more concerned with total likelihood of dying than I am of whether the person who was going to use a gun now uses a knife to kill me after a ban. I"m not making that argument for con, I"m just pointing out that in my impact analysis I"m looking at total deaths not deaths by gun. If suicide is now less likely, show me those stats. show less, but total suicide.

Con argues in round 2, other countries did not show a lower rate of homicides, and explained that in the same time period the United States has a larger dip in homicide rate without banning guns.

In R3 pro argues that gun homicides should be used in the impact analysis, which is definitely wrong. This is ludicrous because somebody changing their method of killing doesn"t mean that we should ban automatics if the new method is equally as effective. Gun related deaths is a good stat to use but not gun related homicides.

Pro mentions 67% less firearm offenses. This stat is actually relevant. Less accidents from shooting your gun in the air on holidays or less people shot in non lethal ways is actually a good thing, unless we can show something like knife related offenses going up at the same rate as gun offenses dipped.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
3-6
Unfortunately after this pro goes on to admit the small reduction in Australian homicides is statistically insignificant and focuses on homicides by gun, as if the people who switch from using a gun to using poison are any less lethal. We want to see an overall drop to make sure that gun bans actually do something to decrease the amount of people getting hurt or increase the quality of life for more people than it hurts.

Later on in the same round con argues that homicide rates have a lot more to do with things such as economic conditions than with the rate of semi automatics owned. The argument seems pointless, I"m sure pro was working under this assumption when making his case anyway.

Con finally does offer a rebuttal for police officer homicide rates by also showing a correlation in those areas with being high crime. Next I am going to quote pro:

"Con asserts that overall homicide is more important than firearm homicide when assessing the effect of gun laws on murder rates. This makes absolutely *no* sense, because my premise was that banning semi-automatics would sharply reduce gun-related fatalities. How is the overall homicide rate relevant when we"re trying to single out the causes of death by guns? Con needs to show why non-gun homicides matter when discussing gun laws, but not one attempt to do that is made."

Because it is stupid to ban guns to reduce my chance of being murdered if it only reduces my chance of being murdered by that particular method.

"he has effectively conceded that a semi-automatic gun ban would save thousands of lives."

How so If it is completely ineffective at deterring people from murdering as evidenced by homicide rates remaining static?

Neither side really gained any ground in the debate here. If I ended analyzing the debate here I would give it a tie. Possibly giving pro a conduct point for the sources not being how I prefer them.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
3-6
Unfortunately after this pro goes on to admit the small reduction in Australian homicides is statistically insignificant and focuses on homicides by gun, as if the people who switch from using a gun to using poison are any less lethal. We want to see an overall drop to make sure that gun bans actually do something to decrease the amount of people getting hurt or increase the quality of life for more people than it hurts.

Later on in the same round con argues that homicide rates have a lot more to do with things such as economic conditions than with the rate of semi automatics owned. The argument seems pointless, I"m sure pro was working under this assumption when making his case anyway.

Con finally does offer a rebuttal for police officer homicide rates by also showing a correlation in those areas with being high crime. Next I am going to quote pro:

"Con asserts that overall homicide is more important than firearm homicide when assessing the effect of gun laws on murder rates. This makes absolutely *no* sense, because my premise was that banning semi-automatics would sharply reduce gun-related fatalities. How is the overall homicide rate relevant when we"re trying to single out the causes of death by guns? Con needs to show why non-gun homicides matter when discussing gun laws, but not one attempt to do that is made."

Because it is stupid to ban guns to reduce my chance of being murdered if it only reduces my chance of being murdered by that particular method.

"he has effectively conceded that a semi-automatic gun ban would save thousands of lives."

How so If it is completely ineffective at deterring people from murdering as evidenced by homicide rates remaining static?

Neither side really gained any ground in the debate here. If I ended analyzing the debate here I would give it a tie. Possibly giving pro a conduct point for the sources not being how I prefer them.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
4/6 Mass Shootings- Pro says Mass shootings are typically carried out with semi automatics as he defined them and that the majority of mass shooters do not have a diagnosable mental health condition.

Con argues that mass shootings only account for a small percentage of overall homicide, but if a policy has a net benefit no matter how small, we should pass it in my opinion, unless some argument is proposed to the contrary.

Con then argues that the number of guns in circulation would not be reduced so mass shootings would likely not be prevented. This is ridiculous on two accounts. Pro has already mentioned a buyback program and obviously new semi automatics could only be produced on the black market, so there would be less of them in circulation.

Con then points to the massacre that happened in France to show a ban would be ineffective, but the effectiveness of a ban shouldn"t be weighed based on whether it can completely eliminate mass shootings, but on what type of impact it will have.

According to pro Mass shootings inflict a lot of psychological damage and can inspire copy cats, making the problem even worse.

Pro conclusively shows that mass murders will likely be reduced with a semi automatic gun ban. Con merely mitigates the impacts.

Suicides- pro explains that the majority of gun deaths are suicides and that using a gun increases the likelihood of a successful suicide attempt. Pro shows that a program that prevented Israeli soldiers from taking guns home reduced their rate of suicide, and that the prevalence of guns in certain geographic areas has a direct correlation with suicide rates.

Con argues that pro is focusing on suicides by guns, and offers stats showing some countries with less guns have more suicides than ones with more guns. If there is no reduction in overall suicides con needs to show that and do more than just say pro left out a stat if he isn"t offering the stat he left out.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Varracktajshar2k
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Excellent debate. Criticism of my vote is welcome: (http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/113841/)
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Varracktajshar2k
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
Varracktajshar2k
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters did a reasonably good job with this debate, although PRO wins because the net good (the implied framework both debaters were arguing from) is more probably improved in the PRO world, than it is in the CON world based on their respective arguments. PRO's main arguments led to (1) a reduction in homicides, including mass shootings (which CON did not disprove); and (2) suicides, both of which are the result of gun violence. Thus, PRO upholds his burden of persuading that the US should adopt a ban on all semiautomatic firearms. CON can't win because (1) he never got to the point of why banning semi-automatic firearms is something that is bad (he just assumed it); (2) he assumed without foundation that a ban would not apply to guns already in circulation (warrantless claim); (3) didn't weigh the benefit of defensive gun use against PRO's reduction i net gun violence; and (4) had no clear basis for his "black market" argument.

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