Instigator / Pro

Gun Bans are Stupid


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 2 votes and with 11 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

A friendly but passionate debate about gun bans.

Round 1
I believe that the gun ban is stupid because all it seems to do is take guns away from the good, law-abiding people, leaving them defenseless and at the mercy of their criminal counterparts. Just like with illegal drugs, people who really want them will be able to get them through black markets and underground services. Since California activated their gun ban, the number of gun-violence crimes have gone steadily up and now they average at 12% above the rest of the nation! (“A Ban on Assault Weapons Would Not Reduce Crime, edited by Noel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,) Basically, guns aren't what is causing crime, but rather reducing it. 

Another reason why I believe that gun bans wont work begins with a question: do you know what a gun is? I want you to stop reading this and consider for just a minute if you actually know. I'm sure you've heard this before but have you considered it? A gun is a tool. Just like a hammer is a tool, a knife is a tool, and a screwdriver is a tool. Furthermore, all a gun is, is a cold lump of metal. For example, when one is preparing a meal they don't just leave the kitchen and expect the knife to have minced the onion and diced the carrots! No! The inanimate knife cannot nor ever will be able to do that on its own! Similarly, guns don't kill people, people kill people. It takes a living, breathing, comprehending person to pull the trigger. 

By saying that guns are tools, I am also implying that other things can be used as tools. Let's make a scenario. Let's pretend that I hate my roommate so very much to the point that I don't want her to be alive anymore. I don't own a gun, but that doesn't matter. The toolbox with hammers and screwdrivers is in the trunk of my car! My cleaning closet is full of chemicals! My kitchen has a wonderful assortment of knifes! For the people who are truly determined, having a gun or not will not matter! "As the numbers of “assault weapons” and “large” magazines have soared to all-time highs, violent crime has been cut in half. The nation’s total violent crime rate peaked in 1991. Since then, through 2012, it has decreased 49%, to a 42-year low, including a 52% drop in the nation’s murder rate, to a 49-year low--perhaps the lowest point in American history." (A Ban on Assault Weapons Would Not Reduce Crime, edited by Noel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,). You can see with this research that when people know I have a gun, they're probably less likely to attack me!

It is true, however, that guns do make up a percentage of our nation's violent crimes. But when it comes down to it, most of those crimes happened in "gun free" zones! Take my uncle for example: two years ago he was deported to Afghanistan to aid in the war against the evil, moral-less dictators of the country. Did you know that not too long ago those same leaders banned guns? The people are left at the mercy of those soulless humans. Not even a year ago the banned toy guns or anything that resembles the weapon. Why? To control the people! Back in 1938 Germany Hitler even banned guns from the Jews and we all know what happened shortly after. “Jews are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons” (Frick “Regulations Against Jews Possession of Weapons.” Berlin. 11 Nov. 1938.).

Nothing prevents oppressive change more than an armed citizenry, so nothing needs changing as much or as quickly as that relic of individual liberty. You can’t make people servants of an all-powerful government when they can still prevent being bound to the yoke chosen for them by their “betters” (Brown, Jeffery T. “Don’t mistake Victims of Gun Violence for Experts on Gun Control.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018)
Farm boys wild to couple
With anything      with soft-wooded trees  
With mounds of earth      mounds  
Of pinestraw      will keep themselves off  
Animals by legends of their own:  
In the hay-tunnel dark
And dung of barns, they will  
Say    I have heard tell

That in a museum in Atlanta  
Way back in a corner somewhere  
There’s this thing that’s only half  
Sheep      like a woolly baby
Pickled in alcohol      because  
Those things can’t live.      his eyes
Are open      but you can’t stand to look  
I heard from somebody who ...

But this is now almost all  
Gone. The boys have taken  
Their own true wives in the city,
The sheep are safe in the west hill
Pasture      but we who were born there
Still are not sure. Are we,
Because we remember, remembered
In the terrible dust of museums?

Merely with his eyes, the sheep-child may  

Be saying      saying

         I am here, in my father’s house.
         I who am half of your world, came deeply
         To my mother in the long grass
         Of the west pasture, where she stood like moonlight
         Listening for foxes. It was something like love
         From another world that seized her
         From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head  
         Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
         Self to that great need. Turned loose, she dipped her face  
         Farther into the chill of the earth, and in a sound  
         Of sobbing      of something stumbling
         Away, began, as she must do,
         To carry me. I woke, dying,

         In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes
         Far more than human. I saw for a blazing moment  
         The great grassy world from both sides,
         Man and beast in the round of their need,
         And the hill wind stirred in my wool,
         My hoof and my hand clasped each other,
         I ate my one meal
         Of milk, and died
         Staring. From dark grass I came straight
         To my father’s house, whose dust
         Whirls up in the halls for no reason
         When no one comes      piling deep in a hellish mild corner,  
         And, through my immortal waters,
         I meet the sun’s grains eye
         To eye, and they fail at my closet of glass.
         Dead, I am most surely living
         In the minds of farm boys: I am he who drives
         Them like wolves from the hound bitch and calf
         And from the chaste ewe in the wind.
         They go into woods      into bean fields      they go
         Deep into their known right hands. Dreaming of me,  
         They groan      they wait      they suffer
         Themselves, they marry, they raise their kind.

James Dickey

Round 2
I'm not quite sure what to think about that poem. I'm also not quite sure why I found another place with your argument. A different argument. Oh well.

First I would like to elaborate of my claim, as when I wrote it I was bored and was looking for a friendly logic debate, you can clearly tell that in my lack of expounding in the description.

I believe that a gun ban in the United States of America is dangerous, and while 

I am not inferring that anyone and everyone should have the ability to posses firearms, in fact I support background checks before obtaining the weapon! You are right, it is a weapon, and while a screwdriver has other practical uses, a gun is primarily a weapon. What you do with it is up to you.

I am a young female adult who, if my home was broken into, would be helpless against a large, burly male. Oh yes, I have pepper spray, but all that does is hurt your eyes. It will do nothing to stop a truly determined person. 

When I go to school, yes I worry about school shooters. But I worry even more that the one cop isn't going to be enough to stop them! It brings me an immense amount of peace to know that my teachers have concealed weapon permits!

To me, all one must do is think it out. With logic. For one moment, it almost sounds weird to say this, but forget the stats!

If a person wants a gun, they will always be able to get it, especially from illigament sources! All a gun ban would do is take guns away from law abiding citizens.

I know I didn't quote anyone in this argument, but I feel like you should just be logical! I really think that it is unintelligent to propose that a ban would be effective.

The right to protect myself, my life, is unalienable. 

If you're worried about deaths, let's make abortion illegal! While there are 34,000 firearm related deaths in the US per year, there are 600,000 abortions. 
Thanks Lover12343!  Sorry for the mis-post in R1!
My plan now is re-format my intended R1 argument to refute your R1 and R2 together.
Thanks again for your indulgence.


A gun is a "weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells, or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise." [1]

A ban is "an official or legal prohibition." [2]

Stupid is "having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense." [3]

RESOLUTION:  Gun Bans are Stupid

PRO states that some gun bans are appropriate [a failed background check typically results in a gun ban] and has intimated US policy but no specific ban is indicated. Given US constitutional prohibition vs. infringements on the right to bear arms, it seems unlikely that we are talking about a general firearms prohibition.

So we are talking about the US where many federal gun bans are not constitutional but the bans in place are obviously quite effective.

CON requests that in R3, PRO offer specific guidance as to which gun bans are stupid and which gun bans are effective.  For example, the National Firearms Act of 1934  requires machine gun owners to be listed on a national registry, submit fingerprints and pay a hefty tax.  Does PRO consider this act an example of a stupid gun ban or not?


CON’s case obviously depends on the extent of gun ban under discussion.  If PRO does not offer a specific policy or against which to argue in R3, PRO will defend the 1934 prohibition on machine guns as an example of a rational gun ban in the US.


PRO claims gun bans increase violent crime.  PRO cites one piece of evidence:

'Since California activated their gun ban, the number of gun-violence crimes have gone steadily up and now they average at 12% above the rest of the nation! "
PRO is citing an opinion piece written by the NRA.  PRO does not specify which weapons ban but the article indicates 1989: [4]

"After its 1989 ban, California's murder rate increased every year for five years, 26% overall. "
The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 came into effect on Jan 1, 1990.  [5]

The FBI Uniform Crime Records show:

Year     Population     Murder

1990    29,760,021     3,553
1991    30,380,000     3,859
1992    30,867,000     3,921
1993    31,211,000     4,096
1994    31,431,000     3,703
1995    31,589,000     3,531 [6]

the overall homicide numbers went up until 1994 but the murder rate actually held steady as early as 1992:

Year    Population    Murder

1990   29,760,021    11.9
1991   30,380,000    12.7
1992   30,867,000    12.7
1993   31,211,000    13.1
1994   31,431,000    11.8
1995   31,589,000    11.2 [6]

The NRA and PRO claim that CA murder rate increased 26% in the 5 years after passing assault weapons legislation. But FBI records show the murder rate per 100,000 actually declined by 1% in 1994 from the 1990 rate.  Then the NRA claims:

"California banned more guns in January 2000 and murder has since averaged 12% higher than the national rate." [4]
But the FBI reports say that the murder rate per 100,000 has continued to steeply decline and is now down around the national average. [7]

Year     CA     US
1996:   9.1     7.4
2000:   6.1     5.5
2005:   6.5     5.6
2010:   4.8     4.8
2014:   4.4     4.4 [7]

By 2010, CA's murder rate and the US murder rate were the same.  By 2014, when the NRA made this claim, CA & US murder rates were still the same. Both of the NRA's claims deliberately distort the State of California's successes.  Since California banned assault rifles 30 years ago, the murder rate has dropped by almost 2/3rds.

PRO’s claim that gun bans increase violent crime is not supported by the evidence.
PRO argues that guns are only tools but concedes that unlike a screwdriver, a gun is primarily designed to be a weapon.  CON counters that many tools are commonly and appropriately banned under many circumstances. A pressure-cooker bomb is only a tool but pressure-cooker bombs are appropriately banned from a wide variety of venues- airplanes, subways, kindergarten classrooms, etc.  Tools are banned and ought to be banned in a wide variety of venues. Since a gun is a particularly dangerous type of tool, guns should be subject to at least the same restrictions as other dangerous tools. 
PRO argues that increased sales of assault weapons and large magazines have reduced crime.

"Accurate figures for civilian gun ownership are difficult to determine.  While the number of guns in civilian hands has been on the increase, the percentage of Americans and American households who claim to own guns has been in long-term decline, according to the General Social Survey. It found that gun ownership by households has declined steadily from about half, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, down to 32% in 2015. The percentage of individual owners declined from 31% in 1985 to 22% in 2014." [8]

In 2016, newspapers reported that while guns sales were up, the number of households with at least one gun was at a 40 year low. 

"An analysis by the [Washington Post] last year found that the average American gun owner owns about eight firearms, double that in the 1990s. Similarly, a CBS News poll from March found that about 20% of gun owners owned 10 or more guns." [9]

PRO contends: 

"when people know I have a gun, they're probably less likely to attack me!"
but, in fact, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded:

"After adjustment, individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05).  On average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. Although successful defensive gun uses occur each year, the probability of success may be low for civilian gun users in urban areas. Such users should reconsider their possession of guns or, at least, understand that regular possession necessitates careful safety countermeasures." [10]
Whether criminals are dissuaded is not established but it is clear that if people know you have a gun when they attack, they are far more likely to shoot you than if you didn't have a gun.  In R2, PRO argues that guns improve the safety of women against the "burly male" and while this argument seems obvious in theory, in practice the advantages are negligible.  One Harvard study found:

"Of over 14,000 incidents in which the victim was present, 127 (0.9%) involved a SDGU. [Self-defense gun use] was more common among males, in rural areas, away from home, against male offenders and against offenders with a gun. After any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after SDGU, 4.1% of victims were injured." [11]
Less than 1% of victims actually get a chance to use a gun in self-defense.  Victims who had a gun got injured one-tenth of one-percent less often than victims with no gun.  PRO asks us to forget the stats and for good reason: stats show that guns gave victims a .0009% protection advantage over the unarmed AND makes you 4 or 5 times more likely to be shot at.  As Harvard concludes:

"Compared to other protective actions, the National Crime Victimization Surveys provide little evidence that SDGU is uniquely beneficial in reducing the likelihood of injury or property loss." [11]
Returning to PRO's tool analogy:  if a screwdriver only actually did what it was supposed to do 9 times out every 10,000 trys and also made users five times more likely to be injured by a screwdriver - would PRO consider that an efficient tool or would PRO expect govt. to increase regulation for such an obviously hazardous and fraudulant product?

At the end of R1 and continuing into R2, PRO makes a series of less supported claims:

  • most gun crimes happened in "gun free" zones!  [Needs documentation, CON finds no evidence to support this claim.]
  • the soulless dictators of Afghanistan banned guns to control people.  [This claim needs documentation but also link to thesis: Is PRO arguing that the US-backed Afghan govt. ought not to disarm the Taliban & other insurgent peoples?]
  • Nazi Germany disarmed the Jews, advancing the Holocaust. [Politifact rates this claim as FALSE] [12]
  • PRO and CON agree that we have a right to self-defense, but the evidence shows that guns are an historically, famously, woefully inefficient tool for the purpose of self-defense.
PRO has yet to prove gun bans are stupid.


Round 3
Thanks, lover12343

CON does not find that the RESOLUTION was ever well established.  We seem to agree that at least some gun bans are necessary and some gun bans impossible under Second Amendment protections.  It was up to PRO to draw a line between necessary gun bans and stupid gun bans and that definition never came.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 made it criminal conduct to manufacture, import, or deal a number of different types of regulated weapons including machine guns which were defined as :

"any firearm which can fire repeatedly, without manual reloading, "by a single function of the trigger." Both continuous fully automatic fire and "burst fire"  are considered machine gun features. The weapon's receiver is by itself considered to be a regulated firearm. A non-machine gun that may be converted to fire more than one shot per trigger pull by ordinary mechanical skills is determined to be "readily convertible", and classed as a machine gun, such as a KG-9 pistol."

"Violations of the Act are punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and forfeiture of all devices or firearms in violation, and the individual's right to own or possess firearms in the future. The Act provides for a penalty of $10,000 for certain violations. A willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax imposed by the Act is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine ($500,000 in the case of a corporation or trust), under the general tax evasion statute. For an individual, the felony fine of $100,000 for tax evasion could be increased to $250,000." [1]
85 years later, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms confirms that there are  630,019 legally owned and registered machine guns in the US [2] but crimes committed with machine guns are so rare that the FBI and ATF do not track machine guns deaths as a separate category. [3] Since 1934, legally owned machine guns have only been confirmed responsible for only 2 homicides. [4]  CON calls this a smart gun ban with good results.  CON never discovered whether PRO might say the same.

Therefore, CON recommends that VOTERS find that CON won arguments.

Depending on whether VOTERS determine that CON's R1 counts as forfeit (see Comments section for CON's effort to show full faith effort), we either have one forfeited round each or 1 forfeit from PRO.  VOTERS will have to decide whether any points are allocated for conduct but CON does not defend irrelevant poetry in active debates, or unresponsive posts in general,  as good conduct.

Although PRO's sources were not DART standard, I'd remind VOTERS that this appears to be PRO's first debate on this site.

Thanks in advance to voters for their kind consideration.