Instigator / Pro

Resolved: citizens shouldn't be allowed to have assault weapons


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

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After 1 vote and with the same amount of points on both sides...

It's a tie!
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assault weapon: semi-automatic firearms chambered for centerfire ammunition with a detachable magazine, a pistol grip and sometimes other features such as a vertical forward grip, flash suppressor or barrel shroud.

Citizen: non military, legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.

Round 1
My argument is simple. Assault weapons are overkill and not necessary. They have only caused shootings and murder everywhere. "Of the victims of these violent crimes, 1.3 million (29%) stated that they faced an offender with a firearm.*" ( By preventing citizens from having assault weapons, they reduce the risk of crime. It is still plausible that someone with a handgun could threaten others, but it is far less lethal (especially in mass shootings). Just why would citizens need assault weapons? Even for self defense, surely a pistol, shotgun, or even rifle is enough,
There seems to be agreement that self-defense is a valid reason to own a gun in general.

One problem with specifically banning "assault weapons" is that there's no consensus as to what that means. Based on the opening argument, my opponent is not familiar with basic firearm terminology. There's nothing wrong with this lack of knowledge until one starts calling for legal restrictions. My opponent argued that having a pistol should be sufficient for self-defense, while at the same time not realizing most pistols would fall under the provided definition of an "assault weapon" to be banned.

I think we need a more specific definition of "assault weapon" that would not inadvertently or intentionally ban such a large percentage of guns to give any serious consideration to this proposal. The contradictory nature of the opening argument should be resolved. I would also make a friendly suggestion to familiarize oneself with firearm terminology when calling for bans based on specific terms.

Round 2
I didn't want to hog up too much space (not enough characters), but 1994's act perfectly describes exactly and precisely what assault weapons are

I hope that is sufficient for my opponent. As you can see, the generic definition given by wikipedia "semi-automatic firearms chambered for centerfire ammunition with a detachable magazine, a pistol grip and sometimes other features such as a vertical forward grip, flash suppressor or barrel shroud." is shockingly close to the actual law that got passed.

He has not refuted any of my arguments.
"Of the victims of these violent crimes, 1.3 million (29%) stated that they faced an offender with a firearm.*" (
The source used 4.4 million violent crimes for this percentage. However, they cite a total of 43.6 million total crimes. Only about 3% of total crimes involved facing an offender with a firearm.

One study found “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals" ( We can disagree on the numbers, but the fact remains that guns are used to prevent crimes.

"They have only caused shootings and murder everywhere."
Guns are also used defensively to save lives. The Sutherland Springs church shooting was actually stopped by a man with an AR-style "assault rifle."

"Just why would citizens need assault weapons?"
We both agree: self-defense.

Round 3
my opponent has actually supported my argument by cherry picking only one example where an assault weapon was used as self-defense. Wouldn't you admit that pistol is much easier to carry around, hide from the actual shooter, and could still stop them?

Despite the fact that the rate of murder overall is seemingly low, shouldn't we protect as much lives as possible? Look at the amount of mass shootings (, it equates to one person per day. Only one of the shootings listed on the site was a pistol that didn't fit into the assaults' weapons category.

Unless my opponent says assault weapons are absolutely necessary, then he loses the debate. He has not negated the fact that pistols can stop shooters well enough.
Stephen Willeford, who stopped the Sutherland Springs shooting, said in an interview with Steven Crowder, "If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bullet proof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile."

You've admitted self-defense is an important reason to own a gun. You've also shown an ignorance of basic firearm terminology. You haven't even consistently followed what you believe an 'assault weapon' is. What then gives you credibility to legally determine what firearm a person can use in defending themselves based on a meaningless definition? And no, a pistol with ten rounds or less is not always effective, especially against multiple assailants.

We all have a fundamental right to self-defense. The idea of banning assault weapons has been proven ineffective at reducing overall crime. I would kindly ask anyone to educate themselves more on the issue before trying to restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their loved ones.