Instigator / Con

Should America ban the AR-15


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Contender / Pro

Many people claim the the AR-15 is a dangerous gun and should be banned in order to recuce the amount of mass shootings. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic carbine style rifle. A large amount of the people who support banning the gun get that statement wrong. I am against the ban as I do not see any strong reason to authorise a ban on this firearm.

Round 1
A lot of people in America see the AR-15 as the weapon of choice for mass shooters, and banning the firearm would reduce the amount of mass shootings. Seeing as the AR-15 is as effective as most other firearms, I do not see as to why people would choose to single out the AR-15 and attempt to authorise a ban on it.

Information about the firearm.
  • The AR-15 chambering is a .223 (5.56 x 45mm) which is very common in hunting and target shooting.
  • There is a common misconception that the AR in AR-15 stands for assault rifle. This is incorrect. The AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, which is the company that manufactures the weapon.
  • The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle. Not a fully-automatic as some people believe. Fully-automatic rifles have been banned in America following the federal assault weapons ban of. 1994
What I do not understand is that there are other weapons similar, or more powerful than an AR-15. An example of this would be the Ruger mini 30. That weapon has the same caliber as an AK-47. (7.62 compared to the 5.56 in the AR) So why does no one want to ban the Ruger?

A social experiment by Steven Crowder showed that the people in support of banning the AR-15, usually does not no much about the gun itself. Those in favour support the banning of the gun, yet have absolutely no problem with the actual caliber of the weapon.

The actual gun itself is extremely popular for both hunting, and home defence. The compact, lightweight design means that it is easy to use and is favoured by small game hunting. Store and home owners also use it for self protection in the event of an attack because it is compact, lightweight, and easy to use.

Although people see the AR-15 as a dangerous weapon. At the end of the day, it is just as effective as other firearms available to the public. There is no reason to ban the AR-15.
For many years, AR-15s have been the firearm of choice in many mass shootings in America. Many experts have speculated that this is due to the perception of it being an unparalleled instrument of death from being used in the many mass shootings [1]. And while it may be true that the AR-15s reputation is unjustly deserved quite up to that extent, it is also true that regardless of reputation, it is an effective weapon. It is accurate, reliable, versatile and most importantly, it is freely available. I offer these reasons why they should be banned.

1. AR-15s have been involved in many heinous acts of humanity performed by civilians, namely mass shootings. Of the shootings in America from the last 35 years, at least 13 involved the use of an AR-15 [1]. If humans cannot use tools responsibly, then that tool must be taken away.

2. The benefits and legitimate uses provided by the AR-15 to humanity are not unique to the AR-15. Functionality of this particular class of armament can be replaced by other firearms. And in many cases, it would be more appropriate to do so. For example, just as one does not need a machete to slice open an orange, nor does one need an AR-15 for target shooting or hunting. Instead, one may use a bolt-action rifle. The benefit over an AR-15 being in this case that a bolt-action rifle cannot inflict quite the same amount of injuries when used in mass shootings, in general having limited internal capacity and slower rate of fire [2].
Round 2
“AR-15s have been the firearm of choice in many mass shootings in America.”
What makes you believe that? 11/19 (almost 60%) of mass shootings alone did not use a rifle of any type. It is handguns that take up the majority of homicide incidents. (80%) According to a 2016 FBI investigation, handguns kill roughly 19X more people compared to all rifles combined. The idea that the AR-15 is the firearm of choice is a myth in order to gain support for a ban on the weapon.

“it is an effective weapon. It is accurate, reliable, versatile...”
A firearm is a weapon. The purpose is to kill. Why do you want to ban something because it is more effective at doing its job? Do you want a firearm that doesn’t kill? Yes, it is accurate, reliable, versatile, ect. That is a good thing. Having an inaccurate, unreliable weapon is not. Having something be better compared to others is not a reason to ban it. In fact, it is the opposite.

“The benefits and legitimate uses provided by the AR-15 to humanity are not unique to the AR-15.”
You further explained my point in my first statement. There are many other types of weapons that are similar or more powerful than the AR-15. Why do people not talk about banning them instead? As I said before, the Ruger mini 30 has the same rate of fire and a higher caliber. The reason people don’t talk about banning it is because it looks safe. It looks like a normal hunting rifle. But because the AR-15 looks scary, people want it gone.
My opponent has made two claims in favour of keeping the AR-15.

First, my opponent suggests that the gun is extremely popular for hunting and home/store defence.

In the case of hunting, this argument is easily dismissed. No recreational activity should stand in the way of the limiting of a lethal weapon that is used negatively in the loss of human life. Apart from this, the AR-15 may be trivially be replaced by some other firearm such as a bolt action rifle which is equally as effective in hunting [1].

In the case of home and store defence, my opponent suggests that the AR-15 is popular due to it being compact, lightweight and easy to use. Again, these properties are not limited to the AR-15. Handguns for example obviously achieve the same criteria while on average being less lethal [2]. Moreover my opponent has not actually demonstrated that the AR-15 is commonly used for such purposes. For, while it is obvious that a person keeping an AR-15 may declare that it is used for home defence/store defence, it is decidedly less obvious that the AR-15 is actually used for such purposes in any meaningful manner such that the objectives may not also be accomplished with a different approach or different tool. In light of this clear schism between purpose and use, simply declaring a use case should not stand in the way of the limiting of such a lethal weapon.

Secondly, my opponent suggests that the AR-15 is just as effective as other guns, with some guns being more so. I do not dispute this. However this is not an argument on the merits of keeping the AR-15 in itself, it's an argument that there are other guns just as bad. However just because there are other guns that are just as bad, does not mean that the AR-15 should not be banned. One might even reasonably conclude that this is an argument that they should both be banned.

Round 3
I agree with you in terms of the AR-15 having the same, or very similar properties to other guns. What I am questioning is that if other guns have the same or similar properties, then why is the AR-15 the only gun being used in mass shootings? The answer is because it is not. Handguns are the weapon used. Handguns are used in 80% of all gun related homicides. You claim that handguns are less lethal. What makes a gun less lethal than another one? 

I have another question for you. Let’s say that America does ban the AR-15. How would that prevent further mass shootings? As you have also said, there are other guns available. You said that if the Ruger mini 30 has similar properties, it should be banned too. Now that is two guns banned. Semi auto shotguns. A man walked into a Mosque in New Zealand and killed 49 people using a semi auto shotgun. Ban that too? All those guns can be considered dangerous in the wrong hands. Ban all pistols considering they are responsible for 80% of homicides? Sure, why not.

At what point does the discussion eventually turn to banning every firearm available. I have a secret to tell you. Guns are dangerous. The purpose of guns is to literally kill. Actually, almost everything in your life is dangerous. Will you need a photo ID to buy a kitchen knife because someone can use it to stab people in the streets? You are 4X more likely to be stabbed than to be shot with any type of rifle. Maybe we should be talking about how more people die from knives compared to the scary AR-15. What happens when we ban all guns. There are multiple cases in Australia of someone stealing a vehicle and killing multiple pedestrians. More recently, a man in Melbourne stabbed and killed 3 people. Further grounds we should ban knives?

That is why I disagree with banning the AR-15. Once that is gone, what weapon is next. Maybe the Ruger. Ban that too? Eventually America won’t have anything left except a BB gun. What gun control advocates fail to see is that guns are used for self defence a lot more than it is for homicides, armed robbery, ect. And when I say a lot more, I mean a lot more. I’m talking about almost 90% of all gun related incidents. That’s ~3 million lives saved by guns.

Instead of banning weapons at random, focus on what makes a person choose to do a mass shooting in the first place, then prevent it from happening. A lot of school shooting happen due to bullying. If you prevent bullying, then you prevent school shootings. 80% of all gun related homicides are drug related. Fix the drug problem and there is 80% of all gun homicides gone. It isn’t the gun that is the problem. It is the people behind the trigger.

Thank you for this very fun and interesting debate. Good luck in the voting stage.
First, my opponent has chosen to take issue with my claim that AR-15s have been the firearm of choice in many mass shootings in America.

My previous source indicated that of the shootings in the last 35 years, at least 13 have involved the use of an AR-15. Have mass shootings become so commonplace in American society that at least 13 heinous acts of human violence within 35 years cannot be considered many?

Regardless of how my opponent has attempted to diminish the AR-15s role in mass shootings, this does not change the fact that yes, the AR-15 has been involved in mass shootings and yes, they were effective in those mass shootings. Rarity should not be a factor when determining whether something should be banned or not, only the impact when used.

Consider for example instruments of biological warfare which are and were very rarely applied. These types of weapons were banned due to their horrific nature, but it is also true that guns have killed and maimed far more than they ever will. My opponents logic suggests that instruments of biological warfare should therefore not have been banned which is of course absurd.

An example such as the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest mass shooting event in American history in which AR-15s were used to great effect in combination with bump stocks should be considered no different. It, and the other examples of mass shootings demonstrate the vicious efficiency in which the AR-15 can cut through life. This is no different to the horrors brought by biological agents in resolution, only in application. And hence AR-15s should be banned.

Secondly, my opponent has asserted that the ability to kill is not a negative. Indeed he claims that it is a positive, that guns should be effective at their job and hence is not a reason for banning them, in particular the AR-15.

To this, I say that my opponent has wrongly interpreted my words. I did not argue that AR-15s should be banned because they are efficient and effective at what they do. I merely noted that they possessed those qualities.

Finally my opponent has asserted again that there are many weapons that are more powerful than the AR-15.

Again, I do not disagree with this. But this is just not an argument against banning the AR-15. This is an argument that there are other weapons just as bad. However, my opponent has not argued that either weapon is good and should therefore not be banned. Thus, because the AR-15 has a proven track record of death, the conclusion can only be that both guns must be banned. However for the purposes of this debate topic, just the AR-15 suffices.

A few points of note before the end however. My opponent claims that no one speaks of banning guns other than the AR-15. This is false. Much discussion has been made over various assault weapon bans [1]. This includes not only the AR-15, but others of its class. Finally my opponent claims that people only wish AR-15s to be banned because they look deadly. Apart from this being unsubstantiated, I find there to be a much more reasonable explanation. AR-15s have a proven and consistent track record of murder.