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Debate: Gun control

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-====Yes==== 
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-'''American gun-control scholars supporting more restrictive gun-control laws:'''  
-*'''Michael A. Bellesiles''' ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Bellesiles Wikipedia article documents his work extensively], professor of history at Emory University, argues that America’s historic gun culture is “an invented tradition.” His book, "Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture", is probably his most famous and most contentious work on this particular field. Bellasiles claims no political agenda, but his book has been adopted by those that argue that there is no substantial historical gun culture in American and that this, subsequently, should not be argued as demanding maintenance through guns-rights advocacy.  
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-'''2008 US Presidential Candidate Stands - All Major Candidates favor significant gun-control measures of some kind:'''  
-*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Giuliani New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani] supports a federal ban on assault-type weapons, background checks on gun purchases, and other restrictions on guns.[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA] He has said that a written exam should be required prior to gun-ownership.[http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9696765e-ec61-11db-a12e-000b5df10621.html] 
-*Mitt Romney, as Massachusetts governor, favors many gun-control measures, having supported the federal ban on assault-type weapons, background checks on gun purchases and other restrictions opposed by many gun-rights advocates.[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA] Yet, he had been cited as courting the gun-lobby in the year leading up to the 2008 Presidential elections.[http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9696765e-ec61-11db-a12e-000b5df10621.html] 
-*Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D. Senator NY), supported proposals for state-issued photo gun licenses, as well as a national registry for handgun sales.[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA] 
-*John Edwards supports the Democrat's main party line on restricting gun-ownership, despite having been known for highlighting his boyhood outings hunting birds, rabbits and deer as well as his respect for gun ownership rights.  
-*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama] supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons and tougher state restrictions on firearms as a state lawmaker in the 1990s.[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA] 
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-*'''Democrats:''' Democrats are generally viewed as pro gun-control, although they have been criticized by many pro gun control groups for limiting the intensity of their gun-control legislative efforts, due to what are viewed to be some significant political, constituent costs in rural America (see "no").  
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-'''Interest and activist groups that call for greater gun-control in the United States:'''  
-*[http://www.bradycampaign.org/about/ Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence] This is by far the most powerful gun-control lobby group; it contributed $1.5m of the $1.7m contributed by the pro gun-control camp in the 15 years between 1989 and 2004.[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/] 
-*[http://www.csgv.org/ Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] - A directory of resources from organizations advocating gun control 
-*[http://www.handguncontrol.org/ Handgun Control, Inc.] - A pro gun-control lobbying group. 
-*[http://www.jointogether.org/ Join Together/Gun Violence] - "a national resource for communities working to reduce substance abuse and gun violence" 
-*[http://www.vpc.org/ Violence Policy Center] - "A pro gun-control lobbying group" 
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-====No==== 
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-'''American Gun-control scholars supporting gun rights:''' 
-*'''David Kopel''', a research director of the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank, is one of the most prominent American pro-gun rights thinkers. 
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- 
-'''2008 Presidential Candidates:''' 
-*'''John McCain (R. Sen. Arizona)''' is generally pro gun-ownership rights. He has a long record of voting for gun rights in the Senate. Although he has changed some of his views toward supporting legislation that would create gun show restrictions he once opposed, he remains strongly supportive of a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA] Following the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre, he said, “This brutal attack was not caused by nor should it lead to restrictions on the Second Amendment, which guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.”[http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/18/us/18pistols.html?ref=politics] 
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-'''The Democratic 110th Congress was viewed unlikely to move decisively to enhance gun-controls in response to the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre because many new democrats in the 110th Congress are from rural areas, considered "conservative democrats" at times, and are unlikely to support increased gun regulations:''' [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/virginia_tech_gun_control2008;_ylt=Akkv3iB9jxFkTmJHhk2042RGR4sA Associated Press 4/16/07] - "with Democrats controlling Congress partly on the strength of new members from rural parts of the country, few lawmakers were expecting the Virginia Tech assault to revive the most far-reaching gun-control proposals of the past, such as national licensing or registration." 
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-'''Republicans are largely anti-gun control:'''  
-*'''The Republican Congress 1994-2006 was largely anti-gun control:''' The Republican-dominated Congress (sometimes known as the "Republican Revolution"[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Revolution]) between 1994 and 2006 was decidedly anti-gun control. Many legislative actions demonstrate this. 
-**Following the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, Congress did not enact any new gun-control legislation, which many mark as a sign of Rebublican opposition to gun-control.[http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002490576.html]  
-**In 2005, Congress passed legislation (PL 109-92) that would prohibit civil liability actions in any state or federal court against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, and action that many view as making it easier to acquire weapons.  
-**A a 1994 federal ban on assault weapons was allowed to expire in 2004 without renewal by the Republican-dominated Congress and the Bush administration.[http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-09-12-weapons-ban_x.htm]  
-**The extent of the Republican party's dedication to the anti or limited gun-control camp may be illustrated by the fact that of the $17 million in PAC and soft money contributions that have been given by gun rights groups between 1989 and 2004 to federal candidates, 85% ($15m) has gone to the Republican Party.  
-***(This $17m is counterposed by on $1.7m being dedicated by pro gun-control groups between 1989 and 2004 [94% going to Democrats], highlighting the extent to which the pro-gun camp is advantaged as far as money and influence in Washington politics).[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/]  
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-'''Libertarians are largely anti-gun control:'''  
-*'''National Platform of the Libertarian Party Jul 2, 2000'''[http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Libertarian_Party_Gun_Control.htm] - "We affirm the right to keep and bear arms and oppose all laws restricting the ownership, manufacture, or sale of firearms. We oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition. We support repeal of all gun control laws and we demand the immediate abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. We favor the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons. We also oppose the banning of inexpensive handguns and semi-automatic weapons."  
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-'''Activist and interest groups opposing gun-controls:''' 
-'''Gun Owners of America''' - they believe that gun bans are the problem, not the solution, and called for the US Congress to repeal a law requiring gun-free school zones following the Virginia Tech 2007 Massacre, on the basis that it might have provided self-defense.[http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002490576.html] They are the biggest lobbying group within the pro gun-right contingent, spending more than $18 million on lobbing between 1997 and 2003.[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/]. "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington."[http://www.gunowners.org/] 
-*'''National Rifle Association:''' The NRA is a very powerful pro gun rights force, and spent nearly $11 million lobbying elected and government officials from 1997 to 2003.[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/] It has, however, supported various gun control legislation such as the Gun Control Act of 1968, the ban on armor-piercing projectiles and the point-of-purchase background checks (NICS). It has been criticized by more hardline groups (shuch as the Gun Owners of America) for such positions. 
-*[http://www.2asisters.org/ The Second Amendment Sisters] 
-*[http://saf.org/default.asp Second Amendment Foundation] 
-*[http://www.jpfo.org/ Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership] 
-*[http://www.pinkpistols.org/index2.html The Pink Pistols] 
-*[http://www.guncite.com/ GunCite] - Second amendment issues, statistics, alternatives to gun control, links 
-*[http://www.ncpa.org/ National Center for Policy Analysis] 
-*[http://www.packing.org/ Packing.org] - A national clearinghouse for proponents of the right to carry a concealed weapon 
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-'''American public support of hand-guns:''' 
-*In 1976, 40 million Americans were claimed to "value their handguns", according to one source.[http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Kates1.html] 
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-'''Famous American Quotes in support of gun-ownership:''' 
-*"They'll get my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers."[http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Kates1.html] 
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===Pro/con organizations=== ===Pro/con organizations===

Revision as of 23:42, 11 June 2008

Should laws be passed to limit gun ownership further?

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Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

Gun laws vary widely from country to country, so this topic focuses upon arguments for laws restricting the right of private individual to possess guns. Particular debates might centre upon different categories of guns (for example automatic weapons, handguns or shotguns), licensing requirements for ownership, the right to carry concealed weapons, or requirements that manufacturers increase the safety features on their weapons. The USA is exceptional in protecting the right to own firearms in the Second Amendment to its Constitution, and gun control has been a major issue in American politics over the last few years, partly due to a series of tragic massacres involving children.


Individual Rights: Does an individual NOT have a "right" to gun ownership?

Yes

  • There is not an unlimited "right to bear arms" in US law There are multiple arguments here.
    • The second amendment was intended by the founding fathers as primarily a collective right (particularly for states) to gather and form malitias, rather than an individual right to bear arms. The primary purpose of this was to ensure the ability to combat heavy handed tyranny and too much centralized power, rather than an issue of some more abstract right of individuals to gun ownership.
    • Societies obviously restrict the ownership of arms, as citizens can't possess bazookas, so the extent of state control is open for debate.


No

  • A government may be justified in adopting lax gun-control laws as a means to national defense Lax gun control laws and the diffusion of weapons in a society, better enable a country to defend itself. In particular, it may allow for a country to mobilize forces in self defense. With guns already distributed within society, rapid mobilization would be adided. Guns could be rallied in an emergency, instead of having to wait for the manufacture and/or distribution of weapons. Gun owners would also already be relatively trained in the handling of their weapons, some even possible having become marksman. Thus, a government should permit private gun ownership as a means to the end of emergency national defense.


Self-defense - Is self-defense a bad reason for gun ownership?

Yes

  • Wielding a gun in self-defense only works if the assailant believes the threat is credible: The argument that owning a gun for the sake of detering would be burglars is just since in these instances there is no will or intent to take human life is specious at best.
  • The legal possession of guns by individual that have no intent to use them would have not deterrent effect.
  • If it is in fact wrong to take a life in order to protect property, it is unclear why it would be just to threaten to take a life for the same purpose.



No

  • A citizen has a "right" to guns as a means to self-defense: Many groups argue that a citizen should have the "right" to defend themselves, and that a gun is frequently the only thing that can provide for such protection. Certainly, all societies have crime, and all citizens are at risk of being the victims of crime. Since governments are inherently incapable of fully protecting their citizens from crime, people have a "right" to protect themselves. Though some governments might do a better job than others in protecting their citizens, individuals themselves should not be deprived the ability to adopt the necessary means to defend themselves.


Crime: Does stringent gun-control decrease violence and crime?

Yes

  • Reducing the prevalence of guns reduces crime Legal boundaries for gun-ownership may not provide sufficient social protections, as many criminals steal legally-owned guns, and commit violent crimes or murder with them. These criminals would have greater difficulty in obtaining such weapons if firearms were generally less prevalent in society. In other words, it is argued that the world would be safer with fewer guns, and laws that lead to fewer guns by restricting the right of gun-ownership.
  • Legal gun owners sometimes turn their gun on others: Legal gun-owners frequently commit murder with their legally-owned gun. This happened at Hungerford and Dunblaine in the U.K.[1] This may indicate that legal gun-ownership is not a sufficient social protection against the lethal potential of guns.
  • Guns make suicide too easy argument: Some groups maintain that there is a correlation between the laxity of a country’s gun laws and its suicide rate – not because gun owners are more depressive, but because the means of quick and effective suicide is easily to hand.
  • Households with guns have a much greater risk of homicide: In homes with guns, a member of the household is almost three times as likely to be the victim of a homicide compared to gun-free homes.[2]



No

  • Because guns used in murders and crime are not usually legally held or registered, efforts to enhance gun-protection through legal means are futile: Some have pointed out that in the vast majority of crimes involving firearms, the gun used is not legally held or registered. It is further noted that many of these illegal weapons are imported secretly from abroad, rather than being stolen from registered owners. Gun-control measures will not affect this major body of weaponry that is illicitly held in societies. This extends to the following section in regards to enforceability, but is relevant here in regards to the consequences of the nonenforceable of gun laws.


Social: Are greater gun control measures important culturally and socially?

Yes



No




Accidents: Would decreasing gun ownership reduce accidental deaths?

Yes

  • Gun owners are at a very high risk of accidental self-inflicted shootings:




No

  • Competent gun-owners should take the proper precautions.
  • Education on safe gun ownership can be improved and risks reduced.



Enforceability: Are gun control laws enforceable?

Yes



No



Economic benefits? Is gun control economically beneficial?

Yes




No




Hand-gun ban: Should hand guns be banned? (See also: Debate:DC handgun ban)

Yes



No



Automatic weapon ban: Should automatic weapons be banned?

Yes




No

When psychology terror amounts in an individual, the physiological response of the body may shut down to prevent the body from experiencing any pain--In this instance, it is pertinent to have, as protection, a machine that works automatically to save the owner and hinder the imminent attack.



Guns as sport: Are gun sports a poor justification for gun-ownership?

Yes

No

  • Guns sports should be protected and justify gun ownership Shooting is sport enjoyed by many law-abiding people, both in gun clubs with purpose-built ranges and as a field sport. These people have the right to continue with their chosen leisure pursuit, on which they have spent large amounts of money – an investment the government would effectively be confiscating if their guns were confiscated.



Concealed-carry: Should it be illegal for citizens to conceal weapons?

Concealed-carry defined: Concealed-carry laws generally offer the privilege to citizens with gun permits to conceal their weapon on their person out in society.
END

Yes

  • Open-carry laws generally deny citizens with gun permits the right to carry conceal their weapon when out in society.



No




Pro/con organizations

Yes


No


Pro/con resources

Yes

No

Motions:

  • This House calls for stricter controls on gun ownership
  • This House believes there is no right to bear arms
  • This House would prise the musket from Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands

See also

External links

Books:


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