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Debate: Gun control

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 +===Social and cultural effects: Are greater gun control measures important culturally and socially?===
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 +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +
 +====Yes====
 +'''[[Counter-argument that, in the United States, there is actually not a strong historical culture of gun rights that opponents of gun-control argue is necessary to protect through lax gun-control measures]]:''' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Bellesiles Michael A. Bellesiles'] famous and contentious book, "Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture", makes this point through an examination of the development of America's gun culture from the first European settlements until 1877. - "I argue that the gun culture--now so ubiquitous in the United States--has not always been a fixture of the nation's life but grew in response to increased production of firearms under federal supervision in the mid-nineteenth century and a dramatic rise in demand generated by the Civil War. A significant component of this research is the contention that the widely held view that all American men owned firearms and were crack shots needs revision. Starting with the first settlements in North America, every government had to confront the fact that a decided minority of American men owned firearms. In crisis after crisis, upon calling out local militia, governments found it necessary to supply guns to poorly armed and untrained units. As a consequence, from 1776 until 1865 Congress made the promotion of gun production and distribution a national priority." This basic point has been used by the pro-gun control camp to argue that a "fake" gun-use tradition exists in America, and that there is, subsequently, no basis for arguing that it is important to maintain such a gun culture and tradition through lax gun-control policies.
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +
 +====No====
 +'''[[Argument that gun-control has a history of racist or prejudiced applications]]:''' [http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html Clayton E. Cramer, "The Racist Roots of Gun Control", 1993.] - "The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way. Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics 'in their place,' and to quiet the racial fears of whites. This paper is intended to provide a brief summary of this unholy alliance of gun control and racism, and to suggest that gun control laws should be regarded as 'suspect ideas,' analogous to the "suspect classifications" theory of discrimination already part of the American legal system."
 +*[http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=581 "Racist gun control", Geoff Metcalf, 1999.]
 +
 +|-
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===Self-defense - Is self-defense a bad reason for gun ownership?=== ===Self-defense - Is self-defense a bad reason for gun ownership?===
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-===Social and cultural effects: Are greater gun control measures important culturally and socially?=== 
- 
-|- 
-|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|  
- 
-====Yes==== 
-'''[[Counter-argument that, in the United States, there is actually not a strong historical culture of gun rights that opponents of gun-control argue is necessary to protect through lax gun-control measures]]:''' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Bellesiles Michael A. Bellesiles'] famous and contentious book, "Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture", makes this point through an examination of the development of America's gun culture from the first European settlements until 1877. - "I argue that the gun culture--now so ubiquitous in the United States--has not always been a fixture of the nation's life but grew in response to increased production of firearms under federal supervision in the mid-nineteenth century and a dramatic rise in demand generated by the Civil War. A significant component of this research is the contention that the widely held view that all American men owned firearms and were crack shots needs revision. Starting with the first settlements in North America, every government had to confront the fact that a decided minority of American men owned firearms. In crisis after crisis, upon calling out local militia, governments found it necessary to supply guns to poorly armed and untrained units. As a consequence, from 1776 until 1865 Congress made the promotion of gun production and distribution a national priority." This basic point has been used by the pro-gun control camp to argue that a "fake" gun-use tradition exists in America, and that there is, subsequently, no basis for arguing that it is important to maintain such a gun culture and tradition through lax gun-control policies. 
-|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"| 
- 
-====No====  
-'''[[Argument that gun-control has a history of racist or prejudiced applications]]:''' [http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html Clayton E. Cramer, "The Racist Roots of Gun Control", 1993.] - "The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way. Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics 'in their place,' and to quiet the racial fears of whites. This paper is intended to provide a brief summary of this unholy alliance of gun control and racism, and to suggest that gun control laws should be regarded as 'suspect ideas,' analogous to the "suspect classifications" theory of discrimination already part of the American legal system."  
-*[http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=581 "Racist gun control", Geoff Metcalf, 1999.] 
- 
-|- 
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===Enforceability and fairness: Are gun control laws enforceable, and fairly among different social groups?=== ===Enforceability and fairness: Are gun control laws enforceable, and fairly among different social groups?===

Revision as of 08:32, 2 October 2007

Should laws be passed to limit gun ownership further?

This article is based on a Debatabase entry written by Alastair Endersby. Because this document can be modified by any registered user of this site, its contents should be cited with care.

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

Gun-control laws would better protect the "right to life" since they may reduce the numbers of gun fatalities in society: The "right to life" in this case is weighed against the putative "right to bear arms," a right promulgated in the Second Amendment to the United States Constiution. Lives are lost when guns are prevalent in society. For this reason, strong laws should restrict and control access to guns.

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

Argument:A "right" to unfettered gun-ownership exists as a safeguard for citizens against domestic tyranny: Gun ownership allows citizens to check governmental and police abuses. This argument rests on a suspicion that police will act irresponsibility and brutally if citizens' gun ownership is restricted, and police are given a monopoly over armed force. Without such a dominating monopoly, police may be disinclined to abuse the law and individual liberties.

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.

Murder and crime rates: Do stringent gun-control measures decrease the rate of homicide and accidental deaths by guns?

Yes

Argument:Reducing the prevalence of guns reduces criminal access to guns: 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.


Argument that a legally registered gun may exist in a household where persons that are not the registered owners of the gun have access to the gun, making the legal registration insufficient in protecting society, and giving cause to fire-arm abolition: Typically, gun owners can keep a gun in their home where and how they like. There may not be a requirement to keep it locked in a vault. This means that residents of that home that are not the registered owners of the gun can gain access to it, which would render the legal ownership and registration of that gun irrelevant. All kinds of individuals that might not be eligible for gun-ownership, might have access to these guns, and be capable of using them in violent crimes. The important point is that the "registration" and "ownership" of the gun does not prevent access to the gun, and therefore may prove irrelevant in regards to the supposed social protections that such legal ownership is claimed to provide by many gun-rights activists.

Assertion that even legal gun-owners frequently go mad and decide to use their gun to commit murder: 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.

Argument that while gun-control laws may leave unprotected some groups who are subject to rare instances of discriminatory selective nonenforcement by the police, this loss of protection would be offset by the generally lower availability of weapons to violence-prone groups that threaten such discriminated groups: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 (responding to Prof. Kates article) - "Prof. Kates's central point is, the fear that gun control laws would be selectively enforced. This would supposedly enable individuals or groups not objectionable to law enforcement organizations to purchase and use firearms against dissenters [law abiding individuals that are unfairly discriminated against by law enforcement officials], while the dissenters would be unable to obtain weapons for their own defense. There are several major flaws in this line of reasoning. The most obvious is that if stringent gun control laws were enforced, there would be a general decline in the availability of firearms to violence-prone individuals and groups. While one might concede that isolated instances of selective nonenforcement [against 'dissenters'] are possible, there would certainly be far more instances in which violence-prone people would be denied access to firearms. To the extent that this would occur, dissenters and other unpopular targets of such individuals would enjoy greater protection from harassment through the operation of stringent gun control laws. In the absence of any firearms controls (a situation apparently considered desirable by [Page 47] Prof. Kates), the Ku Klux Klan and other such groups would obtain and, of greater importance, actually would use guns to a far greater extent than the normally nonviolent dissenters whom Prof. Kates would protect."

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.

Relevant claims that crimes and deaths could have been prevented by the unavailability of handguns:

  • Atlanta Public Safety Commissioner A. Reginald Eaves told a congressional committee in 1976 that "three out of four deaths [over the course of that year] could have been prevented, were a handgun not available."[2]
  • Boston Police Commissioner Robert diGrazia said in 1976 that "the unavailability of handguns would lead to the noncommission of many crimes."[3]

Argument that examples of effective self-defense with a gun are dramatically outweighed by accidental and/or deliberate homicides and assaults in which a handgun was used against the owner of the weapon, his family, or his friends: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 - "Handguns Are Not Viable Tools For Self-Defense: The alleged value of handguns as tools for self-defense is a major underpinning of Mr. Kates's argument. In support of this position he cites a number of isolated examples in which handguns were effective in defense against attacks. These graphic examples of individual instances of self-defense are hardly persuasive. For each such example, there are literally thousands of accidental and deliberate homicides and assaults in which a handgun was used against the owner of the rearm, his family, or his friends. No real point is proved by compiling long lists of examples on either side of the self-defense question. Only overall statistics can provide an accurate estimate of the real value of handguns as weapons of self-defense--and these statistics clearly demonstrate the bankruptcy of the self-defense argument."

  • ..."An FBI report, Crime It) the United States, 1973, reveals that a firearm kept in the home for self-defense is six times more likely to be used in a deliberate or accidental homicide involving a relative or a friend than against a burglar or unlawful intruder."

Argument that the opportunity to use a gun in self-defense is so rare, that the self-defense purpose of it is minute: "A National Crime Panel Survey in 1973 entitled 'An Analysis of Victimization Survey Results from the Eight Impact Cities' indicates that only 3.5% of those owning guns even had the opportunity to use their firearms when they were assaulted or robbed either at home or on the street. This study was based on data in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Newark, Portland, and St. Louis."[4] The argument goes that if a gun is so rarely used in self-defense in instances where it would seem to have been appropriate, than the actual value of a gun for self-defensive purposes could be seen as small.

Argument that gun ownership may actually induce robbers to come into a home when the gun-owner is not home, in order to steal the gun: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 - "It would seem that the presence of a gun in the home, if this is known to a prospective burglar, would probably constitute an inducement, rather than a deterrent, to the commission of a crime. A gun in an empty house is a lure. A 1973 study by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of New York City estimates that half-a-million handguns were stolen during burglaries in the previous year." Indeed, guns have a monetary value that can serve as an inducement to robbers. More importantly, though, guns have a value to criminal practices, which serves as an inducement for criminals to invade a property in attempt to acquire this valuable tool for their trade, particularly if their criminal status makes it impossible for them to acquire such weapons by legal means.

Argument that shopkeepers would be safer without guns, and without drawing guns in "self-defense":

  • Patrick V. Murphy, former president of the Police Foundation and former police commissioner of New York City, stated in the 70s: "I've always recommended to shopkeepers that they not have guns because, in my experience, what happens more often than not, is that violence begets violence. When we look at the total picture, I think that shopkeepers are killed more often or injured more often when they draw a gun...I think you're safer as a small store owner not to have a gun."[6]

[[Counter-argument that those living in areas susceptible to crime (and where it might be supposed that a self-protective purpose for gun-ownership would be most prevalent) actually support greater gun-controls, presumably because they don't agree with the "self-protection" argument posed by many gun activist]]: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 - "In order to buttress his self-defense argument, Prof. Kates suggests that those most likely to be victimized by criminal assaults, the poor people living in the central cities, are opposed to gun control legislation, particularly those proposals which would deprive them of their right to purchase handguns for self-defense. The rich, who have escaped the crime-infested central cities and have less need for handguns, Prof. Kates asserts, are the prime advocates of gun control. This position is directly contradicted by several public opinion polls which demonstrate that support for stringent gun control laws is highest in the high-crime areas of the central cities. For example, a Gallup Poll -survey released in June 1975 indicates that 66% of the American people living in cities with populations over one million favor banning handguns. Clearly, those most familiar with the problem of our nation's soaring crime rate, its most frequent victims, are the strongest advocates of gun control. Those who might be expected to adopt Prof. Kates's self-defense argument most fervently in fact reject it most overwhelmingly."


No

"Guns don’t kill people – people kill people" The argument here is that sociological factors are more important than the availability of weapons in determining gun violence and deaths in societies.

Citizen gun ownership acts as a deterrent against criminals: If criminal fears that their potential victims possess guns and can harm or kill them, they will be less likely to commit crimes and take the risks.

Criminals will find a way to commit crimes and violence with or without guns Guns are not the only means of violence and crime. Determined criminals will find a way to do what they intend. Depriving guns to criminals will not have an effect on crime and violence.

Argument:Low homicide and crime rates are not a direct cause of low gun ownership

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 and cultural effects: Are greater gun control measures important culturally and socially?

Yes

Counter-argument that, in the United States, there is actually not a strong historical culture of gun rights that opponents of gun-control argue is necessary to protect through lax gun-control measures: Michael A. Bellesiles' famous and contentious book, "Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture", makes this point through an examination of the development of America's gun culture from the first European settlements until 1877. - "I argue that the gun culture--now so ubiquitous in the United States--has not always been a fixture of the nation's life but grew in response to increased production of firearms under federal supervision in the mid-nineteenth century and a dramatic rise in demand generated by the Civil War. A significant component of this research is the contention that the widely held view that all American men owned firearms and were crack shots needs revision. Starting with the first settlements in North America, every government had to confront the fact that a decided minority of American men owned firearms. In crisis after crisis, upon calling out local militia, governments found it necessary to supply guns to poorly armed and untrained units. As a consequence, from 1776 until 1865 Congress made the promotion of gun production and distribution a national priority." This basic point has been used by the pro-gun control camp to argue that a "fake" gun-use tradition exists in America, and that there is, subsequently, no basis for arguing that it is important to maintain such a gun culture and tradition through lax gun-control policies.

No

Argument that gun-control has a history of racist or prejudiced applications: Clayton E. Cramer, "The Racist Roots of Gun Control", 1993. - "The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws -- and not in any subtle way. Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics 'in their place,' and to quiet the racial fears of whites. This paper is intended to provide a brief summary of this unholy alliance of gun control and racism, and to suggest that gun control laws should be regarded as 'suspect ideas,' analogous to the "suspect classifications" theory of discrimination already part of the American legal system."

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

Yes

The protection of property against a burglar is not something that should justify the killing of a burglar, and gun-ownership toward this end: No property is worth the taking of a human life, even if it is the life of a burglar. This argument is based on the assignment of a very high value to life. It might even be argued that the right to life is absolute, though this is a much harder claim to support. Nevertheless, the protetion of private property is not a sufficient grounds to establish an individual right to bear arms. Indeed, many countries and provinces adopt this interpretation, making it illegal for a gun-owner to kill a burglar, unless that burglar is threatening the gun-owner's life.[SOURCE NEEDED] The main intention of this argument is to diminish the strength of a justification for owning a gun: the protection of property.

Wielding a gun in self defense works only if the the person threatened presents a credible threat to use the gun. The claim that owning a gun can for the sake of scaring away would be burglers is just since in thse instances there is no will or intent to take human life in order to protect propert is specious since one a credible threat that a gun will be used can deter a criminal. If only those with no intent of using a gun could legally possess them, these guns would have little or no deterrent effect. Further, 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

Argument: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.


Enforceability and fairness: Are gun control laws enforceable, and fairly among different social groups?

Yes

Counter-argument that past examples of police prejudice in the enforcement of the law are rare, can be countered by impartial laws, and should not be a justification for lax gun-control laws: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 (responding to Prof. Kates article) - "For each example of attacks on unarmed minorities by armed people against whom the police did not enforce anti-gun laws (and most of these instances cited by Prof. Kates occurred in foreign countries), one could list hundreds of deaths caused by the unlimited availability of handguns. The solution to the problem of occasional, isolated non-enforcement of the law is not to advocate, as Prof. Kates apparently does, a society in which everyone goes armed in the interest of self-defense, but rather to embark on the far less dangerous and far more sensible course of drafting an impartial and fair law and then seeing to it that the law is enforced with strict objectivity."

Counter-argument that the enforceability of limited gun-controls will be much more realistic than the failed enforcement of an absolute prohibition of alcohol consumption (that the analogy is debunk): Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 (responding to Prof. Kates article) - "While one can argue that an analogy does exist between the Volstead Act and a ban against handguns, prohibition was absolute in the case of alcoholic beverages, while in the case of firearms, such a ban would be partial; individuals who have legitimate sporting or self-defense interests will be able to purchase long guns. Moreover, the human proclivity to consume alcoholic beverages is surely more powerful than the desire to own handguns (particularly when long guns are available.) It seems highly unrealistic to expect the same sort of difficulty in enforcing a law which, unlike prohibition in the 1920s, does not outlaw absolutely a very powerful human desire. That enforcement would not be completely effective is irrefutable; this cannot, however, serve as the rationale for abandoning the law. Many existing laws, such as those outlawing larceny or the possession of heroin, are difficult to enforce, but no one suggests that for this reason they be rescinded."

No

Argument that comprehensive licensing and registration of all guns would be infeasible administratively: James B. Jacobs contends in his book, "Can Gun Control Work?" (2004) - a comprehensive study of the implementation mechanics of various gun-control measures - that further efforts to extend gun control, through such measures as comprehensive licensing of all gun owners and registration of all guns, would pose massive and likely infeasible administrative burdens.

Argument that liquor and marijuana prohibition efforts provide good case-studies against any effort to ban or restrict guns: Some argue that the failures of prohibition efforts related to liquor and marijuana indicates the extent to which enforceability of certain laws is difficult.

  • It is also argued that millions of people would feel "alienated by what they deem a tyrannical law, and that those who believe they can get away with it will disobey the law."[7]

Argument that the failure of the British police to crack-down on arms-trafficking is an example of the enforceability of gun-restriction laws: Don B. Kates, Jr., "Why a Civil Libertarian Opposes Gun Control", 1976 - "British police, unhampered by the Fourth Amendment, have nevertheless been unable to stem illegal arms traffic-even with the special search and other powers which successive gun prohibition bills have given them. The British army has been unable to enforce gun laws in Northern Ireland, even with mass street searches and random raids in homes."


Economic benefits? Is gun control economically beneficial?

Yes

Argument that lax gun control laws are economically costly: The Coalition for Gun Control claims that, "in Canada, the costs of firearms death and injury (including murder, suicide and unintentional injuries) alone have been estimated at 6 billion dollars per year. In the US the number of deaths and attendant costs are much higher. In addition to the costs measured in terms of the economic value of lost lives, violence in the US diverts health, policing and social resources from other problems." Of course, this argument is predicated on the assumption that more stringent gun control laws would decrease violence and deaths by guns, which is a highly debated premise.

No

Hand-gun ban: Should hand guns be banned? Should it be illegal for citizens to carry hand-guns "on the street" and out in society?

Yes

Argument that hand-guns have a propensity for "illegitimate use", particularly stemming from their capacity to be concealed, and that they should thus be illegalized: Some groups argue that hand guns have characteristics that make them likely to be used for "illegitimate" purposes. "Legitimate" purposes are considered by some to be shooting, hunting, and self-defense. While hand-guns can be used for these purposes, some maintain that "long guns" can serve these purposes better or just as well. The concern regarding hand guns surrounds the characteristic that they can be easily concealed. The problem here is the ease with which a hand-gun can be concealed. Concealment of a hand-gun is argued to serve non of the above "legitimate" purposes of sporting or self defense. In regards to self-defense, there does not appear to be a legitimate reason why a person would want to conceal their weapon and intent to defend themselves. If the reason for owning a weapon is self-defense, why not make that fact clear by exposing the possession of a gun publicly, instead of concealing it? This is the reason why some laws exist that make it illegal to conceal a hand-gun or certain other weapons. Yet, opponents hand-gun ownership argue that it is impossible to enforce a concealment law, mainly because the very nature of a weapon being concealed makes it virtually impossible for police to detect. As a result of the difficulty of enforcing such concealment laws, some argue that hand-guns should be made illegal all together. This is then further supported by a number of assertions regarding alternatives to hand-guns for "legitimate" purposes. It is argued that long guns, which can't be easily concealed by nature, have an equal sporting as well as self-protective capacity. Therefore, because alternatives are maintained to exist for all the "legitimate" purposes of gun-ownership, opponents of hand-gunds argue that hand-gun ownership should be banned all-together.[8]

Counter-argument to concerns regarding strains that a hand-gun ban might place on "search and seizures" laws that restrain law-enforcement figures: Robert F. Drinan, Former Democratic US Congressman from Mass. and member of the House judiciary Committee, "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil", 1976 (responding to Prof. Kates article) - "[An] argument offered by Prof. Kates is that the enforcement of a prohibition on the possession of handguns would produce major additional strains on the Fourth Amendment (American Constitution) privilege against unreasonable searches and seizures. Given the enormous number of items currently prohibited by law, it seems highly unlikely that the addition to the list of one more illegal commodity would lead to a significant increase in the incidence of police searches. Gun control advocates do not envision or support massive police intrusions into private homes in search of handguns; the constitutional requirement of a specific warrant obtained as a result of corroborating evidence and signed by an impartial magistrate would remain in force to preclude unreasonable searches."

No

Argument that hand-guns can be carried on one's person, and thus have a unique and valuable protective capacity: Some argue that hand-guns are unique in the way that a person can carry them around on their person. It is noted that many violent exchanges occur in the world in spontaneous instances "on the street", in which the immediate access to a weapon in self-defense is valuable. Rifles and shot-guns cannot be easily carried on a person, and are thus considered to be less adequate for daily self-defensive purposes than a hand-gun. It is argued that moments where self-defense is required are no reserved solely to instances in which a person is in their home, and has access to a long-gun, or where a person is near their car (if they have a car) where their long-gun may be stored. A hand-gun, conversely, can be wielded for self protective purposes outside of these moments, and is thus maintained as having more inherent self-protective capacity.

  • This argument is extended out to social groups where there is a more grave need to have a hand-gun on one's person for self-protective purposes. Ghettos are a commonly-cited example of an environment in which violence "on the street" is common, and where the role of a hand gun in personal protection may have a particularly high value that is not provided by less mobile long-guns.[9]

Automatic weapon ban: Should automatic weapons be banned?

Yes

Argument that machine guns have an overly destructive capacity suited for illegitimate use: Various sources argue that a gun needs to have a particular legitimate, and socially accepted purpose in order for its purchase and ownership to be justified. Rifles and shotguns are frequently cited as having a legitimate sporting purpose. Some argue, however, that machine guns diverge from these legitimate ends, particularly because they have a destructive capacity that is well suited for criminal assaults. As such, it is argued that they should be banned. The same is often argued for hand-guns.[10]

No

Open-carry versus Concealed-carry: Should it be illegal for citizens to conceal weapons (generally viewed as a less restrictive practise)? Would open-carry be a better approach (generally considered a more restrictive legal measure)?

Yes

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

Argument that concealed carry laws entail a broader deterrent effect against criminal acts: This argument rests on the premise that criminals, without the knowledge of who possesses or does not possess a gun in a concealed-carry country or state, will be generally uncertain and fearful of the immediate repurcussions of their criminal acts. Criminals must consider that any adult they encounter presents a risk (to the criminal) of armed self-defense. This is argued to have a significant deterrent effect on criminals' willingness to commit crime in the first place (particularly property crime), or it may cause a criminal to opt to move to a state or country with more stringent laws, possibly where open-carry laws exist, and where the criminal can better calculate the risks accompanying their criminality.[11]

No

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.


Guns as sport: Is it valueless to uphold lax gun-control laws for the sake of protecting gun-sports such as "shooting" and "hunting"? Are these sports without value?

Yes

Contention that shooting as a sport is socially desensitizing and damaging: Shooting as a sport has the potential to desensitize people to the lethal nature of all firearms, creating a gun culture that glamorizes and legitimizes unnecessary gun ownership.

Assertion that protecting firearms for sporting purposes is an interest of only a small minority, and that it is subsequently unimportant:

No

Argument that shooting is a leisurely activity that should be protected, and that gun-ownership restrictions would impede on: Shooting is a major 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.

Economic benefits of field sports: Field sports bring money into poor rural economies and provide a motivation for landowners to value environmental protection.


References:

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

This debate in legislation, policy, and the real world:

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