Debate:Do Americans have a right to own firearms?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Debate.png This is a Debate page.
Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by signed users.


Do Americans have a right to own firearms?— Unsigned, by: HeartOfGold / talk / contribs

Initial negotiations[edit]

From the way the question is framed I'd guess it refers to small arms. But below what caliber - and why? And humans - presumably over - what - 15? So I also think the question needs to be sharpened up. I also feel the proposer needs to refine the question - not the respondents.--Bob_M (talk) 02:01, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
I made this debate to appease others who wanted to debate. If you don't want to debate, fine...do some real research on the second amendment then. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 21:04, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
If you want a moral debate the question should be: "Should adults have the right to own lethal weapons?" (Where lethal weapons are defined as "instruments whose sole or main purpose is to kill or injure people".)--Bob_M (talk) 04:07, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

Yes[edit]

HeartOfGold's shot[edit]

Yes. And the Bill of rights recognizes this right. However, like most of the "rights" in the Bill of Rights, the right to self defense exists whether or not a government recogizes it. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 21:22, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

MountainTiger's qualification[edit]

Obviously yes, but the Second Amendment does not necessarily disallow regulation entirely.--MountainTiger 22:02, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

Obviously, the Supreme Court and Congress agree. Also, the practical issue of regulation gets thorny. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 22:04, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

I do believe in the right to own firearms, even though I own none. However, I believe that the right also confers upon states the ability to make regulations as they feel necessary. (One of the reasons I supported Howard Dean was because of his common sense view on this--let each state and locality make it's own rules.) Researcher 03:30, 22 December 2007 (EST)

Some IP & Human's perspective[edit]

Yes, but only weapons from the era it was written in. People shouldn't have the right to a sub machine gun just because some piece of paper written in an era of 5-minute-reload-time-guns says they should have 'arms'--142.68.54.241 18:52, 24 December 2007 (EST)

I agree, the right own and carry muzzleloaders and flintlocks is clearly enshrined. What about cannon, though? I guess they aren't very easy to move around, or even aim, of course. humanUser talk:Human 19:03, 24 December 2007 (EST)
By implication then are you saying freedom of the press only applies to "press" of the era? Clearly the right to a free press extends on into modern forms such as modern photo lithographic presses, radio, television, and the internet and not just the old movable type presses of the era. Characterizing the constitution as "some piece of paper" is your way of picking and choosing which rights you want enforced. The point of having a constitution is to prevent selective ignorance of rights especially by those in power. And if you read it correctly the right to keep and bear arms was not a right to hunt or simply a right to individual self defense. It was the right of the general population to overthrow the government should it devolve into another tyranny as well as the right of the population to be prepared to surpress an insurrection, repel foreign invaders, and individually enforce the law. On that basis it should be the right to own modern state-of-the-arts weapons on par with those used by the military and available to criminals.
Now you may argue that this is not proper and the constitution should be revised but the interpretation of the intent and meaning of the second amendment can't be twisted to exclude any innovation in arms since its writing. Shouldn't I be constrained from bashing you in the head with a baseball bat because "some moldy old piece of paper says it's illegal"? Shouldn't an evangelical christian majority be constrained from forcing you to join the "New Life In Heyzues Church" because "some antique piece of parchment" inhibits president Billy Bob Preacher Man and his holy roller congress from enforcing such a law? What will you do when the "Moral Majority" comes knocking on your door insisting you pay your church tithe and enroll your children in the religious indoctrination centers? Of course it won't happen here... but principally because too many people believe in that moldy old piece of paper and would be literally up in arms before it came to that. Pray they have sufficiently advanced arms to remain a threat to good meaning would be theocrats or worse.Jambaugh (talk) 17:25, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
You are arguing against a drive-by poster. Whose drive-by was almost three years ago. SIWOTI syndrome, or common lack of attention? --ZooGuard (talk) 17:33, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Of course[edit]

Otherways, how's them supposed to kill people? --127.0.0.1 12:44, 10 January 2008 (EST)

The old fashioned way, you BURN them! CЯacke® 15:34, 10 January 2008 (EST)
Wait, u dont use FIREarms fur BURNzing? Oh.. --256.384.444.999 08:04, 11 January 2008 (EST)
The idea of political revolution is what comes to mind. I hate hunting; I loathe street violence. I am not a big fan of guns, however with a gun comes power. This power cannot be concentrated in one place without it being abused. — Unsigned, by: 128.208.37.113 / talk / contribs

The 2nd was made in a time period when a passable millitia could take on a professional army with knowledge and tactics. even if the populace of the us wanted to rebel it couldn't win. any attempts laking military backing would end with a predator drone delivered thermobaric missile firmly between the cheeks. the only other reason to bear arms is for hunting or fun against paper targets. on the last basis banning any weapon makes as much sense as banning educational video games for not having a point. further more only guns with wood furniture are acceptable, because of this the fn scar and magpul masada are abberations worthy only of trash bins. Gwyllgi (talk) 13:27, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but "Rights" don't have to be unlimited[edit]

Hey, even free speech has its limits, as in rules against slander and the classic "You can't falsely yell 'fire' in a crowded theater" principle. It's not taking away anyone's rights to own guns to:

  1. Require that every gun be registered and that registrations be kept current, as with cars
  2. Place partial liability on the owner of a gun for it's improper use by others (friends/kids/crooks), unless the gun was reported as stolen/missing first.
  3. Require that any gun owner pass a safety test and be licensed, as with cars
  4. Require that all ammunition sold be tagged in a way to make their distribution traceable
  5. Limit the types of guns that individuals can own. If cars have to be "street-legal", then so can guns, by banning automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, silencers, etc.
  6. Regulate where & how they are allowed to be carried at the state level - if my state wants to ban concealed carry and yours doesn't, or my city wants to allow rifles but ban handguns, have a party.

Outside of that, it seems like there's a lot of latitude for expressing one's love of guns (sadly).--SpinyNorman 21:52, 24 April 2008 (EDT)

Agreed. -The Almighty Tuna 08:35, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Capercorn's spin on things[edit]

As a gun owner my self, I must say that most forms of firearms should be legal for persons capable of using brains. But if you screw up, as in, shoot somebody, commit a fealony, or are declared mentally insane, you shouldn't have a firearm. In addition, some firearms who's sale should be restricted are: Fully Automatic weapons (not semi-auto or handguns). Explosive ammunition. These should be banned from normal folks (except in instances where one has a warrant from the Government to carry such things, or those with BATFE permits allowing) I am a hunter, among other things, but if your out in the boonies, I can tell you this, bears hurt and bears need quite a bit of umph to take down. For this reason, Pilots in Alaska are required to carry .50 caliber handguns while flying, for the express purpose of taking down polar bears if forced to make an emergency landing. For those who don't know, Polar Bears are Homo sapiens's only natural predator. As another interesting note, those with concealed-carry weapons permits from various states are one of the fewest crime committing demographics in the country. People who legally procure firearms rarely use them for malevolent, illegal purposes. Capercorn 22:05, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

  • Hagagaga pretty much agrees and fixed a few typos.

Hagagaga's view[edit]

I believe in the right to privacy, as the Supreme Court upheld in Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas (two cases you never expect to see used in a gun debate). If your possession or carrying of a firearm does not lead to you shooting anybody or anybody's property without permission, it's nobody else's business. I'm fine with violent felons losing their rights in most cases, but in general, gun laws don't make sense to me.

I would like to point out that quite a few of the gun control talking points are based on dishonesty and false premises, along with Orwellian manipulation of language:

  • The term "assault rifle" NEVER includes the semi-automatic utility rifles that are popular in the United States for purposes such as hunting small game/varmints, target shooting, or home defense, and make up a disproportionately small number of the firearms used in violent crimes. Assault rifles are selective-fire (able to be fired in both semi-automatic and either fully-automatic or burst fire) weapons that fire a low-power rifle round, while these weapons are only semi-automatic, meaning that a single bullet comes out each time you pull the trigger (except in the case of malfunctions).
  • Large-capacity magazines, such as the one that Loughner used in the 2011 Arizona shooting, are far from a problem. The fact that they are incredibly unreliable probably saved a few lives that day, as it would have taken far less time for him to change to a second standard-capacity magazine than it would for him to clear the jam and then continue shooting, and he was subdued while attempting to do so. Also, the condemning all magazines with capacity of greater than ten rounds as "assault clips" is ridiculous: most popular pistol rounds have around 15 rounds as standard capacity and for low-power rifles (also demonized as "assault rifles"), standard capacity is generally 20-30 rounds; even some high-power rifles (e.g. semi-automatic hunting rifles such as the Springfield M1A, FN FAL, and HK G3) have twenty-round magazines as standard. The temporary ban on production of such magazines actually led to the newer, castrated magazines being more dangerous and prone to complications with the firearm's operation.
  • "Sniper rifles" are occasionally seen in such debates. The only difference between a sniper rifle and a hunting rifle is that sniper rifles are used by military and police. The main sniper rifle of the US military for the past couple decades, the M24, was the Remington 700 hunting rifle with almost entirely standard features. The .50BMG caliber that California made illegal on such idiotic premises isn't even a sniper caliber, it's an anti-materiel caliber (for going through car engines and, if in civilian hands, bears and larger game). Nobody would ever rob a liquor store with a four-foot-long rifle that the cashier can just push out of the way.
  • Large-caliber handguns, such as the .44 magnum and anything larger, are not designed to go through police body armor and not popular at all among criminals, contrary to what the Violence Policy Center has said. They are designed for hunting and for hikers who are going through areas that have bears. A criminal with one of these has a death wish, as most shots miss in a high-stress situation such as a police shootout, and these weapons have recoil that makes it impossible to have a high rate-of-fire and makes it likely to injure the wrists of somebody trying to do so (or any unprepared user).
  • "Cop-killer bullets" that are fairly frequently demonized are not able to pierce police armor any more than regular bullets. The only effect of the Teflon coating is that there is less wear on the barrel. This is necessary for armor-piercing bullets, but such ammunition is illegal for civilians to acquire, and so any Teflon-coated round that you can get at a gun store has no more penetrative power than an uncoated round.
  • The "gun show loophole" doesn't exist. In order to operate a firearms business that has an actual building, one must have a Federal Firearms License. FFL-holders are required to have background checks, and only FFL holders have that ability. 95% of all sales at gun shows are by FFL holders, and the law allowing non-FFL holders to transfer without a background check is the law that protects a man's right to do things like give a rifle he's had for decades to his grandson, among other things.-Hagagaga

No[edit]

.."endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
The Constitution makes no such similar claim.--PalMD-Goatspeed! 21:52, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
I am confused. The Declaration of Independance and the Constitution are two different documents, but I do not understand how their difference led you to your "no" stance. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 21:58, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
"the right to self defense exists whether or not a government recogizes it"..a natural law argument, made in the Declaration, but explicitly left out of the Constitution in favor of a more detailed document.--PalMD-Goatspeed! 22:03, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
I don't really understand your point. The DOI declared independance, and also provided a rational basis for this independance. The Constitution defined the government and enumerated the power of that government. Later, a Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, which was a hot button topic, with some arguing that it was completely unnecessary in light of the DOI, and enumerated powers. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 22:07, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
Given that the BOR was ratified, and is a major part of modern american law, why did the framers, who thought out every word very carefully, mention a well-regulated militia??--PalMD-Goatspeed! 22:10, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
Oh, I see. It was a rational basis. The wording was debated from what I remember from my studies. In any vent, the militia is not the right--keeping and bearing arms is. The militia was "a" or "the" rational basis of the right, but not the right. And, if your view is that it we don't need militias anymore (I think we do, especially along the Mexican border), then amend the constitution. It's easy. It's been done. And in at least one case, undone. HeartGoldDeny you're a communist 22:18, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

The Bill of Rights refers to the arms of that time and age, and does not apply to .50 caliber 3-mile range arms. What possible purpose could they serve? Lyra § talk

True. I think the second amendment enshrines the right of all rural farmers to own and have at the ready muzzle-loaded rifles and reasonably accurate (a three feet) flintlock pistols. Obviously. humanUser talk:Human 00:55, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

Yes and no[edit]

First, I must say this:

Follow the Constitution? Pshaw. Such a thing is eligible to change anyways. It's not logical to answer the question brought forth by pointing to the Constitution as if it were an answer when we're supposed to be debating the rationale of the question and the rationale of the right granted by the 2nd Amendment. I think we have to look at this from a standpoint that excludes the Constitution to do so. The debate's wording calls for the status quo, but does not call for us to look at the Constitution per se. It says, "Do Americans have a right", which leads me to believe it asks us for our moral standpoint on the issue, as opposed to (if it had read): "Do Americans have the right", which the answer would be yes, because the Constitution says we do and leaves us with less to debate about.

There is no whole "yes" or "no" answer. I think it's circumstantial really.

I've personally never liked firearms, perhaps from a moral standpoint; I don't believe the best response to violence is violence, though I'm not a pacifist. I don't think that firearms themselves are to blame for crime, but do they enable violent criminal activities? Sure. Are firearms also used for recreational purposes which I am subjectively against? Yes. But I think cost-benefit analysis is what we have to look at here. If Americans don't have a right to own firearms, what is lost? There is no trade-off of liberty for safety here, because an effective law enforcement and a strong military would still be provided and there is no solid evidence to support the claim that the ownership of a gun makes an individual more safe. Additionally, guns are not the only means by which individuals protect themselves, so I ask you, do you see a trade-off between liberty and safety? I do not.

But what's gained? As I said before, the evidence is arguable. I'm quite happy with the status quo. I think that every right is conditional, whether it be the freedom of speech or the right to bare arms. I support strong gun control. --e|m|c [TALK] 20:14, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Well, the US is never gonna get "gun-free" - ther are too many for that solution. Recreational use? Under controlled circumstances? All good and well. Joe Jackass out hunting who shoots a woman in her backyard because "he thought she was deer"? (this actually happened). At the very least, Joe Jackass should not ever be allowed to own a firearm again (PS, he was acquitted, by a jury of... his cousins?). I'm fine with "people" being allowed to arm themselves. But if they ever, ever, ever screw up, I call for the blocked in cell - no door. And I include Dick Cheney among that number. OK if you handle it, cool. Hunt, target practice, all cool. You "screw up" and shoot something (a person?) that is not a target? Bye bye gun rights. humanUser talk:Human 21:14, 16 February 2008 (EST)

People should and do have the right to own guns, however, like any rights, it is not absolute, nor should it be. I don't think people should be able to buy guns they way they buy toilet paper, and I think most people agree with this general statement (for those who don't, would you really want a Mohammad Atta buying a few 24-packs of AK-47s without so much as a second look?). The question comes down to do you regulate guns, and if so, how much and what sort, and do you ban some outright? We regulate and register cars in this country, to do so with guns does not seem too unreasonable. I see nothing wrong with people having shotguns and semi-automatic rifles (bit not fully automatic), for sport, recreation, and defense. I don't own any myself, but a friend of mine has quite a few, and I've enjoyed target shooting with him on occasion.

As for people walking around the streets with handguns, well, in a perfect world, that might be fine, but I do not feel comfortable with that or the simple reason that I do not trust people. Way too many people are awful beings don't think their actions have consequences. The idea that not knowing who does and doesn't have a gun make criminals less likely to victimize random people has a certain appeal, but it makes the assumption that people behave rationally. 23 seconds on Conservapedia will quickly confirm they do not. Muggings would probably decrease, but there are still far too many examples of people completely losing it over minor things and blowing peoples brains out over road rage, minor slights, and general stupid bullshit, and these only increase as more and more people carry guns in their daily lives. Assfly might think kids carrying guns in schools would be a good idea because they could stop Columbines from happening, but I really doubt anyone else thinks it would work. How many os those daily fistfights would turn into weekly gunfights? Too many. It would also not serve as a deterrent for those killers at Columbine and NIU where they kill themselves anyway. Too many adults are just overgrown schoolkids; the idea of most of them walking around packing heat is just scary. The idea that an armed population wouldn't be targeted by criminals is also contradicted by looking at urban gangs. Their primary targets are rival gang members, so you have some of the most well armed people in the country targeting other well armed people. Sort of runs contrary to the Schlafly hypothesis.

I don't think automatic weapons should be allowed, perhaps with very few exceptions. Some people may think this is a violation of the second amendment, but keep in mind the second amendment does not mention guns, it mentions "arms". By strict adherence to the second amendment, I should be allowed to own nuclear arms. Does anyone really argue for that? Yeah, some probably do.

Finally, the idea of localities making their own rules would be fine, except that it does nothing to keep guns off the street in one place when people can easily bypass local law by driving a half hour to the next state/locality and guy a couple dozen saturday night specials. That sort of thing happens all the time, as people drive to the south and run guns to New York and such places, raking in quite a profit. The bottom line is that something should be done to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. Laissez-faire does not work for this. DickTurpis 22:09, 16 February 2008 (EST)

See: Virginia humanUser talk:Human 22:37, 16 February 2008 (EST)

Personally I think it's perfectly okay for people to own guns, to a point. If someone wants to have a gun in their bedside table because they live in a shady neighborhood and it makes them feel safer. Go ahead, I'll even support your decision, I think some form of personal defense is both advisable and acceptable. But when it comes to situations like those in Sandy Hook recently (Please, no one read those three words and turn this into an emotional food-fight) I find it ridiculous that people should have easy access to things like assault rifles, or simple automatic rifles. No one needs a gun like an AK-74 or an assault shotgun. Isn't this kind of why we invented the terms civilian and military for use with weapons? Civilians get things like handguns and hunting weapons (which I might point out are almost useless to murder, as they are loud, inaccurate, and designed to kill animals, not people), versus military weapons, which include (has no one noticed?) most weapons you see in school shootings or most murder incidents. And when it comes to the second amendment, I actually have a (very conservative) friend who said that he always thought that the second amendment didn't refer to gun ownership, but more towards the ability of citizens to rise up against a ruler they feel is unjust or cruel. — Unsigned, by: 74.78.65.103 / talk / contribs 2013-01-08T06:02:54

To Yes and No[edit]

To Yes and NO

I can respect your standing. The only correction I see is your comment about Sandy Hook. Most assault rifles or weapons are nothing but look alike forgeries. Right now the only automatic weapons one can buy legally are ones that were made in 1986 and older. While possible these guns are very rare and very expensive with cheap ones being around $3000 and extensive background check and tax stamp through the ATF. Can a rifle like the AR be made full auto yes it can, it is illegal to do so and requires a little bit of metal working knowledge. Now onto Mr. Lanza he killed his mother with a small caliber hunting rifle in her sleep and then took the guns out of her safe. Yes he knew the combo because his mother taught him how to shoot. Assault weapon name is made up a "marketing" term by anti-gun rights groups to scare the common civilian. Here is the proof, AR-15 is an assault weapon in their eyes it mostly shoots .223/5.56 bullet, it looks a lot like the M-16/M-4 used by our military. Now lets look at one of the rifles that is not considered an assault weapon, it is called an AR-10, it shoots a .308 caliber bullet at first blush this rifle looks almost like an AR-15, it has all the same controls as an AR-15, the only difference between this rifle and the AR-15 is the size of the bolt, barrel, magazine and bullet size. This rifle is far more accurate, has far more range but it is less dangerous than its AR-15 counter part?

The Bill of Rights does not grant any rights, it affirms rights that all free men are endowed by their creator. Gun owners have surrendered a good many part of their 2nd amendment right in the name of being reasonable, the Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the ban on newly manufactured full auto weapons for civilian purchase after 1986, and then the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban which was more about scary looking guns than guns that were military weapons. The burdens being put on gun owners is akin to being licensed to speak your mind, or licensed to go to church. Many bring up the "Fire" in theater regulation. It doesn't fly because you are free to yell "fire" but you have to deal with the consequences, what many want to do now would be more like this, you go to a movie you buy a ticket, you show your ticket, along with your speech license to get in, and then on the way to your seat you have get your mouth duck taped for just in case you may, yell "fire". — Unsigned, by: 68.55.211.31 / talk / contribs