Austin Tang & Arjun Talpallikar September 2012 Resolved: Congress should renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban

Introduction: [optional] William S Burroughs, a man widely considered one of the greatest and most influential writers of the 20th century said, “After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military” [/optional] Resolved: Congress should renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban My partner and I Negate the resolution. Preview Structure: [optional] We will show that, Firstly, The Federal Assault Weapons ban was never successful in achieving its stated goal Secondly, renewing the AWB will not significantly reduce the presence of Assault Weapons. Thirdly, the AWB violates an individual‟s rights. Definitions: In the interest of time, my partner and I will provide definitions later if we disagree with those established by the Pro side. [/optional] Body: Observation 1: Because of the use of „renew‟ in the resolution, we must debate whether or not the bill should be renewed in the current context. Therefore, the pro side must prove that the bill would be effective in today‟s world. Simply discussing the bill‟s effectiveness when it was in place is not sufficient to affirm. 1st Contention: Signpost and Statement of Point The Federal Assault Weapons ban was never successful in achieving its stated goal

Explain the Point: The goal of the weapons ban was to reduce violent crime. However, the banning of assault weapons never actually succeeded in this. Giving Supporting Evidence and Source: If the Assault Weapons ban was the reason why murders declined, they would surely normalize or increase after the ban expired. However, John Lott, an economist, notes in a Los Angeles Times article, that, “The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended.” Link Evidence to the Point: Lott also notes that “the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43 states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime.” Impact Would you buy a car that cannot drive? Would you buy a book you cannot read? If you vote with the pro side, if you vote to renew, that‟s what you‟re doing. Supporting an anti violence bill that does not combat violence. Production simply continues regardless of what occurs. Even more significant than the ban not reducing violent crime is its failure in reducing the presence of assault weapons on our streets. 2nd Contention: The Federal Assault Weapons ban does not make it significantly harder to obtain assault weapons. Giving Supporting Evidence and Source: John Bates Clark medal winning economist Steven Levitt notes in his groundbreaking work, Freakonomics, that “regulation of a legal market is bound to fail when a healthy black market exists for the same product.” Because of the sheer size of the black market arms trade, banning the sale of weapons legally will have little effect on the illegal trade of arms. Even worse, the gun industry is now aggressively marketing “post ban” copycat models that make small changes to be considered legal, while retaining the core aspects that make assault weapons so effective. In 1999, the notorious Columbine shootings involved a hi-point carbine, marketed as a post ban model, that was discharged 96 times. And In 2002, a Bushmaster rifle, marketed as a “post ban carbine,” was used to kill 10 people in the Beltway Sniper incident.

According to the Violence Policy Center, “one in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty from January 1998 through December 2001 was slain with an assault weapon, many of which were "post-ban models"

David B. Kopel suggests that “[p]erhaps no laws in American history have been more universally ignored than „assault weapon‟ prohibitions.”68 Various municipal assault weapons bans have resulted in estimated compliance rates as low as one percent.69
Impact The bill‟s attempted banning will not even effectively stop the circulation of assault weapons. Thriving underground trade will simply continue. And worse, there is no provision in the ban to prevent these new copycat weapons from being manufactured and sold. If the bill can‟t do its job, why would we ever renew it? Worse still, though there are no significant benefits, there are still downsides to renewal. Contention 3 Signpost and Statement of Point Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Federal Assault Weapons ban violates an individual‟s rights. Explain the Point: The second amendment gives us the right to bear arms. It was in turn incorporated as an individual right by the 14th amendment in McDonald v Chicago. Link Evidence to Point: In 2010, in District of Columbia v Heller, the Supreme Court set a precedent clearly applicable here. It ruled against “a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” [that Americans overwhelmingly choose] for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” and goes on to say, “Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster.” “ In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt informed the NRA, "You are
[doing what I believe to be meritorious work, contributing your efforts to carrying on the successful promotion, among citizens of this Nation, of rifle marksmanship—an accomplishment in which our forefathers so effectively excelled. . . Both national and international competitions, which you encourage, have served to inject the idea of sports into rifle shooting . . . while encouraging a free spirit of rivalry

an essential contribution to the national defense.” He was discussing the USPSA, a 20,000 plus member organization that uses assault weapons, established by President Theodore Roosevelt, as guns in target shooting. Every year they hold a
[which] also makes]

national competition in which over 1,300 people compete in with only assault weapons. The AR-15 is a primary weapon of choice, used in the vast majority of sessions, including many self defense oriented competitions and courses. Because the so called assault weapons are in common use today, both in recreation and in self defense, we can apply the DC v Heller ruling here. The AWB seeks to prohibit an entire class of arms that can be used for self defense. This ban, is unconstitutional and will be struck down. Impacts: By directly contradicting the Constitution, the law essentially contradicts democratic ideals as a whole. Whether or not you agree with us on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, you should agree with us that your rights are worth preserving. To Conclude:

We‟ve shown how the Federal Assault Weapons ban 1) Has little effect on assault weapon circulation 2) Does not prevent violent crime and 3) Threatens an individual‟s rights If we give up our rights after each incident, who‟s to say that the next ban won‟t be on all guns? And the one after that on free speech? Thank you.

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