Fall 2013: Assault Weapons Ban



In order to be a more moral society, the U.S. government should enact the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 as proposed in Senate Bill 150.


The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons. In addition, the bill bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The prescribed ban exempts:

•  Any weapon that is lawfully possessed at the date of the bill’s enactment;

•  Assault weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement;

•  2,258 hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model.Antique weapons; and

Additionally the bill:

•  Requires a background check on all sales or transfers of grandfathered assault weapons.

•  Prohibits the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.


Although the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 contains additional elements, for purposes of this debate limit your arguments to the above referenced sections of the bill. For a complete definition of “assault weapons” and other relevant terms see Senate Bill 150, Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s150rs/pdf/BILLS-113s150rs.pdf.


Fall 2013 Course

Fall 2013 marks the ninth consecutive year of the Moral Forum course (University Honors 101), and 58 students enrolled in six sections of the course.


Our guest lecturers included:

•  Lane McLelland, Director of Crossroads Community Center. McLelland lectured on ethical theory and moral philosophy.

•  Sean Simmons, Fellow with Americans for Responsible Solutions.  Simmons outlined the arguments for the assault weapons ban.

•  Jim Porter, President of the National Rifle Association. Mr. Porter raised questions about the morality of an assault weapons ban.

•  Mark Nelson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost.  Dr. Nelson spoke on the art and mechanics of public speech.


Caroline Brantley, Sean Dave, Marlan Golden, Ross Green, Justin Hughes, and Khortlan Patterson served as Moral Forum Scholars who facilitated course discussions.


Eighth Annual Moral Forum Tournament

The three-week ninth annual Moral Forum Tournament was held in the School of Law, Bidgood Hall, and the Ferguson Center, with the support of 60 volunteer judges including law students, graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty from across campus.

In front of a Morgan Auditorium audience of more than 300, a total of $10,000 in Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility scholarships were distributed on the final night. Katy Turner and Will Gonzalez argued against the assault weapons ban, and the winning team, Jack York and William Newman, argued for it. Caleb Hollingsworth, Lauren Isbell, Ciara Malaugh, and Jacquie Andreano were recognized for their achievements as semifinalists. Sydney Malin was also recognized as the outstanding individual debater and William Hampton was recognized for his outstanding written case.