Intelligence Squared U.S.: Guns Reduce Crime

Sat, 11/15/2008 - 3:00pm

Moderator John Donvan


Recently in the U.S. it seems as if partisan rancor has replaced reasoned debate; mainstream media has become contentious and ideological; and discussions of important issues are being dominated by emotion rather than by facts and analysis. The debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) attempts to change this trend and raise the level of public discourse on the key issues of our day. Intelligence Squared U.S.: Guns Reduce Crime airs Saturday, November 15 at 3 p.m. on AM 1370 and WXXI-FM HD 91.5-2.

Moderator John Donvan is a correspondent for ABC News Nightline. He has served over a career of more than two decades in the following capacities for ABC News: chief White House correspondent, chief Moscow correspondent, Amman bureau chief, Jerusalem correspondent, and correspondent for the ABC News magazine Turning Point. Donvan's most recent major assignment was covering the war in Iraq as a unilateral reporter, for which the Chicago Sun Times named him one of the ten war stars.

Panelists for the motion:

Stephen Halbrook represents the NRA in suits against the DC and Chicago handgun bans. His most recent book is The Founders' Second Amendment.  He filed a brief on behalf of over 300 members of Congress in the Supreme Court case of DC v. Heller, and won three Supreme Court cases on firearm issues. Holding a Ph.D. from FSU and J.D. from Georgetown, his other books include Freedmen, the 14th Amendment, & the Right to Bear Arms, That Every Man Be Armed, Target Switzerland, and The Swiss & the Nazis

Gary Kleck is a professor in the
College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University. His research centers on violence and crime control, focusing on gun control and crime deterrence. Kleck is the author of Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control (1997) and Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (1991), which won the Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology in 1993 for making "the most outstanding contribution to criminology" in the preceding three years.

John R. Lott Jr.  is a senior research scholar at the University of Maryland.  Lott has held positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He is the author of Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t, The Bias Against Guns and More Guns, Less Crime.

Panelists against the motion

John J. Donohue III is the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor at Yale Law School. Donohue’s recent work has used large-scale statistical studies to estimate the causal impact of law and public policy in a wide range of areas from civil rights and employment discrimination law to the effect of legalized abortion, guns, and the death penalty on crime. Donohue is the empirical editor of the American Law and Economics Review and a research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Paul Helmke has served as president of the Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's largest national, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, since mid-July 2006.  Prior to this, Helmke was a lawyer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he served as mayor from 1988-2000. In the early 1990s he worked with Jim and Sarah Brady to help build support for the Brady Law and the federal Assault Weapons Ban.

R. Gil Kerlikowske is a 36-year veteran of law enforcement who was appointed as chief of police for Seattle in August 2000. Kerlikowske served as the police commissioner for Buffalo, New York. He has also worked as a patrol officer, as a detective in narcotics and robbery, and as a hostage negotiator in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Modeled on the British program Intelligence Squared, IQ2US is an Oxford-style debate that is provocative, intellectually rich, humorous, and dramatic. For each debate a motion is proposed. Then, three panelists argue for the motion and three argue against it, with a moderator controlling the proceedings. After the formal arguments, the debate is thrown open to the floor for questions, triggering a lively interchange among the speakers and audience members. Each side attempts to persuade the audience to vote their way. This adversarial context is electric, adding drama and excitement to the proceedings. The live audience will vote on the motion both before and after hearing the arguments, so there is a clear measure of how far people have actually been swayed. Those votes are tallied during the evening and announced at the end with a clear side winning.