Ethics of Gun Control

Crime is not a new issue for America nor is the connection it has to guns. What is equally not new for Americans is the debate over gun control and the rights that are possibly going to be stripped away form them. Guns have been considered the cause of many deaths even though a human with decision-making ability was ultimately the one who made the decision to kill. With the deaths of recent victims involving a variety of guns, this argument has been revived and is continuing to fuel the debate.

This essay is meant to shed light on some of the ethical choices and worldviews of both sides of the argument and explore some right vs. right scenarios as well as some right vs. wrong and some of the beliefs and reasoning’s and look at some of the values that might be at stake. Americans have two ways of viewing this issue, which is that owning a gun is our second amendment right and to control it threatens what it means to be an American. The other side believes that guns are holding back the American way of feeling safe secure and that guns need to be controlled because more guns in more hands means more violence.

The advocates for gun control are right to want to try and protect themselves and the lives of future victims by cutting down on the amount of people that can carry guns and the type of guns they are allowed to buy, with the hope of preventing or reducing future violence (Spoerri, 2012). The values that are at steak for those who are on this side of the argument are the values of life, family and the desire to be safe and to feel safe. But is it right to want this change to try and force the change upon law abiding citizens who respect guns and own them responsibly and follow the laws accordingly?

I do not believe so and believe this to be a greater good mentality where as long as the bad people are taken out it does not matter who else has to suffer. I truly believe this to be a right vs. wrong scenario and see people acting purely on fresh emotion rather than stopping to analyze the real problem and make ethical choices on what rights and to look at what values are at stake. Those opposed to the gun control are right in wanting to preserve and exercise their rights as Americans to have the ability to carry and purchase firearms to defend them against harm of any kind including the governments.

They are also right to want to fight a law that only takes guns out of the hands of lawful citizens with no intention of committing crimes, which keeping guns in the hands of criminals. What I mean by that is that these laws interfere with law-abiding citizens purchasing guns instead of focusing on removing illegal arms from the streets. This side of the argument believes in the words of Thomas Jefferson who says that, such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for assailants; they serve to encourage rater than prevent violence, for and unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man (Jefferson, 1774).

A specific advocate for gun control by the name of Jonathan Wallace believes that a gun is like a tool. People purchase things such as hammers, cars, bikes, and even scuba gear, have every intention of using it. He believes that things are not purchased or created as a “just in case item” and if that mentality were behind the purchase of a tool such as a car bought only for emergencies, then they would constantly long to use them. So when it comes to guns, Jonathan argues that people, who purchase guns for hunting, get their fulfillment form hunting animals using the tool for what it was designed for.

However, people who purchase handguns, which are designed for the destruction of humans, wish to utilize the tool for that purpose. Even if the gun was purchased for self-defense, that the owner of the gun hopes that some day they will be in a position to have to defend them (Wallace, 2012). Wallace has a positive worldview and values the world he lives in and the safety of the lives in it. He expresses his opinions purely to promote reflection into the reasons someone may want to purchase a particular tool and some specific self-analysis into purchasing a gun.

He is right in arguing that people that purchase guns do have a desire to use it in the destruction of humans. However, I believe in good and that, yes criminals and mentally ill people acquire guns to hurt other people, but to believe that all people who purchase handguns want to hurt other humans is not accurate. I believe that his mentality comes from the belief that people are basically bad and that this is where he is wrong (Boylan, 2009 p. 48). I purchased a handgun back in 2011 when my daughter was almost ready to enter this world.

The reason for acquiring it was to have the ability to protect my home in the event of an intruder and to protect my family in any circumstance. I am terrified of having to ever use it, and the thought of potentially killing another human is the last thing in the world I would desire to use this tool for. It is one hundred percent a “just in case” tool. Many criminologists with a similar worldview as Jonathan Wallace believe that the increase in violent crime has everything to do with a lack of gun control laws but this, however, is not the case.

Crime has gone up and down over decades and the rise of violent crimes has more to do with the economic and the political structure of the state. A survey taken by the General Social Survey (GSS) in 1990 showed that there was a rise in the number of guns in the households across America, which was only do to the rise in violence in do to gangs other organized crime (Sugarman, 2011). The gun laws have been changed over the years and today they are already very strict in limiting who can purchase and they are preforming very thorough background checks.

Fighting this issue and trying to slow the purchase of guns actually hurts the economy we live in. The sale of guns has proved to be great benefit to the economy. It is an enormous source of tax revenue that benefits everyone and has also created a lot of new jobs. Between 2008 and 2011 there was a 30. 6 percent increase in jobs, 66. 5 percent increase in economic impact, as well as a 66. 6 percent increase in federal taxes paid by this industry (Piccione, 2012).

Taking away or limiting the ability to purchase guns will force people to seek guns illegally and will open up more avenues for everyone to purchase illegal making it easier for criminals to acquire them. This will also cut the tax stream and eliminate jobs and greatly affect the economic benefit that it has created. This scenario seems to be a right vs. right vs. wrong. Those opposed to gun control are right to believe that the political structure and the economy are the cause of violence and not the lack of gun control.

They are also right to be believe that making guns illegal to purchase means that there would be more guns in the hands of criminals and less in the hands of good people forcing them to seek guns illegal themselves which in turn, turns the good people into criminals. Advocates for gun control are wrong in this case because their decision to make guns illegal is based on a belief that this will somehow stop the violence. As I mentioned earlier, it is the people, not the guns that kill and if the law that they are trying to pass goes through, it will significantly affect the economy and society in a negative way.

The Advocates for gun control are right to want to modify a constitutional right that we all know will be abused. The case with the man in Aurora who purchased all of his guns legally and committed a terrible crime is a perfect example of this. However, the people that commit these kinds of crimes are not sound decision makers and have mental and chemical imbalances that bring them to that place of hurting others. If he did not have the ability to purchase these guns legally, he would have been able to purchase them illegally. If he had it in his mind to hurt someone he was going to do it no matter what, gun or no gun.

More people that have a worldview that is attached to some good should be carrying guns because the would never use a gun to hurt someone they did not have to but would have and be prepared to protect as needed. The more people that are carrying the less likely a person like this would have made it very far in his attempt. If the world knew that everyone was carrying than I believe that there would be a lot less attempts at mass shootings. Advocates are right to want to fight and have a fear of future violence but I think they are wrong in wanting to make the world less safe by taking away the ability to defend ones self and others.

If I had the ability to help in this situation, I would say to those who advocate for gun control that guns are being controlled and have been for the last forty years. If someone is a felon whether they used a gun before or not they cannot purchase one. If a gun is used in a crime, scientist can trace that bullet to a gun that is registered to the buyer and can trace the gun between purchasers and if it is illegal it makes it much harder to trace it to the bad guy. Taking guns away from the public only means making everyone more weak and vulnerable to criminals and if a law passed I think we would see an enormous rise in criminal activity.

Many Americans including myself value our rights and feel secure in knowing that we can protect ourselves. Illegalizing guns is bad for everyone in the end but making the background check more thorough and checking for mental illness anywhere in the home is a better route to take and smarter fight to fight. To those who oppose gun control, I would say to stop making it a fight. Everyone has their beliefs and being such extremists like the National Rifle Association (NRA) just fuels the debate and does not promote the right to bare arms in a positive light.

Instead they should focus on the positives such as economic benefit, personal instances where guns saved lives, and how criminals will benefit more by making guns illegal. In conclusion the debate over gun control will be something that never seems to die even if new laws get passed. The biggest issue that the country is going to face is the competing values and who’s right is more right. Is it more right to want to believe in the constitution and utilize our rights to own a gun and defend ourselves or is it more right to try and reduce guns to save lives from future killers that decide to abuse that right?

I think that the way to decide which is greater is to not just focus on the outcomes of these terrible situations but focus on the people that are committing the crimes. There are economic issues as well as mental health issues that can be honed in on to try and prevent people from becoming dangerous as well as the addition of mental health screening in background checks. I believe that there is good in all of us and that it is in the core of our being but I know that the world can pervert that.

Taking some self-analysis and exploring your values and ethics into why you would want a gun is about all of a fight that I can offer for the opposition. Having more guns in more hands of good people and giving the country the knowledge of that is what is going to slow down these senseless attacks. I value my rights especially the second amendment because I cannot count on anyone else to protect my family, myself or anyone else for that matter and I truly believe that taking away that right is going to prove to have a much worse outcome than anything that we have seen so far.

Sarah from Law Aspect

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