A great difference between Singapore and America is the ownership of guns. In Singapore, we have one of the toughest and most successful gun control laws in the world – according to the 1973 Arms Offences Act, unlawful possession or carrying of firearms is punishable with imprisonment of up to fourteen years and caning of six strokes. Also, using or attempting to use arms when committing a scheduled offense is punishable with death, no matter if it is intentionally or not to cause physical injury to the public. On the other hand, in America, guns are easily accessible via online platforms or simply by going to your nearest Walmart, an America convenience store.
Although some Americans may argue that gun ownership brings them a sense of security and for self-protection, it is also undeniable that gun deaths are one of the highest in America. Thus, an ethical reflection would be necessary to determine if the gun laws should be tightened.
By going against the rule of gun ownership. We are going against what we think is wrong and below are the ethical theories that will support this claim. Using Kant’s Duty based ethics, Universalizability principle, to support my stand.
Gun laws are made to create a safer environment for the American, with the goal of being able to protect themselves in a dangerous situation like robbery. It then leads to the maxim of “I will shoot anyone who endangers my life in order to protect myself”, universalizing it would be that “Everyone will shoot people who will endanger their lives in order to protect themselves”. If everyone shoots in the name of retaliation and self-protection, this creates an unsafe environment for all instead of a safer one. Thus, it contradicts the very purpose of having guns to create a safer environment for the Americans.
Secondly, using Effective Altruism, with gun ownership, did it helped to successfully reach its goal of creating a safer environment by being able to protect themselves in a dangerous situation?. In 2019, a survey by Pew Research Center stated that 44% of Americans say that they personally know someone who has been shot, either accidentally or with intentions. (John Gramlich, 2019) and that 60% of the people from gun deaths in 2016 were due to suicides (BBC,2019). This shows that gun ownership has not been that helpful in defending oneself as gun deaths are largely related by murders and suicides. Gun law has made murdering and suicide conveniently for those who have such intentions making the environment more dangerous. If there is no gun initially, these problems will not appear, but it will decrease such numbers as it would be harder to murder someone with just a knife for example, instead of a gun that would kill someone in a matter of seconds, same for suicide.
Indeed, there will be instances that having a gun does its work of protecting one-self and might have saved millions of lives. A report by gunowners.org states that Law-abiding Americans use the gun to protect themselves against criminals 80 times more than to take the lives of the innocents every year. (GOA, 2008). These are factors that Kant’s universalizability and Effective Altruism theory do not consider as it clearly identifies that gun laws are not ethical due to it only creating a higher gun death. On my standpoint, America should abolish gun ownership as it is doing more harm than good with the recent mass killing has increased dramatically and young kids are not being spared from these incidents which could have been well prevented if the ownership of gun was illegal