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The Ethics Of Gun Control Essay

1853 words - 7 pages

The Ethics of Gun Control

The phrase "Gun Control" means different things to different people. One
bumper sticker states that "Gun Control means hitting your target."
However one defines gun control, the mere mention of it brings
controversy. Opposing sides have for years fought over the laws that
govern firearms. For the purposes of this paper "Gun Control" is defined
as policies enacted by the government that limit the legal rights of gun
owners to own, carry, or use firearms, with the intent of reducing gun
crimes such as murder, armed robbery, aggravated rape, and the like. So
defined, gun control understandably brings favorable responses from some,
and angry objections from others.

The gun control debate is generally publicized because of the
efforts of the Pro-Gun Lobby or the Anti-Gun Lobby. The best known of
the Pro-Gun Lobby is the NRA, headed by Charlton Heston and Wayne
LaPierre. The Anti-Gun Lobby includes such organizations as Handgun
Control, Inc., The Violence Policy Center, and the ACLU, and is commonly
associated with such figures as Sarah Brady.

It is doubtful that anyone would dispute that reducing violent crime is a
good thing. Most pro-gun lobbyists will concede that guns are used in
violent crimes, and that guns act as an enabler for criminals. It is
impossible to deny that mass shootings could not be carried out without
guns. This fact is generally the basis of the anti-gun movement. They
argue that since guns are commonly used in the commission of crimes, and
since guns are inherently dangerous because of their primary function
(the primary function being the destruction of the target), that guns
should therefore be outlawed. The pro-gun lobby counters this by saying
that law-abiding citizens using firearms protect themselves from
criminals 2.5 million times every year (Shulman 1), and that there is a
correlation between increased gun ownership and a reduced crime rate
(Facts 1-4).

The arguments of the anti-gun lobby are generally based on
so-called "common-sense" and emotional pleading, with relatively few
statistics backing up their claims. They argue that the Second Amendment
to the Constitution is only giving the states the right to regulate
militia activity and therefore possess and "bear" arms (Rowland 3). Some
of the more extreme anti-gun lobby advocate repealing the Second
Amendment altogether.

Since the most extreme advocates of gun control wish to ban guns
regardless of the Constitution, it becomes necessary to not just examine
the law of the land, and the courts interpretation, but also the
underlying philosophies of both sides of the debate. This is not to say
that the issue cannot be argued from a legal standpoint. In the past few
years, as class-action lawsuits have become more prevalent, some lawsuits
have been brought against gun manufacturers on the grounds that they
produce and distribute...

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