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How might philosophical arguments be used to support gun control?

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nerdynikki | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted January 2, 2013 at 10:03 PM via web

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How might philosophical arguments be used to support gun control?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2013 at 10:32 PM (Answer #1)

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A variety of philosophical arguments could be used to support (or oppose) gun control. The most obvious, and frequently cited one, is basically utilitarian. A utilitarian could argue that high rates of gun violence in the United States compared to other developed nations where guns are not so readily available demonstrate that an individual's interest in relatively free access to firearms does not outweigh the public's interest in having a stricter gun law. In other words, it could be argued, stricter gun laws would be in the interest of the most people. A ethical argument would revolve around the morality of marketing, purchasing and owning devices that are intended to kill people. Still another ethical argument might revolve around the motives of people who purchase guns, one which, it could be argued, is connected to a desire, whether expressed or not, to use them on another person. 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 2, 2013 at 11:59 PM (Answer #2)

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The most simplistic philosophical argument (or logical proposition) in favor of gun control is that if there were no guns, no one would be killed by guns. A supporting argument would state that if there are more guns, there would be more likelihood that a crime involving a gun would occur or that an injury even in the act of preventing a crime would occur. 

Since it is impractical to get rid of all guns, logical gun control is usually the center of the debate. It is logical to say that it is unnecessary for anyone to own a weapon that can fire multiple rounds per second. The argument that it is a right (and therefore a principle of freedom) to own any type of gun is easily refuted by the fact that the prevalence of such guns inhibits the rights of others to "not be killed by such guns."

Statistics from other industrialized countries have shown that stricter gun laws have shown decreased gun violence (and this includes stricter background checks). Gun control, for the United States, therefore has strong ethical and logical support. 

That being said, the issue with guns should also address mental health (not to be distinguished or separated from all other types of physical health and/or ailments) and should include a logical look at glorification of violence in entertainment as well as possible desensitization to violence in general. 

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