Gun control laws at the U.S. have been a matter of debate over the past decade. On the one hand, people argue for the benefits of having guns as it might help them to deal with criminals. On the other hand, easy access to guns for everyone has raised the probability of tragic events such as mass shootings at schools. Due to having largely different opinions and perceptions of people regarding the gun control laws, it has become a challenge for the U.S. to make the solutions, which could reduce the number of guns owned by individuals without disrespecting anyone. It is, however, important to convince people of the reduced guns usage because only the policy enforcement would not sustain. Hence, it has become a crucial problem to develop the same level of understanding in all Americans regarding the gun control. In this regard, the philosophical theories could be applied to control the solution and convince the people of the implementation of gun control. The theories of ethical egoism and principle of humanity could be used for effective proposal and implementation of gun control laws.
In the U.S., the use of guns is common not only for adults, but also for children; however, there have been serious negative consequences of the present gun control laws. Despite the issues such as mass shootings, the gun control has not been strictly implemented because of the permission granted in American constitution, which is comprised of the basic rules that the country follows. At present, all the U.S. citizens who have never committed a crime and who do not have any mental illness have the legal rights to carry the gun (except for the private places, which do not allow doing this).
There are various situations where guns are being used; even though the gun control can be easily implemented in those situations as without the guns, the situations would just remain normal or could be even better. For example, if the use of guns by the school or college students is considered, more harm than benefit can happen due to permitting the use of guns (Bartula & Bowen, 2015). When the students bring guns to their educational institution, high level of security threats is raised. Students below the age of 18 generally have very low control over emotions due to which they are heavily inclined to indulge in conflicts with each other over small matters. They begin showing their guns even in the cases when the conflicts could easily be resolved through verbal discussion or by the interference of mentors, or teachers. However, if the student has a gun, they are likely to at least demonstrate and at most use it in case the other party is not convinced with their notion. Thus, having lower number of guns would reduce the rate of criminal events at the educational institutions.
In addition to the academic environment, the use of guns in the general environment is harmful for the individuals’ freedom of expression, which means ethics and humanity. Clearly, not everyone can afford to have a gun and even if they have a strong argument to make, they would be afraid to tell their ideas due to not having a weapon (Blocher & Miller, 2016). This way carrying of guns by individuals raises social concerns, which could largely disturb the learning environment as well as the freedom of expression.
The high rate of homicide has also been associated with the poor gun control measures practiced in the U.S. This fact was discovered when in 2007, Missouri implemented the policy to have a permit prior to purchasing guns that reduces the number of guns as well as the rate of homicide. Missouri also passed a law in the same year, which allowed the people to use the weapon in the extreme circumstances; under this law, the people were not penalized for using the weapon specifically for self-defense. The consequences of such laws in one of the states suggest that there could be safe implementation of the gun control laws, which would not only reduce the crime and homicides rate, but could allow the self-defense at the same time. Hence, it has been practically witnessed that the reduced number of guns would not affect the chance of self-defense for people, but would only control the crime rate.
Various philosophical and ethical theories could be deployed to solve the social issues and development of laws related to these issues. The theories must be used to guide the laws because it should not be left on intuition process of any individual or the group. Clearly, the moral codes and ethical judgment of the people widely differ based on various factors such as their maturation, cultural exposure, and others (Hunt & Vitell, 2016). The moral differences are clearly visible when it comes to identify the perceptions of American people about the gun control. However, the change in gun control policies should not be enforced without truly convincing the people as the policy could only gain wide acceptance among the people and sustainability in the society after convincing the population. This section describes how two famous theories could be applied to combat the resistance of people to changing the gun control laws.
The theory of ethical egoism can be used to help changing the gun control laws. This theory suggests that people have moral obligations to save others. The ethics does not only deal with saving oneself, but it broadly deals with a person’s interaction with others and to save others (Pojman, Pojman, & McShane, 2017). In case the present gun control laws are considered, not everyone would consider themselves at risk. For example, the elite people who are escorted by the dedicated guards could easily neglect the issues that an average American faces due to not having access to personalized security measures. However, such laws can only be amended when the entire nation becomes a single unit and fights for a cause regardless of the personal benefit. In this regard, every citizen of the nation has a moral obligation for taking care of others. Everyone needs to analyze the threats, which could be caused by opening as well as concealed carrying of the weapons. Thus, it is required for all to understand the suggested issue and raise their voices for careful permission for the gun carrying and usage.
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Ethical egoism strongly imposes the idea that a person should only pursue what is important of their own well-being. However, in this theory, a person is always encouraged to pursue the steps, which should have either positive or neutral influence on others. Having stricter mechanism to implement gun control would not only serve a person as a unit, but would be beneficial for society. It is to be noted that in case a person considers themselves due to the security provided by either their organization or personal resources, they might not be bothered about what the gun control laws are implemented in their country. If people fully follow the ethical egoism theory, they would feel responsible for managing their own activities. Hence, they would not use the guns, or at least would not carry the weapons in the high-risk areas; however, taking such actions would not suffice. This is because it is not possible for anyone to remain in the secured regions forever. There are times when people do need to move in the high-risk areas and thus, in case the gun control is not appropriately implemented, despite not using gun, the person’s life could be threatened. Therefore, it is important for everyone to assess the possible risks for everyone and then fully evaluate the possible laws options.
It is important to note that by not having effective gun control measures, the theory of ethical egoism cannot be implemented. People we are responsible for saving as many lives as possible. It is not only important to ensure that they do not harm others, but people should also identify the gaps that exist in the present government policies and laws, which might be causing harm to the society. Similarly, it is not acceptable to just agree with the laws set by the politicians, but humans should be concerned about the consequences that are brought by these laws. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that the gun control laws are changed.
The principle of humanity emphasizes the importance and high rank of humans. The principle was proposed by Kant and states that human being (yourself included) is always to be treated “as an end and not merely as a means…” (Nagel, 1987, p. 220). This principle essentially focuses on the capability and the true skills that humans have (Fast, 2015). The principle of humanity leads the humans to believe that they should push themselves to the limit in order to achieve a certain objective. In the light of this principle, it is not at all acceptable to just believe whatever the society at large accepts. For example, if a person feels that what others are doing is wrong, they should always raise their voice against that action and should establish what they feel is right.
The principle of humanity also clarifies the importance of the interconnection between people’s views. The principle suggests that humans should always interpret the others’ thoughts assuming that they have an influence of others on their thoughts and opinions. Social interactions are an important aspect of the principle of humanity and are also a major element for the laws of gun control. Generally, people have strong influence on each other’s perceptions depending on the nature of relationships (Shibutani, 2017). A person’s belief would not only be confined within themselves, but the effects of their beliefs would also be propagated to others It will happen if a person believes that the gun control laws have been designed by the superior minds and there could be no flaw in those laws, and hence, these should be continued to be practiced. Therefore, it is important for everyone to have an appropriate understanding of the negative consequences of the present gun control practiced.
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Also, due to the nature of social influence people have on others, it is a moral obligation for everyone to propagate the quality messages. Humans should try to do best not for their individual selves and families, but also for the society overall. They should try to engage in active communication with others considering the facts that humans have the capability to bring the positive social changes. While convincing others about the need of change in the gun control, everybody should first have complete confidence in their skills and power to influence others. People should fully understand that they have a social obligation for controlling the loss of valuable human lives and they do have the required analysis and decision skills, which could offer assistance in developing the positive change in the laws. Hence, to apply the principle of humanity for implementing change in the gun control laws, everybody should raise their voice in all forums in order to ensure that the concern reaches to the politicians who can finally make the amendments to the existing laws. It is to be widely communicated that reducing number of guns in America would not reduce the security for anyone as the guns would still be carried and used for the rightful purposes. By having gun control mechanism, the objective is not to humiliate any individual or organization, but the major focus of requesting change is to save lives and reduce the crime rate (Kleck, Kovandzic, & Bellows, 2016). Also, it has to be ensured that the word spreads to the majority of the people because if more people have the same opinion, it would be easier for the authorities to be convinced to change the constitution.
Furthermore, the principle of humanity also suggests that since the humans have high capabilities, they should not be harmed. This also supports to have stronger gun control laws implemented because in the absence of such laws, the loss of lives is highly probable, which simply results in reducing the skillset that a society could have. For example, the recent mass shooting incidents which have taken lives of hundreds of innocent kids is a serious threat to the entire society. The kids who have been killed in their childhood might have become intellectual adults. The principle of humanity is strongly against terrorism in all its forms due to negatively affecting the human lives, which is one of the most assets of the universe (Norman, 2018). However, at the same time, this principle would be applicable for the individuals’ self-defense as it is not acceptable that a person does not try to fight for their own lives. As evident from the previous discussion, the present American gun control policies are not only severely affecting the present, but also the future of American society. Therefore, the principle of humanity could be applied to convince the authorities to change the gun control laws in all the states.
In the light of the two theories discussed in this paper and the facts presented, it is proposed to amend the present gun control laws practiced at most of the U.S. states. As it has been described that there exist clear distinctions between the people’s perceptions on whether or not the gun usage should be allowed, the people first need to be convinced regarding the need for having gun control. The awareness or training sessions should be conducted where the speakers should describe the role of every individual in forming a better society. During such sessions, it should clearly be communicated to the audience how important it is to change the present gun laws. Moreover, clear facts and figures regarding the criminal activities and mass shooting events for each state should be disclosed. The people should be encouraged to give their feedback about the present gun control mechanisms and should be invited to propose the possible solutions, so that the present situations may be improved. Subsequently, the importance of their decisions should be clarified, as they form the entire society, so their perspective really matters. Finally, the changes suggested by all the participants should be summarized. Conducting such community sessions would be helpful to spread the philosophy that everyone is responsible to suggest changes in the existing systems, which could reduce the loss for society and most importantly, could save many valuable lives.
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There is a need to ensure that the guns are being sold or issued to the persons who are in real need for those. It is not only sufficient to check a person’s criminal history. Other factors such as social and cultural settings should be thoroughly evaluated as well. Since these tasks might sound challenging for the gun control department, the tasks could be distributed among various authorities. For example, a separate unit could be designated for evaluating a persons’ need for the gun and their social settings. Another department could issue the gun permit and finally, only the designated shops or departments should be authorized to issue the guns.
In addition to the above mentioned, the existing gun laws meaning that anyone can just purchase a gun and keep it with them forever also needs to be changed. The license or permit should be issued for a certain period of time, and the gun usage during this period should be carefully monitored. Focusing on reducing the number of deaths, homicides, rapes, and other criminal cases, it would be important to maintain and monitor all the situations where the guns have been used during a license period. In case it is known that the gun has been used for unjustified purpose, the license should not be renewed. Therefore, instead of providing guns to the public without any condition, there should be strict check and balance.
Firstly, the supporters of the present gun control implementation at the U.S. would suggest that people and even school kids should have guns for the purpose of having a better means of self-defense. However, as described earlier, Missouri has been able to reduce the number of guns and even then, the state allowed using the guns for self-defense. Therefore, having a stricter law for the gun control does not necessarily mean that people should not carry guns at all, it would rather offer the authorities to have a better control over the crime rate. For example, the laws could be modified to not only check the people’s previous criminal history and mental illnesses, but a certain level of analysis should be done before permitting a person to purchase a gun.
Secondly, due to the heavy rate of mass shooting which have been happening in the recent past in the U.S., various students and their parents support the notion that if the students and other visitors would be carrying guns on campus, the criminals entering the premises shall be threatened by the possible presence of guns. For example, there have been cases where girls have been raped by the gun-carrying criminals in the gun-freeze campuses. In those situations, the students were not able to carry their weapons despite having them at homes due to the policies of the colleges, but at the same time, the college security could not stop the criminals from entering. Hence, there is a belief that in case the students would be in possession of guns, such rape events as well the mass shootings will decline. However, the situation could easily be in opposition of this belief. In case everyone is allowed to carry guns in the school or college premises, it becomes a real challenge for the institutional security staff to identify the criminals, and they are forced to even allow the unknown/first time visitors to carry the guns. On the other hand, if the use of guns in the schools and colleges is banned in the first place, the probability that anyone would be carrying the guns including the parents and visitors would completely be excluded. Therefore, it is expected that the events such as mass shooting and use of guns for the students’ conflicts will reduce.
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The vast majority of the American population has strong beliefs that the constitution developers were among the intellectual minds and their decisions regarding the gun control policy should not be changed. It is one of the reasons due to which the people who have raised their voice for the gun control issue were discouraged in the past. People argue that the politicians who have played their role in developing the constitution are law graduates from top schools of the world. Humans believe that the common minds could not interpret the true rationale of having the gun permissions as they are only because of their lack of exposure. Although the politicians have strong academic and legal practicing backgrounds, the change in the gun control law does not mean to harm the reputation or respect for anyone. Despite the politicians have given enough thought to the gun control issues, the laws are always meant to be changed based on the consequences that they bring to the society. Due to the prevailing issues and the alarming death and homicide rates associated with the gun control, these laws should be changed. Furthermore, authorities and public should note that it is not important to retain the gun control laws, which are not working only to sustain the status quo of the politicians who made these laws in the first place. Instead, the emphasis should be on the benefit that gun control laws could bring to the society and the proportion of humanity that could be saved. Hence, people should be carefully convinced for changing the existing gun control measures.
The present gun control laws in America need to be changed in order to guarantee a common citizen’s security. There is a need to convince the people to use social theories and philosophies which explain that changing the gun control laws does not imply the disrespect towards constitution or any individual, or a group. It is the need for the day due to the present security threats for everyone. When all the U.S. citizens are allowed to carry the guns without any strict control mechanisms, it would remain a serious challenge to control the crimes such as gang rapes and mass shootings at schools and other places.
The ethical theory of egoism as well as the principle of humanity could be used to propose a change in the existing gun control policies. These theories suggest that it is the person’s moral obligation to strive for the benefit of others. Humans are blessed with huge capabilities due to which they ought to take actions for improving the society. Using these theories, it should be attempted to convince the people and authorities in America that the gun control policies should be changed. It does not aim to not use the guns at all, but means that stronger control over the gun sales and issuance should be implemented. Guns could still be used for self-defense, but the number of guns and occasions for the gun usage should be carefully reduced. So, philosophy could help to change the present gun control policies by convincing the people and reducing the differences that they have in terms of different perceptions about gun control.