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The Ethics of Gun Ownership in the United States

Gun ownership in the United States has been a debate that has been going on for more than two centuries. Currently, the United States is well-known for its gun culture, where citizens are allowed to own weapon and, in some instances, carry it with them. This is done for defence. The argument that guns are used by hunters as a tool is sufficed. The second amendment was put in place to allow for that.

However, the safety of the people is in question. If citizens are allowed to own guns and carry them along, doesn’t this expose them to insecurity? Isn’t an individual more prone to take away the life of another by the possession of a gun?
I propose that regulation concerning gun ownership should be revised. Different ethical theories may articulate differently on the gun culture, but the bottom line is that lives are at stake, and it is upon the citizens of the United State to decide whether they are pro-life or not.

On a personal experience basis, I have known a neighbour who has defended themselves from an armed robber with the gun he possessed. This was in his house. The neighbourhood was completely thrilled, and we all agreed that if the old man did not have the gun in his possession, then he could have probably been dead. At the same time, I cannot help to think that the robbers who attacked this old man obtained their arms in probably the same way that the old man did. In this case, they used the firearms in the wrong way threatening the security of another citizen.

According to the Kantian theory, an action is morally right if it has been done according to duty, i.e., that which is dutifully expected from the individual. In addition, Kant explains that the consequences of an action do not justify the action if it is not done according to the duty. Given that the second amendment allows Americans to possess firearm and use it, then it is ethically correct for them to do so.

Utilitarianism is a teleological approach to ethics. It proposes that if the end results bring up a greater good, then the action is ethically correct. In this case, there could be mixed feelings about the utility of the gun culture. This is because on the one hand, the gun culture gives Americans the right of ownership, self-defence, and practicing one of their favourite sports which is hunting. On the other hand, the gun culture creates a lot of insecurity such that it has even become quite difficult for the government to provide this essential to its own citizen. The utilitarian theory, a quantitative or reductionist approach with regards to ethical issues cannot be objectively applied in deciding whether the gun culture is ethically correct or not.

A moral analysis of the gun culture will bring about the issue of powerlessness. Usually, the marginalised citizens are the ones who are often affected by the negative effects of the gun culture. Due to their marginalisation, it becomes difficult for them to raise their concerns on the same and to make somebody hear them. When there is little relationship between people, then it becomes unclear how much responsibility is expected in that case. Powerlessness has a way of suppressing the feelings of victims that are associated with learned helplessness that they are unable to deal with the (Young, 1990).

The United States is not the only nation that has had to decide on matters concerning gun ownership. They should borrow a leaf from the other European nations such as Belgium or Sweden just to mention a few who have managed to come up with regulation that address the needs of their people whether marginalised or not.


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