Free Essay: Ethical, Moral, and Political Arguments against the 2nd Amendment (Right To Bear Arms)

Published: 2022-04-19
Free Essay: Ethical, Moral, and Political Arguments against the 2nd Amendment (Right To Bear Arms)
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Constitution Gun control
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1966 words
17 min read

The debate surrounding the Second Amendment in modern times has been on whether it is a private right for a citizen of America to own and keep arms or only a right that organized militia like National Guard can exercise. It was until the adoption of the Bill of Rights that these debates started popping up. Many people in the history of America, especially the previous generations, had a belief that it was the government that had the monopoly of weapons. This generation believed that the government used the soldiers to maim, intimidate, and oppress the masses. The militia could only be controlled by the government as it had their own roles to play, for example, defending the country against foreign adversaries, internal coups, and invasions that are sudden. It was the government that supplied weapons to this militia, trained, and paid them as they carried out these duties.

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According to Steidley & Colen (2017), the owning of a militia by the government was informed by the fact that there may never be time raise as well as train an army in the event of a war. The government than owned a militia just in case of a revolutionary war. A peacetime standing army was established by the federal government. When power shifted from the state to the federal government, there emerged objections to the established constitution. The debate would then ensue between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

The Anti-Federalists wanted people to be curtailed from owning and keeping weapons. On the other hand, the Federalists wanted regulations on gun ownership. These arguments were made possible by The Second Amendment. Just like the American people have the right to speech, religion, and movement, The Second Amendment gave people the right to own and keep arms. Since 1971, there has been a considerable amount of changes to the Second Amendment. The American military has grown into the most powerful army in the world (Blanco, 2016 pp.627. There is no American today, who fears that the American armed forces will turn against them. Besides, no matter how the citizens are armed, no one thinks that they can defeat this strong army in the battle (630).

The American people routinely kept their weapons at home with an anticipation to use them when called upon to defend their country. These weapons were very different from those that modern soldiers have. Up to date, civilians keep these weapons, not for militia duties, but for their self-defense against common criminals or for hunting. The two opposing views, therefore, are that gun ownership is an individual right enshrined the American constitution and that arms should only be owned by an organized militia and not be left in the hands of the civilians.

Ethical argument against the Second Amendment

It is clearly stated in the American constitution that civilians are entitled to "keep and bear arms". This statement, therefore, implies that if there are to be any restrictions, they should be at minimal levels because this is a right that is protected by the constitution. These restrictions should be applied in the same way we apply restriction on freedom of movement or speech. It should only be deemed restricted if owning a weapon threatens public safety. The restriction should not only be minimal but also necessary. According to Blau et al. (2016 pp.4732), the American constitution stipulates that there can only be minimal restrictions as far as an exercise of an individual is concerned, this includes gun ownership rights. The people of America have a right to defend themselves against home invaders. This is the premise that the supporters of gun rights hold dearly. However, there must be an evaluation of this amendment considering the number of people who die every year by guns. It is morally and ethically wrong to everlastingly hold on this text when we are losing thousands of Americans every year.

The Founding Fathers and the free society

However, the framers of the American constitution had a strong conviction that it was essential for civilians to bear arms as a matter of character as well as the dignity of the individuals who are free considering they were just coming out of slavery. The Second Amendment was penned down as a matter of fact. The bill of rights guarantees all citizens certain inalienable rights. The stipulation of these rights means that the American people are free people and, therefore, they should be left to make independent choices and decisions. The issue of gun control also emerged. According to the proponents of gun control, they believe that the government must safeguard the right that gun owners legally have. This restriction should be done with the intention of reducing crimes related to guns like aggravated rape, armed robbery, murder, and so on.

Different perspectives on gun control

Kant held a belief that "the morality of an act depends on a person's intentions (a goodwill), not the results of the act"(DeGrazia& Hunt, 2016). The argument, however, emerges that the intention of limiting the right to own and keep a firearm might not always be in the interest of every American. According to Schlosser (2017 pp.594), two fundamentally ethical beliefs are at loggerhead as far as The Second Amendment is concerned; individual rights and social utilitarianism. Using utilitarian perspective, it is not possible to guarantee unrestricted rights to an individual on the ownership of firearms. Individual rights are dismantled by the government using utilitarianism. It is still unethical to regulate gun ownership even though it is provided for in the constitution.

In the United States, over the years, the issues of gun control are questioned whether they are moral values or virtues. It is not even clear if restricting the right to buy arms is ethical. When people are restricted from acquiring and owning guns, it reduces the number of arms that may find a way into the criminals' hands. From an ethical position, Kant examines whose role it is to protect civilians. He questions whether deontology will be at the center of all these arms. Deontology is a unique virtue that everyone should have in the midst of gun ownership. It is based on the premise that everyone has a responsibility of doing the right thing devoid of emotions and feelings (DeGrazia& Hunt, 2016). According to Bentham, a utilitarianist holds a strong view that it is only from an act that generates greater happiness for the larger population that we can derive true moral values. He asks about the magnitude of pleasure or pain that the decision to control firearms in the population will be generated (Fleming, 2015). He tries to find a consensus between the two arguments so as to satisfy the majority of the people.

The premises against the intentions of the Second Amendment

In the recent times, there have been numerous shootings, murders, and suicides in the United States (Gould & Olivares, 2017). Many of these shootings are done with guns that are licensed to be in the hands of civilians while others are somehow sophisticated to be in their hands. When children and unarmed people are shot and murdered and injured in schools and public places respectively, we are left wondering if owning weapons by civilians is the right thing to do. The original intention for civilians to own guns was for self-defense. However, this objective has been overrun by mass destruction of American lives.

According to Former Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer (Spitzer, 2014 pp.749), as much as people are the ones who pull the trigger, it would not be possible to kill if there were no guns. He sees guns as the sole reasons why we lose a lot of lives and it is necessary to actualize the gun control policy. This is the only way we can delay the means through which we are losing American lives through reckless horrific shootings. Even though the gun does not go off by itself, it is no doubt that it is the one being used as the instrument of killing. Our moral values are put into question. How do we give people a right to own arms and they go forth abusing this right by intentionally harming and hurting others? It is, therefore, important that we have the government restricting gun ownership in the United States to keep her citizens safe.

Under The Second Amendment, the people of America have a right to buy ordinary ammunition, handguns, and rifles including high ammunition clips, especially after the expiry of Federal Assault Weapon in 2004. Eligible buyers are adults without psychiatric or criminal history. With these characterizations among others, it begs a question of whether the individual choices and the current policies in the United States are morally correct or acceptable. Is it in the interest of the Americans to alter this status quo or leave it as it is? Among the ethical issues to consider include the following three questions. Do the American people have a moral right of owning a weapon? If that is true, do they have the morality to carry these weapons in public? And, does the regulation imposed by the government a right thing to do? All these three ethical questions demand a scholarly attention, even though the Supreme Court has made a ruling on this matter.

According to Rossi (2017), each year more than 30, 000 Americans die through accidents, suicides, and homicides by gun. A third of these deaths by guns is because of suicide. People who support gun rights argue that it is not the guns that kill people but people do. This statement does not hold, for instance, in the year 2012, an elementary school in Connecticut was attacked by a Chinese man with a knife hitting twenty-two children. If this man had a gun the children would have not only been injured but killed. The laws in China do not allow civilians to own guns. A gun in the hand of the Chinese man would have caused a great loss.

Guns and American culture

It is evident that guns form a significant part of the culture of the American people. However, it is morally, ethically, and politically wrong to allow a part of our culture to cut short the lives of innocent Americans. Research shows that there is no American community that has been spared from the reckless menace of firearm use in the United States (Harpine, 2016 pp.158). Guns are useful tools which can also be used for recreation. However, they are potentially harmful and should not be entrusted in the hands of civilians.

In rural America, the majority of the people use guns on a daily basis. Politically, both Democratic and Republican Parties are all American. The fact that they fail to realize that gun ownership is as equally American as gun control. Looking at the second amendment and the association that exists between guns and violence, as well as, having an exploration of various approaches of policies on gun control, it clear that regulation of guns will serve the common good of our populations as compared to the gun rights. The fact that everyone is affected by guns in one way or the other makes it even more ethical and morally correct to regulate them. When they land in the wrong hands they may turn out to be instruments of mass destruction (Kleck, 2017).

Political argument against the Second Amendment

Just like so many incidences that took so many lives of Americans in the nation's history, the shooting at Las Vegas generated a heated debate between the gun-control proponents and the gun-rights proponents. These exchanges fail to yield any change that could be termed fundamental. All discussions in the country as far as gun control and ownership is concerned always find its rest in The Second Amendment.

Once the matter gets at the texts in the constitution, the discussion ends. The constitution terminates...

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