|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Gun control Gun violence Social issue|
Merino argues that religious identity influences gun control policies by evaluating the relationship between gun control policies and religion. For instance, he observes that evangelical Protestants have often been opposed to stricter rules on gun ownership, compared to other religions, even when the policies were aimed at preventing mass shootings. While this might be unsurprising owing to the fact that the study by the General Social Survey (GSS) found out that evangelical Protestants were more likely to own a gun compared to the general population, the media, and policymakers have not often paid attention to the role religion plays in gun control (Merino 2). Merino contends that theological conservatism is positively linked to handgun ownership since some religions endorse “gun empowerment” by providing teachings that encourage their believers to feel confident, safe, valuable, and responsible by owning a gun. However, not all religions oppose gun control policies since some religious traditions such as Catholics and black Protestants have often supported the implementation of stricter gun control policies (Merino 4). Therefore, the debate on gun control should not only be limited to political and cultural stimuli, since religion can also be valuable in predicting gun control attitudes and influencing the implementation of gun control measures.
Strain contends that guns are neutral objects that cannot kill people but hate kills since it is not only an emotion but also incorporates a host of violent, racist and angry subtexts that may rely on guns as rhetorical objects to unleash terror in order to obtain power and control (Strain 52). He observes that the gun is an inanimate object that does not have any moral entities on its own and can be used by the person who wields it to accomplish various end such as sports, defense or military. He reasons that since guns are neutral objects that cannot make judgements, the moral obligation of the responsible use a firearm often rests with the person who wields it. While pragmatist argue that the presence of guns often escalate the risk of death and injury, guns are crucial for paramilitary, military and law enforcement officers (Strain 55). However, Strain also ponders on some of the attitudes towards firearms that all seem to have emanated from the irresponsible use of guns. Therefore, there should be responsible reforms in gun control policies such as the mandatory background checks on gun buyers in order to ensure guns are kept away from people who may use them to hurt other people.
Merino’s and Strain’s studies help identify matters that are crucial in developing gun control policies since they expound on the factors that might trigger irresponsible use of firearm. Merino’s study helps us identify the need to impose stricter gun control measures in religious entities that promote the use of firearms as rhetorical symbols while Strain’s study helps us identify the need for ensuring guns are entrusted to the hands of people who are going to use it responsibly. The studies also implores gun control policies to be proactive in addressing underlying factors that might be contributing to rampage and rage shootings. Merino points out that religion has not often been considered when developing gun control measures and Strain points out on the need for more research in the axiology and instrumentality of firearms. This also calls for the need to revise and improve gun control measures to consider other unconventional factors. Therefore, the government and legislators should also invest in studying other underlying factors influencing mass shootings, instead of focusing on cultural and political factors, in order to develop gun control policies that address the various factors that influence irresponsible use of firearms.
Merino, Stephen. "God and Guns: Examining Religious Influences on Gun Control Attitudes in the United States." Religions, vol. 9, no. 6, 2018, p. 189.
Strain, C. B. "Evil Black guns: Hate, instrumentality, and the neutrality of firearms." Journal of Hate Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, 2013, p. 51, doi:10.33972/jhs.91.
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