Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A More Measured Gun Proposal

In my last post on the topic, I presented a radical position on gun control: We should get rid of all the guns.  The term "gun" is broad enough to make my position open to absurd readings.  Staple guns, for example, should obviously not be outlawed.  But we should, on my view, at the very least, aim to remove all handguns and assault rifles from the world.  While that is the most justifiable long-term goal I can see, it is not a practical short-term goal.  I think it's therefore important to explain my views on some of the more justifiable uses of guns--guns of the self-defensive variety, of course.

There's a good argument to be made for an armed forces.  Governments, by definition, have a monopoly on certain forms of violence.  I can see a lot of justification for keeping guns in the hands of the state, but not in the hands of private citizens.  Sure, this means the people will not have the firepower required to resist state tyranny, but handguns and assault rifles aren't enough for that nowadays, anyway.  Few, if any, in the gun debate advocate a populace as equally armed as the world's superpowers.  So why not let the police and military have guns, and make private ownership illegal?

On the other hand, I could see justification for the creation of a new class of civil servant:  private citizens who are licensed to carry and use government weapons--not for self-defense, but as a voluntary arm of the law.  Some people would thus be able to have guns without working for the state, but the guns would be owned by the state and regulated by the state.  The ownership would be based on proven capacity to uphold certain duties, as pertaining to the position of a voluntary civil servant.

Other than that, I think some guns could be justifiable for farmers, hunters and other people who sometimes have to kill livestock for their jobs.  The regulations on these guns should be similar to regulations for other dangerous, work-related machinery.

I'm open to discussion, but at the moment I don't think other private uses for guns are worth the risk.