Should civilians be prohibited from owning firearms?

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Should civilians be prohibited from owning firearms?[edit | edit source]

Firearms ownership by civilians is prohibited or restricted in some nations [1]. Should civilians be prohibited from owning firearms?

Arguments for[edit | edit source]

  • Argument for Countries like Australia and Japan have seen their crime rates drop significantly after enacting such a law, so firearms ownership should be prohibited.
    • Objection Civilian firearm ownership empowers the public and deters abuses. It is complacent, historically ignorant and myopic to presume that such abuses can never happen to oneself in one's own nation. For many people, protecting liberty is more imperative than reducing crime. Though I resent crime, it is part of human nature. I do not want to live in a society with zero crime or zero accidents, as there are no apparent means of achieving this that aren't Orwellian, dehumanizing, or otherwise anti-social themselves. Humans are fallible, and just as one must accept the possibility of getting into an automobile accident while driving, one must accept a certain amount of crime. The media's fearmongering is cancerous. In a world with several billion people, there will always be a tragedy going on somewhere. The media exploits this to make people more suspicious of their neighbors than of politicians and their fell designs.
    • Objection In Australia, though crime involving a firearm dropped drastically, most crime did not. Murder and armed robbery rates in Australia increased slightly after its extensive buy-back program in 1997. Japan has never enacted comparable legislation. So, this argument does not support the idea of prohibition.
    • Objection Demographics might be a better explanation for the supposed drops in homicides by firearms, such as w:Legalized abortion and crime effect and/or w:Lead–crime hypothesis. Also medicine might have skewed results: e.g. the gun shot that might have killed someone in 1985 might not have killed a person in 2015 due to improvements in medicine.
      • Objection While we should thank doctors and other medical workers for saving lives, guns hurt their victims, nor is it an either/or: we can maintain and improve medicine while banning guns.
  • Argument for Firearms enable people to more easily become murderers, kidnappers, and pose other threats.
    • Objection As do many other useful tools. This is not a reason to prohibit civilian ownership of firearms in and of itself.
      • Objection However, other useful tools do have more uses other than killing or threat. For example knives are used to cook and screwdrivers to build, while the end itself of firearms is to damage others. Excluded in this argument is the practice of shooting for sport or food.
        • Objection Is deadly force not sometimes an appropriate measure? Also, civilian gun ownership is likely a deterrent against abuses of power and authority. The historical record bears many examples of such abuse for practically every century of recorded history. To think that such things cannot happen in one's own nation, that things cannot change, is rank, abject complacence.
        • Objection Guns are needed in some sports, for hunting, and protection against wt:varmints. There are many gun collectors who don't want to give up their guns, much less know they'll be destroyed: guns such as possible Tommy guns (last built in 1945), FP-45 Liberators, pre-WWI w:M1911 pistols, w:M1819 Hall rifles, arquebuses, or other antiques they might have.
          • Objection We can make exceptions for the above: e.g. hunters prove rural residences, sportspeople keep and use their guns at licensed ranges, those needing protection get letters from the police or similar. As for collectors, maybe grandfather such in for present owners and after they pass, such will go to places such as museums.
            • Objection Hunting is hardly the only reason one must have the right to bear arms, as evidenced by other arguments. Bearing arms does not mean leaving them in the custody of the state or a state-approved range.

Arguments against[edit | edit source]

  • Argument against Civilians are no less justified in owning firearms than any military. Despite that millions more people have been killed by armies, such as the US military killing millions of people in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined, or the Russian military propping up the Assad regime and invading Georgia and Ukraine, few argue against the US and Russia having armies.
    • Objection In fact, if military power is so abusive in most wars, it would be necessary to discuss whether armies should exist or not. Some who argue against civilian gun ownership also argue against having armies.
      • Objection You appear to be suggesting that one must refute the necessity of standing armies in the first place to support this argument. This is a non-sequitur.
    • Objection An army or even the police "needs" weapons in order to perform its duties, while civilians do not need weapons in their daily life.
      • Objection The majority of police officers have never used their service pistol in their entire career, much less daily. The average sportsman uses a gun much more frequently than the average policeman. People need food, shelter and water. The "needs" argument tends to be used dishonestly and for lack of a more substantive justification for prohibition. It is question-begging: only people in authority need x and they need x because they are in authority.
  • Argument against Firearms enable people to defend their home and family from murderers, kidnappers, and other threats, including foreign armies. Millions of Ukrainian citizens have left their country due to the war there. Would this be the case if Ukrainian citizens were well-armed? They have relaxed gun control after the fact, but obviously it's better to be prepared in the first place.
    • Objection In a civilized country, guaranteeing the physical integrity of its inhabitants should be in the hands of the State and not of each individual.
      • Objection Many things are provided to the citizens by the State in many countries: in some cases a country's constitution might require such (such as court-appointed attorneys free of charge for defendants who can't afford them), however, many people provide such for themselves.
      • Objection "and not of each individual": few are suggesting such, but rather the right for people, be they a great majority, a modest majority, a significant minority, or an individual to provide for their or wt:thons own defense.
  • Argument against The constitution of the United States includes firearms ownership because its creators understood that putting too much power into too few people (the military) generally does not sustain a just and democratic government. Likewise, a monopoly on the use of force will nearly always be abused. In essence, civilian gun ownership results in a more uniform distribution of power among individuals in any given nation.
    • Objection We're not too sure of that as (Larry King often put it in his radio shows that) the 2nd amendment is poorly written.
      • Objection You haven't addressed the point.
      • Objection Maybe there are state constitutions that have better written clauses and/or amendments on gun ownership.
  • Argument against Firearms enable civilians to defend themselves from their own government, if it ever turns into a police state.
    • Objection Non-violent resistance can be as effective as violent resistance, and less lethal.
      • Objection Non-violent resistance is preferable if it works, but the use of force is the basis of authority.
    • Objection Household weapons are no real defense against an organized police state backed by the army.
      • Objection The point is not waging a war of attrition against the entire military, but having the means to hold our government accountable, deter them from abusing their power, and being able to defend ourselves in the event the state is either unwilling or unable to do so at any given point in time. This isn't to suggest that anyone should resort to violence, but that firearms are an effective deterrent against various abuses.
      • Objection Some Afghanis, Kurds, Karens, Somalis, Irish, and others might differ with that statement.
  • Argument against A complete ban on civilians owning firearms goes far beyond what is required to achieve a decent reduction of killing by them. One only needs to follow the model of those European countries where firearms are not banned but rather much more regulated than in the United States.
    •  Comment This is an argument in favor of prohibition rather than an argument against it.

See also[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  1. "Overview of gun laws by nation". Wikipedia. 2022-11-02.