The Moral Argument Against Gun Control

courtesy Facebook.com

By GWally

As a lifelong gun owner I have heard many different arguments both for and against gun control. Most arguments in favor of gun control cite crime/homicide statistics or make emotional pleas, while most arguments against gun control mention the 2nd Amendment and government tyranny.

While using the 2nd Amendment as a part of the argument against gun control is valid, the people who argue for gun control generally either believe (incorrectly) that the 2nd Amendment is about muskets and militias or they deny its legitimacy entirely. I believe there is an argument against gun control that is more simple, logical, and irrefutable.

Before we get to the actual argument, I want to note the difference between the verbs “murder” and “kill.” Both definitions are taken from Google’s reply to “define: word.”

kill (verb)
1. cause the death of (a person, animal, or other living thing).
2. put an end to or cause the failure or defeat of (something).

murder (verb)
kill (someone) unlawfully and with premeditation.

Since these two words are central to the argument, it is important to point out the distinction: that murder is unlawful (or unjustified) killing. I know everyone who reads this site knows the difference, but if we are debating this topic with anti-gun folks, it helps to make sure they agree on the difference.

To determine if gun control is morally justifiable, we can start by asking a question: “is murder morally wrong?”

If the answer is “No, murder is not morally wrong,” then you have no moral right to take any kind of weapon from anyone. If murder is not morally wrong, how could murdering someone with a particular weapon be morally wrong? End of debate. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. And keep your hands off my guns!

If the answer is “Yes, murder is morally wrong,” then we need to ask a second question: “is murder always morally wrong?” In other words, is there a condition under which it is morally preferred that a person be allowed to murder another individual?

I think everyone would agree that there are numerous ways to stop a murder. I could flee the scene, or I could call for help, and both of those could stop a murderer from succeeding, but let’s assume there is no escape route and no one to call. If all other avenues are unavailable, and the only way to prevent being murdered is to kill the murderer, then that has to be morally justified because it is stopping a murder, right? Are there other limitations? Can I kill the murderer by electrocuting him? Can I push him in front of a train or off the roof of a building? Am I allowed to kill him with a revolver? How about a semi-automatic pistol? Machine gun?

If there are conditions under which murder is morally preferred over a person’s means of defense, the answer must be “no, murder is not always morally wrong.” This leads us back to the negative answer for the first question. If we cannot say murder is always wrong, then we can say only that murder is sometimes wrong and sometimes not wrong, or in other words, sometimes murder is morally good. If some murders are morally good, the tool used to commit those murders is inconsequential and irrelevant. End of debate. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. And keep your hands off my guns!

If, however, the answer is “yes, murder is always morally wrong,” then killing in self-defense to prevent a murder must necessarily be a moral good.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

If we agree that murder is morally wrong and killing in self-defense is morally good, then restrictions on what tool is used to kill a murderer are morally unjustifiable. Restrictions on the tool create conditions under which the murder is morally preferred, leading us back to the negative response to the second question.

All weapons (see note below) must be allowed because murder is either morally wrong or not. Either self-defense is morally good or murder is morally good. In either case there is no moral justification for telling me what gun or accessory I can own (e.g., giggle switches, short barrels, bump stocks, barrel shrouds, suppressors, pistol grips, high-capacity magazine clippy things, or bayonet lugs). End of debate. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. And keep your hands off my guns!

Using the 2nd Amendment as an argument against gun control works only with those who accept its validity, so no matter how many times we try, that argument will never work on the anti-gun crowd. In my opinion, this argument is simpler and does not depend on one’s interpretation or acceptance of the 2nd Amendment.

 

Note: I believe individual use–notice I said use, not ownership–of bombs and WMD’s as a means of self-defense is a different debate and would not necessarily be covered by this argument. Such weapons cannot discriminate between innocent bystanders and attackers and would likely lead to unlawfully killing–i.e., murdering–innocent people to stop a murder.

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    This post made my hair hurt. What’s up next — a discussion of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    Morality is a value system and everyone is entitled to his or her own. Legality is a whole different kettle of fish.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      I fail to see your problem here.

      If morality is subjective, and each individual can determine their own, then there’s no basis for gun control.

      If murder is objectively morally wrong, and preventing it is objectively morally right, the means by which one prevents it are moot.

      Your personal views on morality have a no bearing on the argument, as all contingencies are covered.

    2. avatar Arizona Free says:

      To finally put this question to rest it’s eleven. Yes I’ve counted.

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        I always thought it was 42, just like everything else.

        Do you have your towel?

    3. avatar mark s says:

      Legalities are moral based and some moral values are ( self evident ) and upheld by such a high percentage of humanity that they be considered universal to species . Murder and self defense are two such moral values. The fact that humans have created oral or written addendum’s to them and degrees of punitive and compensatory damages does not unsubscribe the moral from the legal , they are inherently connected .

  2. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

    The issue is and has always been about control. They cannot control and enslave us as long as we keep our guns. (wolves/armed sheep discussing lunch). There are no arguments that the would be slave masters will accept. I am truly fearful that we will see a new civil war within the next few months. They will start it, if they haven’t already.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      “Kill a commie for mommy” – Johnny Ramone

    2. avatar Mkichael says:

      I agree Worldy mankind will not acknowledge, that man is inherently evil. Its food for thought, Knowledge of Morality given to us by Divine Intervention is Power.to know the law. It is an individual responsibility and right to read the laws daily while carrying and what you say or not say when in confronting a self-defense scene. live and to defend one’s own life regardless of the Tool he or she uses.
      I have watched enough aftermath videos and emotional stories that it takes time to know you did the right thing to kill in self-defense.

      My Knowledge when Jesus commanded his DISCIPLES, to arm themselves and the rest is history, what they endured to get the knowledge out to their fellow human beings.SALVATION is just not for the soul but to survive what evil comes their way to keep the mission going.

  3. avatar Drew says:

    This is an important argument against pro gun control as the pro control side usually tries to argue from a place a moral superiority, ala, “for the children.” The 2nd amendment does not indicate WHY it is morally valid, only that there should be no restrictions (well, none of the amendments provide moral arguments. those are all in the letters and the correspondence among the framers, which are conveniently ignored by leftists.)

    I think this is an excellent argument to take away moral superiority or mah feelz.

  4. avatar Defens says:

    Great logical construct for a philosophy class. Unfortunately, my TL;DR meter started chirping about halfway through. Even if the argument is sound, how does it address those who want to ban various classes of guns and/or accessories because they believe it will prevent murder or mass murder? It’s kind of hard to claim a need for a bump stock as an anti-murder accessory.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      I think it is useful to separate the discussions of “an effective means of self-defense” from a discussion of “arms” protected under the 2A. Unless the discussion is somehow partitioned into discrete components the results are nothing other than chaos.

      Can we discuss the discrete problem of an ordinary human in a public place using some means of self defense? Does she have a right? How about, to a: pepper spray; stun-gun; derringer; revolver; semi-auto handgun? If the answer is “No to each and every one” then that’s one conclusion. If the answer is “Yes, to each and every one” then we have made some progress.

      How about a spray canister containing acid, poison gas, some deadly organism such as was used on Russians in London? That might be a discrete sub-discussion.

      How about a hand-grenade? A pressure-cooker bomb? Another discrete sub-discussion.

      Turning to the definition of “arms” in the 2A, we can leave-behind the vulnerable woman in New York City. Now, we are talking about the “security of a free state”. How might a hand-grenade contribute to the efficacy of a well-regulated militia? Can we have that discussion?

      If we can have such separate, discrete, discussions and achieve some results, then – and only thereafter – could we discuss whether there is any 2A right or public-safety utility to having a vulnerable woman carry a hand-grenade to a forum where a politician might be giving a speech. There is little hope for resolving this third question before first archiving some useful results from both of the first two.

  5. avatar Kevin says:

    Killing and murder has nothing to do with it. It’s about stopping someone from harming another. If there were Star Trek phasers that always worked on “stun,” there would be no reason to switch them to “kill.”

    Stopping is self defense. Killing is incidental to stopping. It’s a predictable consequence of using deadly force in self defense, but not an intended one.

    No righteous self-defender wants to kill, just to stop. If the severity of the threat justifies or requires deadly force to stop it, then so be it.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Most arguments in favor of gun control … make emotional pleas …

    … there is an argument against gun control that is … logical, and irrefutable.

    I hope all readers can see the basic problem here.

    Make no mistake: countering deeply emotional positions with logic will result in colossal failure. A person who happily drives cars and who has a deeply irrational fear of flying does not care that you are 100,000 times less likely to experience a plane crash than a car crash: they will NOT get on an airplane. No amount of logic, in the form of facts and figures and the engineering and air traffic control that goes into flying is going to matter to such a person.

    Likewise, no amount of logic will convince gun-grabbers to embrace firearm ownership. Gun-grabbers will, without any hesitation or reservations whatsoever, redefine any words to suit their agenda — including the definition of murder.

    1. avatar mark s says:

      This observation can be found in the complete and utter disregard for human life , by the same people who want to disarm you , when they disregard any form of killing a human a baby in or near a woman’s womb , as murder . Logic and common sense fall conveniently to the curb when their agenda is in any way compromised .

  7. avatar anonymoose says:

    According to current Democrat dogma, it’s totally okay to kill right-wingers and f—ing white males. Nope, not murder at all. They deserve it. 🙂

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    This is a fantastic argument for people who have the highest regard for logic and timeless standards (e.g. murder is always wrong).

    As I stated today on this and other posts, the trouble is that many/most gun-grabbers have ZERO regard for logic and timeless standards. They only care about their emotional position and will warp reality as necessary to accommodate their emotional position.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    For reference I am preparing to formally present a similar argument to my church which currently does not welcome anyone (even law enforcement officers) being armed.

    I am actually taking the argument one step further: anyone who binds me to a condition which guarantees that an attacker can kill me is an accessory to murder if someone murders me in that bound condition.

    Thus if these conditions are true:
    (1) My church prohibits me from being armed.
    (2) Being unarmed guarantees that an attacker can murder me.
    (3) I would otherwise be armed.
    (4) Someone murders me while I am unarmed in church.
    Then my church leadership are accessories to murder which is, of course, an indefensible position (especially for a church).

    1. avatar Craig says:

      “My church prohibits me from being armed.”

      It’s also unBiblical from both the OT and the NT. If you would like to read a paper that I put together on the subject for my pastor, please drop me a line at tinkshotatyahoodotcom.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Thank you for the offer Craig. I just sent a message to you.

        1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          Here’s what I wrote on the subject six years ago. I also have a WordPress site where I might have updated this, I’ll have to check. In the meantime…

          https://www.facebook.com/notes/danny-griffin/should-christians-carry-firearms/2511795810577/

    2. avatar mark s says:

      Only if you are abducted against your will and forced ( unarmed ) into the building you refer to as church , could you have legal ramifications in this apparent dilemma .
      If I were a judge hearing your case as you have presented it , I would advise you to seek out another church .

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    By the way this reminds me of a gun-grabber counter-argument to the simple logical argument in this article.

    Gun grabbers will claim that enabling widespread firearm ownership equips murderers to murder and is therefore murder (or at least accessory to murder).

  11. avatar Bob Watson says:

    The “moral” reasoning of anti-civil rights bigots is not that sophisticated.
    1) Weapons are designed to kill or injure people.
    2) Killing or injuring people is wrong.
    3) People should not be permitted to have weapons.
    If you are intent on having a “conversation” with these people, keep it simple-minded. Something along the lines of “peek-a-boo” would be appropriate. Anything more complex than that will be a waste of time.

  12. avatar Marty says:

    The Author is using the wrong word. Murder is always morally wrong. Homicide is not. There is justified homicide and there is murder. Justified homicide as in self defense or the defense of another. There is homicide (as in murder) which is not justified. There is homicide with no intention, such as vehicular homicide where the person drives drunk or commits a traffic violation resulting in a death of another person. There is a huge difference between murder which is always a crime, and homicide which may not be a crime.

  13. avatar Anymouse says:

    Poor argument – morality is subjective. There are those that are opposed to killing for any reason. They would rather suffer an unjust murder of themselves and their loved ones, and accept their eternal reward, than risk taking the life of their attacker. By their thinking, eliminating weapons is highly moral. Your arguments are immoral to them. Christian sects can’t even agree whether they are prohibited from “kill[ing]” or “murder[ing]”. They can’t agree whether they should sell their cloaks and buy swords, or beat their swords into plowshares.

    1. avatar mark s says:

      Yes , but whether or not a group of people disagree with another group of people over issues of MISINFORMATION or MISUNDERSTANDING does not alter the truth . Truth is truth . Some groups of Christians still handle snakes and drink poisons to show their faith in Christ over Lucifer’s powers , some baptize infants , some stipulate baptism before age of seven , some insist it must come with confession and others argue over complete or partial immersion , there are countless issues of disagreement . Pacifism isn’t a Christian sacrament and a ‘ sect ‘ can arguably be said to be anti-Christian so perhaps you were referring to Christian denominations as having differing biblical Hermeneutics on the taking of human life . It is truth that Jesus did not address the issue of pacifism as it is defined by Webster . Jesus spoke about love and forgiveness and how humans should treat other humans but would most assuredly have answered such a divisive question like the Jew that He was , with another question of His own . Very early on Christians were electing to accept a form of pacifism , as their choice , as was declared by Irenaeus of Lyons sometime around 170 CE , so the concept is certainly long standing associated with the faith . Anabaptist , Mennonites , etc. notwithstanding the most advanced language translation deciphers , still prefer to administrate their lives according to the hermeneutics of their ancestors rather on truths . These differences may have and do still create doubters to be emboldened and believers to argue among one another , but the entirety of the Christian concept is actually very , very simple . Mark 12:30-31. This is the absolute pinnacle of morality .

  14. avatar Justsomeguy says:

    A simpler version: Government has no duty to protect me as an individual, therefore if I am to be protected, it is up to me and I need the tools to do so.

    Would you guys please get a decent commenting system?

    1. avatar mark s says:

      You have actually landed point blank on the very crux of this whole issue , realizing it or not , and it is this .
      If one is to follow , that by disarming the citizenry of a municipality , state or nation , the entity doing the disarming accepts legal responsibility for protecting the citizenry it has disarmed , then legal recourse should be allowed and in fact morally encouraged and perhaps required , against the protector , in some compensatory or punitive actions .
      This is not a feasible scenario in any way and the legal entanglements would easily bankrupt any government.

  15. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    Too many words…. Geez come to a point. It clearly states “Shall not be infringed”. That’s all I need to know. Or the only thing any other law abiding adult citizen in this country needs to know. If you want that changed get a 2/3 vote in both House’s of Congress and 2/3 of the States to ratify a change in the Constitution. While you’re in there do something about Term Limits for all the criminals in DC. Because all this is just a whole lot of hot air otherwise. Getting kind of sick of all the bloviating a subject when everyone with anything over a 90 IQ knows it isn’t ever going to happen. There’s just too much money to be made the way it is.

  16. avatar Bernie Behling says:

    You first define “murder” and then later in building your argument you completely ignore that definition and treat it the same as “killing”. If your argument had been an actual firearm I believe you would have just shot yourself in the foot.

    Articles like these would also get a better reception from people like me if the author didn’t choose to hide behind a silly pen name, “Gee Wally”. It’s hard to take an author seriously when they don’t have the willingness to use their real name.

  17. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    Simply put. If guns are somehow banned in this country and are eliminated we will become a nation of the law of the fittest. Which means the biggest baddest person on your block will eventually own everything you and your neighbors have. I know that, you know that and the authorities know that. The violent crime rates will sky rocket to levels never seen in this country. Guns in general serve realistically only one purpose, they are the great equalizer. They make a 90 pound 80 year old grandmother the equal to the 280 pound 25 year old male crackhead. There is no moral purpose to eliminate guns. It always amazes me that the same people that justify the murder of 70+ million souls since 1973 as a result of abortion freak out about 6-7 thousand legitimate unlawful murders a year when most of them are committed by gang on gang violence. Realistically 6-7 thousand out of a population of 330+ million people is an infinitesimal percentage of the population.

  18. avatar Free Texas says:

    I agree that it is a mistake to go to the 2A first. However, I would simplify this moral argument. “Is it immoral to disarm the innocent in a violent world? Is it not also foolish to do so in the name of protecting the innocent?” Then quote CDC and FBI stats that reveal how much more often firearms are used defensively (to protect the innocent) than they are used criminally (to victimize the innocent). If that fails, they cannot be reasoned with.

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