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I apologize for the lengthiness of this post, but it's something that I have studied a lot lately and to which I have given a lot of thought. Read on if you are interested in the title, if not, I wish you a good day. The framework for this post comes from Stefan Molyneux of Freedoman Radio. If you are interested in philosophy and how it affects things such as morality and government, I recommend you check him out. He is fairly radical, but at the very least he makes you think about your own position. I think we can all agree that is a good thing. I just want to make sure I put credit where it is due, as this is basically plagiarized from one of his podcasts. I just think it is important to spread this kind of thinking in the pro-gun ownership community. In this post I will discuss the philosophical question of "is gun ownership morally justifiable, or is it morally unacceptable."

Typically arguments for or against firearm ownership take place utilizing two types of arguments, the argument from effect and the fallacious appeal to authority.

The argument from effect is where both sides spar by presenting statistics which support their position. Fundamentally, this results in a stalemate. The reason for this is that there are too many factors which can affect things like crime rates, murder statistics, and the other measures on which these arguments are based. Essentially, both sides can claim correlation, but the burden of proof for causation is very high and nigh impossible with statistical calculations that have so many factors (especially when we are talking about human behavior). The argument from effect can be fun to engage in, but ultimately is a waste of time and counter-productive. The anti-gun crowd will always seek out studies that justify their position (even if the methods by which the study is performed are questionable, as is usually the case), and will continue to hold their beliefs and probably even stronger so after the argument.

I refuse to discuss the Second Amendment in a debate about gun control. Pointing to the Second Amendment is an appeal to authority, and is a fallacious argument when used as the only justification for behavior. Don't fall into this trap, it makes the person positing the argument look backwards, stupid, and unable to form reasonable arguments for their position.

Instead, the most preferable way to engage in these types of discussions is through the argument for morality. Human beings, for the most part, are swayed by morality as they want to believe they are doing the right thing. The branch of philosophy wherein the rightness and wrongness of actions is discussed is Ethics. Philosophy has verifiable rules, and everything must be logical or it must be dismissed.

First, the existence of universally preferable behavior must be established. This is a fairly simple task. Typically the only roadblock to this is a person who believes in subjective morality which varies by time, place, and culture. This position is easily refuted. Subjective morality has a position that there are no universal ethical rules, and that the rules change from time to time and place to place. This is itself a contradiction. One cannot logically claim that there is a universal moral rule that there are no universal moral rules. I have also come across people that don't believe morality exists at all, as ridiculous as it sounds. This is easily refuted by using their own position. If they believe in gun control, then they must believe that there are rules for preferable human behavior. Rules for preferable human behavior are moral rules by definition, and therefore morality must exist.

Next comes the verification of the person's position, or definition. Definition is a wonderful thing, because as Socrates said, once you have definition you can really start messing with people's minds. First we will start with the extreme position, and then I will present the logical response to each position. Remember, we are looking for a universal rule for preferable behavior, key word being universal.

"Gun ownership is morally wrong." This position also includes "guns should be banned."
Great, gun ownership is morally wrong. Therefore, take away everybody's guns. We can live in a violence free society, there will be no war, and we can go ahead and disband the police and the military, or at least just take away their guns and give them instruction books on negotiation tactics. This argument is an uncommon one, but people need to at least have the logical counterpoint presented in order to address the second which will arise after people are presented with the logical extension of their sweeping position.

"We can't disband the police or the military! Who will protect us? The police need guns!"
This is a fascinating position. In order for there to be a universal moral rule that the police should be the only ones with guns, there needs to be some kind of justifiable, demonstrable difference between the military and the rest of the population. What is it about the police that makes a moral justification for them having a monopoly on gun ownership? Are they morally superior? Clearly not, police corruption is a major problem. Are they biologically different? No, they have essentially the same genetic code as the rest of us. What about when they are off duty, on vacation, or retired? This creates a situation where the moral nature of a human's behavior varies based on time. I addressed this above, moral behavior cannot vary with time because you have constructed a situation where there is a universal moral rule that changes constantly. That isn't how universality works. Regardless, the fact is that the moral and ethical character of the people that supposedly need guns is no different than that of the majority of society.

People will make the argument that the police need guns, because they need some way to enforce the moral rule that guns are morally wrong. This argument is contradictory. It boils down to "guns are good to own, because guns are bad to own."

They also argue that the police need guns to protect themselves against criminals. So protecting yourself against criminals is good. So if protecting yourself against criminals is good, it is good for not only the police but also for private citizens. You cannot claim that self defense is morally justifiable for one person, but not for another. Therefore, gun ownership for citizens cannot be morally wrong.

Next, some crazy people will claim that self defense is morally wrong. To this assertion, the simple response is to demand that the person give you their wallet or you will get really mad. If they refuse, then they are hypocrite. Clearly if they will defend themselves against your request for their property, then self defense is morally justifiable and they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Conclusion
People cannot make a logical argument that is not one of "gun ownership is morally wrong" or "gun ownership is morally acceptable." When we are talking about law, we can't make decisions based on the opinion "I don't like guns." That is like making a law based on the opinion that "I think Kate Upton is really hot." Moral rules are universal, and categorizing people based on things like working for the State makes no sense. You do not change the moral character of a human being when you have them put on a costume. When you start making laws based on logically unjustified position then millions of people tend to end up killed.
 

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"Next, some crazy people will claim that self defense is morally wrong."
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We're starting to hear that already with the masses calling for repeals of SYG and other self-defense laws. Apparently they believe that law-abiding citizens must have a duty to retreat, and a moral responsibility not to own/carry firearms while criminals have neither. That's crazy!!!
 

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I will engage in the Socratic method in order to strengthen our pro gun stance.

Police have guns, but they have more extensive training and background checks (psych eval). So (says the anti-gunner) you can have a gun if you pay for the psych eval and police academy equivalent training.

The military is morally and genetically equal to the People, but they have tanks, rocket launchers and nukes. Should we all have access to that?

**you have the beginning of a strong argument. I think it can be focused and made stronger. I wouldn't discount the 2A and the philosophy behind it.
 

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Solid arguments, but referring to the Second Amendment, if argued properly, does not make you backwards. If you are able to understand and articulate the basic concept of rule of law properly, your opponent will be the one who is exposed as being completely backwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will engage in the Socratic method in order to strengthen our pro gun stance.

Police have guns, but they have more extensive training and background checks (psych eval). So (says the anti-gunner) you can have a gun if you pay for the psych eval and police academy equivalent training.
This is always an interesting position, because many police (not all, but many) have less training than many private gun owners. But of course in that case we are talking about specific groups, and that isn't a cogent argument for universality. The philosophical problem with this position is that moral truth does not care whether you are trained or whether you have had a psychological evaluation. Nothing about my biology or moral character changes during a training course. As for psychological issues, if we accept that there is something materially or morally different about people with these types of problems then we must also accept that we are not, in fact, dealing with people at all. If gun ownership is moral, it must be moral for all. Moral rules need not always lead to rosy outcomes, and may not make us comfortable.

An important thing of note, is that this argument also leads to the illogical conclusion that untrained or psychologically impaired people do not have the right to self defense with all possible tools. This is rather absurd, as we do not see these things in the natural world. A lion doesn't lose its right to defend itself with its claws because it is young or "untrained." It also does not lose its right to defend itself with its claws if it is a "psychologically distrurbed lion" (if such a thing can exist).

The military is morally and genetically equal to the People, but they have tanks, rocket launchers and nukes. Should we all have access to that?
Ah, the famous nuclear argument. This is a large point of contention even among the pro-2A people. There are two essential questions here. One is whether "certain property is either morally justifiable to own or morally wrong to own." I would argue that simply based on both the argument for morality these types of weapons are not morally wrong for private citizens to own. Universal morality does not allow for categorization of people into groups with separate moral standards. While this is a fair effective argumentative tactic in practice, it suffers from the fallacy of appeal to emotion, specifically fear.

**you have the beginning of a strong argument. I think it can be focused and made stronger. I wouldn't discount the 2A and the philosophy behind it.
I like it when people play devil's advocate, so no harm done. I think it's a discussion that has to be had among people like us.

Many anti-gun arguments that a put forward require a position of moral relativism (setting up different rules for different groups of people), which I broadly addressed in the OP. They also hinge on an argument of appeal to the emotion of fear, which is fallacious. Fear is not necessarily reason, it is just a primal fight or flight response to a perceived threat, whether real or imagined.

Solid arguments, but referring to the Second Amendment, if argued properly, does not make you backwards. If you are able to understand and articulate the basic concept of rule of law properly, your opponent will be the one who is exposed as being completely backwards.
I didn't really say that it makes you backwards, I meant that it makes you sound backwards in the eyes of the person with which you disagree. I agree with this statement, but since 2A is founded on philosophical ethics, I feel it is preferable to cut straight to the argument rather than discuss the amendment itself.
 

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Actually it is very easy to argue that morality is subjective and situation conditional. Is it wrong to kill a person? Yes, unless it is in self-defense or defense of others. Is it wrong to steal? Yes, unless you have no choice to feed your family. Is it wrong to lie? Yes, unless you most to protect your family, or country, or... For every universal moral imperative you can find exceptions, there for there are no universal moral imperatives.

You start off talking about the "appeal to authority" logic fallacy and yet, fall to multiple other logic fallacies; reductio ad absurdum, illicit negative, alternative syllogism, asserting the consequent, appeal to consequences of a belief, just to name to a few.

Destroying anti-gun arguments is not that complicated. As gun ownership has increased in the United States, murders and violent crime as decreased; egro, gun are not the cause of either. A firearm is a tool with no control of how it will be used, just as a hammer can be used to build, it can also be used to harm, a gun can be used to protect or harm, the use to determined by the human, not the tool. There are a little over 11,000 murders using firearms per year and it is believed that over 500,000 violent crimes yearly are prevented every year by using a firearm to defend themselves.

If that is not enough to destroy their arguments, they are not going to listen to anything you have to say and you are wasting your breath.
 

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"Next, some crazy people will claim that self defense is morally wrong."
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We're starting to hear that already with the masses calling for repeals of SYG and other self-defense laws. Apparently they believe that law-abiding citizens must have a duty to retreat, and a moral responsibility not to own/carry firearms while criminals have neither. That's crazy!!!
Uhhh the loons already have, Obama Hat-Wearing Anti-Gun Protester Says She?d Rather Be Murdered Than Use a Gun in Self-Defense | Video | TheBlaze.com
 

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I appreciate the intellectual argument and logic that the original poster offered for our consideration.

However, IMO self defense is not only a right it is a moral responsibility. To deny yourself or your loved ones of self defense is morally and ethically reprehensible and irresponsible bordering on intentional neglect. In the past the best tools for self defense ranged from clubs, knives, swords, bows and arrows etc. In today's society, in most cases the best way to provide yourself and your loved ones with the appropriate level of self defense is the ownership of a firearm.

Legally registered and used in the proper way and with the appropriate amount of skill, discretion and responsibility self defense using a firearm is both ethically and morally justifiable.

More importantly it needs to remain a viable choice that you, as an individual, are able to make.

It is at least one area where Pro-Choice actually makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Actually it is very easy to argue that morality is subjective and situation conditional. Is it wrong to kill a person? Yes, unless it is in self-defense or defense of others. Is it wrong to steal? Yes, unless you have no choice to feed your family. Is it wrong to lie? Yes, unless you most to protect your family, or country, or... For every universal moral imperative you can find exceptions, there for there are no universal moral imperatives.
I would argue differently, on pretty much all of these. It's a manner of perspective, however.

"Is it wrong to kill a person?"
This is asking the incorrect question. The correct question is "is the initiation of force immoral?" It is important to remember, I am talking about the initiation of force, not force itself.
"Is it wrong to steal? Yes, unless you have no choice to feed your family."
Disagreed. It is wrong to steal another person's property, full stop, no caveats. The simple fact that your family is starving does not make it moral to take the fruits of another person's labor. Moral rules do not necessitate rosy outcomes. If your family is starving, then you either need to trade labor for food or you need to ask for voluntary charity.
"Is it wrong to lie? Yes, unless you most to protect your family, or country"
Where is the proof that it is morally wrong to lie? This must be proven, and cannot be accepted as fact simply because people don't like liars. Lying itself has no moral value, in my opinion, unless the lie deprives another of their property. Telling a person my name is Ted, when it is not in fact Ted, is not morally wrong. However, in this case it is not the lie that is the moral issue, but rather the deprivation of another's property rights.

You start off talking about the "appeal to authority" logic fallacy and yet, fall to multiple other logic fallacies; reductio ad absurdum, illicit negative, alternative syllogism, asserting the consequent, appeal to consequences of a belief, just to name to a few.
Care to give the examples of each? Perhaps the argument can be improved, or I can attempt to point out where your assertion that I committed a fallacy is not in fact the case.

Destroying anti-gun arguments is not that complicated. As gun ownership has increased in the United States, murders and violent crime as decreased; egro, gun are not the cause of either. A firearm is a tool with no control of how it will be used, just as a hammer can be used to build, it can also be used to harm, a gun can be used to protect or harm, the use to determined by the human, not the tool. There are a little over 11,000 murders using firearms per year and it is believed that over 500,000 violent crimes yearly are prevented every year by using a firearm to defend themselves.

If that is not enough to destroy their arguments, they are not going to listen to anything you have to say and you are wasting your breath.
While I agree that the argument from effect for gun ownership has a strong case, there needs to be other ways to go about the argument. This is just one of them. Sometimes you need to teach people to think.
 

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Crime statistics include idiots that should not own guns, gang bangers shooting each other, and criminals shooting innocent people; I am none of those.
Statistics can be manipulated to show whatever to want, they likely include police shootings and legal SD when citing numbers for "gun violence".
Ultimately, I am responsible for my and my families safety; any attack, assault, robbery, car-jacking, ect... will likely be over before the police arrive.

Morally speaking, no one but me or God has the right to end my life.
My access to a firearm may be the sole determining factor in whether a nut job or low-life POS ends it for me.
 

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Truth as expressed by the Trancendental will exist within or without the rule of law. Everything concerning the Rule of Law as expressed by the practical or the Trancendental within a free society is open for debate. It will be what we say it is within The Law and by trial and Court ruling when necessary.

The rhetoric, both Trancendental and practical, surrounding the right to self defense and the use of force is as old as the taboo against murder itself. The Founders understood this and we should too.
 
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Long post? Where OP? You've obviously never read something by Con-Sig-Cor or Breacher over at http://AWellRegulatedMilitia.com have you?:blink: Now those 2 guys are long winded.
 

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That is much more civil than my usual tactic of stating that my Mother advised me not to argue with cretins.
 

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I don't get philosophical, or get into long winded debates, I'll leave that to the more educated members of the group. I simply know that I own guns, I have a right to own guns under the 2nd Amendment of The Constitution, I have a license to CC, and I am responsible with my guns and my rights. My guns have never been fired in anger and I hope they never are, but when it comes to defending me or my family I will not hesitate to use them.

As for the discussion at hand, I feel you cannot persuade someone who has their mind made up, it then turns into an argument and separates the groups further as is being done in the U.S. today.
 

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I'm confident that when the question of gun control comes up in a sterile classroom or debating hall, the OP will be well-equipped to defend personal gun rights.

However, in the 'real' world of sound bites, American Idol-politics, and talking heads like Morgan and Matthews who vocally steamroll interviewees with opposing views, the logic and language presented won't stand a chance. Step back in time and ask a GI in a foxhole on Iwo Jima to have a debate on the morality of gun control with the enemy about to bayonet him. Or suggest that Daniel Pearl should have told his Pakistani kidnapers that for them to initiate violence was morally wrong.

Overall I don't question the OP's logic and philosophical stand, however, I question its utility. You may actually find some elected representatives who will listen to and understand the argument, but it'll be a cold day in a hot place when ethics and morality succeed in defeating the efforts of those who would deprive us of our weapons.

To the OP: Not to demean your elegant prose, but make it useful. Boil it down to a street-fighting level, something that will fit the sound-bite news and bumper-sticker "logic" of the other side.
 

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The military is morally and genetically equal to the People, but they have tanks, rocket launchers and nukes. Should we all have access to that?
I've had access to Nukes. The People wouldn't want one. Now a tank would be much more fun.
 
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Whenever an argument is prefaced with some variation of "I think we can all agree", it seems as though I nearly always disagree with whatever follows.
 
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