By Robert Hanna
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Gun Crazy: A Moral Argument For Gun Abolitionism
In what follows, I argue that not only (i) owning, carrying, or using guns, but also (ii) The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, and (iii) their essential consequence, gun violence, are all rationally unjustified and immoral on broadly Kantian ethical grounds, and that therefore, (iv) Gun Abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do, by means of (iva) repealing The 2nd Amendment, and then (ivb) universally banning owning, carrying, or using guns. This argument is specific to the USA, but, just like arguments for the abolition of slavery, the argument for Gun Abolitionism smoothly generalizes to an argument for Gun Abolitionism everywhere.
II. Two Original Sins: Slavery and Gun Crazy
Framed in Biblical terms, the birth of the United States of America in 1776 was attended by two original sins. The first original sin was what John C. Calhoun later infamously called the “peculiar institution” of slavery in the USA.[i] Here, in turn, are some things that Calhoun said about slavery:
I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good — a positive good … I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe — look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse … I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.[ii]
The “peculiar institution” of slavery was of course the primary cause of the US Civil War; and although it was abolished by Lincoln in 1865, its evil consequences have been experienced throughout US history right up to today — as the 156-year-old social fact of systemic racism and the recent Black Lives Matter movement[iii] vividly demonstrate. From a broadly Kantian ethical standpoint,[iv] slavery is fundamentally morally wrong, (i) because it treats human persons as mere things, mere chattel and commodities, and thereby directly violates their human dignity,[v] and also (ii) because it is inherently coercive, insofar as it treats human persons as mere instruments to the masters/slave owners’ self-interested ends, and forces them to serve these ends by means of violence or the threat of violence, hence again it directly violates their human dignity.
And the second original sin was what I’ll call the second “peculiar institution,” or more simply, Gun Crazy, that is, the right to own, carry, or use guns,[vi] entrenched in The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1788, which says this:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Just as the essential consequence of slavery is treating people as mere instruments and mere things, and the direct violation of their human dignity via coercion, so too the essential consequence of Gun Crazy is gun violence.
Fast-forwarding now to 6am this morning, here are some contemporary facts and figures about gun violence:
Gun violence in the United States results in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries annually…. In 2018, the most recent year for which data are available as of 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics reports 38,390 deaths by firearm, of which 24,432 were by suicide….The rate of firearm deaths per 100,000 people rose from 10.3 per 100,000 in 1999 to 12 per 100,000 in 2017, with 109 people dying per day, … being 11.9 per 100,000 in 2018…. In 2010, there were 19,392 firearm-related suicides, and 11,078 firearm-related homicides in the U.S…. In 2010, 358 murders were reported involving a rifle while 6,009 were reported involving a handgun; another 1,939 were reported with an unspecified type of firearm….
About 1.4 million people have died from firearms in the U.S. between 1968 and 2011. This number includes all deaths resulting from a firearm, including suicides, homicides, and accidents….
Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related homicide rate is 25 times higher…. Although it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, among those 22 nations studied, the U.S. had 82 percent of gun deaths, 90 percent of all women killed with guns, 91 percent of children under 14 and 92 percent of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed with guns…. The ownership and regulation of guns are among the most widely debated issues in the country.
Gun violence against other persons is most common in poor urban areas and is frequently associated with gang violence, often involving male juveniles or young adult males…. Although mass shootings are covered extensively in the media, mass shootings in the United States account for only a small fraction of gun-related deaths…. School shootings are described as a “uniquely American crisis”, according to The Washington Post in 2018…. Children at U.S. schools have active shooter drills…. According to USA Today, in 2019 “about 95% of public schools now have students and teachers practice huddling in silence, hiding from an imaginary gunman.”[viii]
III. A Short But Decisive Moral Argument Against Gun Crazy and The 2nd Amendment, and For Gun Abolitionism
Correspondingly, here’s a short but decisive moral argument against Gun Crazy and The 2nd Amendment, and for Gun Abolitionism. (I’ll also provide a longer, more fully detailed, and even more decisive version of this argument in section VI below).
1. Coercion is forcing people to do things, by using violence or the threat of violence.
2. Coercion is always rationally unjustified and immoral, because it treats people as mere instruments and mere things, and directly violates their human dignity.
3. The primary function of guns is coercion and its essential consequence is gun violence.
4. Therefore, owning, carrying, or using guns — i.e., Gun Crazy — is rationally unjustified and immoral.
5. But The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution entrenches the right to own, carry, or use guns, i.e., the right to Gun Crazy.
6. Therefore, The 2nd Amendment is rationally unjustified and immoral, and should be repealed.[viii]
7. Moreover, Gun Abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do, by means of (7i) repealing The 2nd Amendment, and then (7ii) universally banning owning, carrying, or using guns.
As I mentioned in section I, this argument is of course specific to the USA, but, just like arguments for the abolition of slavery, the argument for Gun Abolitionism smoothly generalizes to an argument for Gun Abolitionism everywhere.
IV. More Facts and Figures about Gun Violence, and the Analogy Between Slavery and Gun Crazy
Have you ever wondered how many people have been killed by guns within the borders of the USA since 1776? Since 1968, more than 1.5 million people have been killed by guns. Since the American Revolution, 1.4 million people have died in wars on US soil, most of them by means of guns. So that’s close to 2.9 million people killed by guns over a discontinuous period spanning roughly only one-quarter of US political history, namely, a little over 60 years.
Now, how many people were killed by guns in the US during the 192 years between 1776 and 1968, but not in wars? Let’s say, conservatively, 3 million people. That would mean that the total number of people killed by guns in the history of the USA is roughly the same as the number of people murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, that is, somewhere between 5 and 6 million. Therefore, if Gun Crazy is not a fundamental source of human oppression in the USA, then nothing is. So I’m saying not only that slavery is fundamentally morally wrong, but also, for logically independent but also highly analogous reasons, that Gun Crazy is fundamentally morally wrong too. Therefore, just as we abolished slavery, so we should abolish owning, carrying, or using guns too.
Moreover, the morally half-hearted and politically expedient 21st century so-called “liberal” doctrine of gun-control is strictly analogous to the morally half-hearted and politically expedient pre-Civil War so-called “liberal” doctrine of abolishing slavery in all states except where it already existed. If slavery and its essential consequence, treating people like mere means and mere things, and coercing them, are morally wrong, then they are morally wrong always and everywhere, and should be abolished always and everywhere; if Gun Crazy and its essential consequence, gun violence, are wrong, then owning, carrying, or using guns is wrong always and everywhere, and should be abolished always and everywhere. The fact that some gun-owners do not actually kill other people or themselves with their guns no more morally counts against the abolition of guns than the fact that some masters/slave-owners actually treated their slaves fairly well morally counted against the abolition of slavery.
Indeed, so-called “commonsense gun-control” is precisely as morally absurd as “commonsense slavery-control” would be. “Commonsense gun-control” is just like addressing the moral scandal of slavery by banning certain kinds of especially vicious “semi-automatic” whips and chains, requiring “background checks” on prospective slave owners, and making it difficult for prospective slave owners with “mental health issues” to buy and keep slaves. Yes, “slavery reform” and “commonsense slavery-control” would “improve” the system of slavery. But the moral scandal of slavery would still exist just the same, essentially untouched. So too, “gun reform” and “commonsense gun-control” leave the moral scandal of Gun Crazy essentially untouched.
V. Trump, Gun Crazy, and Capitalism
Now here are some of the things that Donald Trump, the most recent former President of the USA — and also, not altogether coincidentally, a billionaire, demagogue, and would-be dictator by virtue of fomenting a failed coup d’état in early January 2021, hence a perfect spokesman for Gun Crazy — has said about Gun Crazy.
No limits on guns; they save lives
Q: Are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?
TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd Amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn’t have 14 or 15 people dead right now. If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no….[ix]
Make concealed-carry permits valid across all states
TRUMP: I have a concealed-carry permit that allows me to carry a concealed weapon. I took the time and the effort to get that permit because the constitutional right to defend yourself doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That doesn’t apply just to me either. It applies to all our driveways or front doors.
That’s why I’m very much in favor of making all concealed-carry permits valid in every state. Every state has its own driving test that residents have to pass before becoming licensed to drive. Those tests are different in many states, but once a state licenses you to drive, every other state recognizes that license as valid.
If we can do that for driving — which is a privilege, not a right — then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege. That seems logical to me.[x]
Now doesn’t that vividly remind you of John C. Calhoun defending slavery? And here’s something else about Trump’s defense of Gun Crazy that’s closely related to Calhoun’s defense of slavery. The gun and ammunition industry in the US is an exceptionally big capitalist enterprise, with an annual revenue of $13.5 billion USD.[xi] And doesn’t that make you wonder who really benefits from the continued existence of the second “peculiar institution,” aka Gun Crazy?
But in any case, the crucial point here for my overall argument is this: Just as, if slavery is rationally unjustified and immoral, then acquiring, selling, or buying slaves (i.e., the slave trade) is also rationally unjustified and immoral, therefore so too, if owning, carrying, or using guns is rationally unjustified and immoral, then manufacturing, selling, or buying guns or ammunition (i.e., the gun trade) is also rationally unjustified and immoral. If a certain kind of activity is inherently wrong, then capitalist trade applied to that activity is also inherently wrong, even leaving aside classical Marxist or otherwise socialist worries about capitalism.
VI. A Longer and More Fully Detailed and Even More Decisive Moral Argument Against Gun Crazy and For Gun Abolitionism
I’m now going to argue again, this time in a more fully detailed way, that not only (i) owning, carrying, or using guns, but also (ii) The 2nd Amendment, and (iii) their essential consequence, gun violence, are all rationally unjustified and immoral, and that therefore, (iv) Gun Abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do, by means of (iva) repealing The 2nd Amendment, and then (ivb) universally banning owning, carrying, or using guns. Again, although it’s obviously specific to the USA, this argument also smoothly generalizes to an argument for Gun Abolitionism everywhere.
In order to do that, however, and for clarity’s sake, I’ll quickly introduce and explicate some terminology.
All human persons, aka people, are (i) absolutely, non-denumerably infinitely, intrinsically, objectively valuable, beyond all possible economics, which means they have dignity, and (ii) autonomous rational animals, which means they can act freely for good reasons, and above all they are (iii) morally obligated to respect each other and to be actively concerned for each other’s well-being and happiness, as well as their own well-being and happiness. Therefore, it is rationally unjustified and immoral to undermine or violate people’s human dignity, under any circumstances. People have dignity as an innate endowment of their humanity. Dignity is neither a politically-created right, nor an achievement of any sort. Nor can anyone lose their dignity by thinking, choosing, or acting in a very morally or legally bad way. By coercion I mean either (i) using violence (for example, injuring, torturing, or killing) or the threat of violence, in order to manipulate people according to certain purposes of the coercer (primary coercion), or (ii) inflicting appreciable, salient harm (for example, imprisonment, termination of employment, large monetary penalties) or deploying the threat of appreciable, salient harm, even if these are not in themselves violent, in order to manipulate people according to certain purposes of the coercer (secondary coercion). So all coercion is manipulation, and, as such, it directly violates human dignity by treating people as mere means and mere things. Therefore, whether it is primary or secondary, coercion should be carefully distinguished from what I will call minimal sufficiently effective, last resort, defensive, protective, and preventive moral force, which means that it is physical violence used only as a last resort, either using the smallest sufficiently effective level of violence or threat of violence, or deploying the smallest sufficiently effective threat of appreciable, salient harm, in order to defend against, protect against, or prevent, oneself or someone else being primarily or secondarily coerced, or having their human dignity directly violated.
Granting all that, then it’s self-evident that the primary function of guns is for their owners/possessors or users to manipulate, threaten, or kill other people for self-interested or publicly beneficial reasons, namely, primary coercion. And it’s also self-evident that the essential consequence of owning, carrying, or using guns is gun violence. That primary coercion really and truly is the primary function of guns, is clearly proven by the history of firearms.[xii] Indeed, this is even explicitly admitted and stated by The American Firearms Institute,[xiii] since in their historical timeline they trace the invention of the firearm back to its earliest origins as a weapon of conquest and warfare. Needless to say, The American Firearms Institute would of course be exceptionally unwilling to admit anything they thought would be somehow prejudicial to the pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment movement. And The Gun Violence Archive proves my claim about gun violence.[xiv]
Notice that I said that the primary function of guns is primary coercion. Please do not let the fact that guns can have secondary or tertiary functions, say, for hunting non-human animals, or for recreational shooting, or for holding doors closed on windy days, conceptually confuse you. Notice too, that if it turns out that owning, carrying, or using guns according to their primary function is rationally unjustified and immoral, then owning, carrying, or using guns according to their secondary and tertiary functions will be equally rationally unjustified and immoral. If it’s rationally unjustified and immoral for you to own, carry, or use a bomb that would could blow up the Earth, then it’s equally rationally unjustified and immoral for you to own, carry, or use that bomb for hunting non-human animals, for recreational bombing, or for holding doors closed on windy days.
Now, primarily coercing other people is always rationally unjustified and immoral precisely because it undermines and violates their dignity. Notice that I said “primarily coercing other people”: that means manipulating people by the use of violence or the threat of violence, for any self-interested or other instrumental reasons of the coercer, whatsoever. No such reason ever rationally and morally justifies primary coercion. Therefore, since it fully permits primary coercion, then owning, carrying, or using guns, i.e., Gun Crazy, and its essential consequence, i.e., gun violence, are all rationally unjustified and immoral.
Moreover, please don’t let the fact that under some special critical — in the sense of “involving a crisis” — circumstances, then minimal sufficiently effective, last-resort, defensive, protective, and preventive moral force is indeed rationally justified and morally permissible, perhaps even morally obligatory,[xv] conceptually confuse you. More precisely, it’s true that under some special critical circumstances, when other things are not equal, when all else has failed, and when the only way to stop bad people doing something horrendously immoral, and in direct violation of human dignity — for example, rape, torture, murder, mass murder, genocide — to you, to someone else, or to many other people, then you might be coerced by these bad people, as Hamlet says, to “take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.”[xvi] But your being coerced by bad people to take up firearms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them, strictly for the purposes of deploying minimal sufficiently effective, last-resort, defensive, protective, and preventive moral force against those coercive bad people, is not your being “a gun user” (i.e., someone who freely chooses to shoot things or people), just as your being coerced by bad people — say, by threatening you with a gun — into taking opioids is not your being “an opioid user” (i.e., someone who freely chooses to ingest opioids).
One very important moral and political consequence of the preceding argument is its direct bearing on The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, already quoted above but worth repeating, which says this:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (Boldfacing added)
In other words, focusing on the material in boldface, The 2nd Amendment says that “the people,” that is, all Americans, have the moral and legal right “to keep and bear arms,” that is, the moral and legal right to own, carry, or use guns, unconditionally. This means that The 2nd Amendment fully morally and legally permits primary coercion by means of guns. The further historical question of whether the original intention of The 2nd Amendment was to establish a legal right to own, carry, or use guns for militias only, or for all Americans, is irrelevant. And in any case, if The 2nd Amendment really were intended to hold for militias only, and not for all Americans, then presumably the writers of The 2nd Amendment would have stated that explicitly. But primary coercion in general, and primary coercion by means of guns in particular, are rationally unjustified and immoral. Therefore, The 2nd Amendment is rationally unjustified and immoral, and Gun Abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do, by means of repealing The 2nd Amendment, and then universally banning owning, carrying, or using guns.
More generally, no one, anywhere in the USA, under any circumstances, which obviously includes all Americans, and which especially includes all members of the police and the army, namely, the “Militia,” has the moral right “to keep and bear arms,” that is, to own, carry, or use guns. This recognition, in turn, will have profound implications for the USA’s legal justice system, aka The Crime-&-Punishment System.[xvii]
In the devolutionary period after the repeal of The 2nd Amendment, particularly, it might be necessary, in certain communities, to create small public caches of guns that are owned, carried, or used by no one, for special, critical circumstances, when coercive bad people are coercing some brave good people, who have freely volunteered to help others as their duly-appointed guardians, into taking up firearms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them, strictly for the purposes of deploying minimal sufficiently effective, last-resort, defensive, protective, and preventive moral force against those coercive bad people. But eventually, even these would not be needed, and then they too could be phased out and abolished.
VII. Gun Abolitionism: A World Without Gun Crazy
So I’m proposing Gun Abolitionism, which says:
No one in the USA, under any circumstances, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to own, carry, or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is primary coercion, which produces gun violence as an essential consequence, and primary coercion is rationally unjustified and immoral; therefore, we should repeal The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, and then universally ban owning, carrying, or using guns.
Many countries already seriously restrict owning, carrying, or using guns, with significant benefits for all involved; therefore Gun Abolitionism would radically extend and increase those benefits. It is of course obvious that Gun Abolitionism would have to be implemented in very carefully-designed stages, so as to ensure a non-violent, safe transition from gun-free sub-zone1 to gun-free sub-zone2, etc. And as I mentioned above, in the devolutionary period immediately after the repeal of The 2nd Amendment, particularly, it might be necessary, in certain communities, to create small public caches of guns, owned, carried, or used by no one, for special, critical circumstances, when coercive bad people are coercing some brave good people, who have freely volunteered to help others as their duly-appointed guardians, into taking up firearms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them, strictly for the purposes of deploying minimal sufficiently effective, last-resort, defensive, protective, and preventive moral force against those coercive bad people. But these would be designed to wither away. In any case, I hereby emphasize and re-emphasize what I said earlier, namely, that Gun Abolitionism would be implemented by, first, repealing The 2nd Amendment and then, second, universally banning owning, carrying, or using guns thereafter, in a step-by-step, zone-by-zone way, by combining the process of civilian gun abolition with a step-by-step, zone-by-zone police, internal security, military, and intelligence force disarmament, and “the end of policing.”
Whenever I describe the very idea of Gun Abolitionism to American acquaintances and friends–including the most thoughtful, open-minded, left-leaning, or politically radical among them–they initially or typically get a wide-eyed, horrified look on their faces, shake their heads convulsively, and say that repealing The 2nd Amendment is “impossible.” As they do this, I am vividly reminded of the mind-controlled characters in John Frankenheimer’s 1962 political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate,[xviii] who, when questioned, automatically intone that “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life,” even when they know in their hearts that this is completely false. In other words, they’re so completely in the mind-manacled grip of Gun Crazy, that they think I’m crazy for defending Gun Abolitionism. So it’s exceptionally important to point out explicitly what every reasonably well-informed American already pre-reflectively knows in their heart-of-hearts, namely, that there’s a perfectly clear and effective democratic procedure for repealing Constitutional amendments; and that other Constitutional amendments have actually been repealed: so in that sense, repealing The 2nd Amendment is actually easy and sane, not in any way “impossible” or “crazy.” The people of the USA created and instituted The 2nd Amendment; and the repeal process is written into the Constitution itself; therefore, the people of the USA can repeal The 2nd Amendment.
Here’s what I mean: please look at the following diagram —
In this way, The Constitution of the USA was originally made to be amended; and in order to see that claim proved, please read the following description provided by the U.S. National Archives.[xix]
Constitutional Amendment Process
The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. After Congress proposes an amendment, the Archivist of the United States, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 106b. The Archivist has delegated many of the ministerial duties associated with this function to the Director of the Federal Register. Neither Article V of the Constitution nor section 106b describe the ratification process in detail. The Archivist and the Director of the Federal Register follow procedures and customs established by the Secretary of State, who performed these duties until 1950, and the Administrator of General Services, who served in this capacity until NARA assumed responsibility as an independent agency in 1985.
The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution.
Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA’s Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal “red-line” copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.
The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor along with the informational material prepared by the OFR. The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified. In the past, some State legislatures have not waited to receive official notice before taking action on a proposed amendment. When a State ratifies a proposed amendment, it sends the Archivist an original or certified copy of the State action, which is immediately conveyed to the Director of the Federal Register. The OFR examines ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature. If the documents are found to be in good order, the Director acknowledges receipt and maintains custody of them. The OFR retains these documents until an amendment is adopted or fails, and then transfers the records to the National Archives for preservation.
A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States). When the OFR verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, it drafts a formal proclamation for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution. This certification is published in the Federal Register and U.S. Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to the Congress and to the Nation that the amendment process has been completed.
Moreover, the US Constitution has actually been amended many times; and in order to prove this, here is a brief summary of the 27 ratified amendments.[xx]
Again: the US Constitution was originally made to be amended and has actually been amended many times. Now, why has the Constitution been amended? I draw your special attention to the 13th, 14th, 18th, 19th, and 21st amendments. These amendments abolished slavery, introduced Prohibition of the manufacture or sale of alcohol, abolished the denial of the right to vote based on gender or sex, and repealed Prohibition. In other words, the US Constitution has been amended whenever the American people collectively deem that the existing Constitution is rationally unjustified and immoral, and must be changed for the morally better.
I know full well that pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment people are very apt to fulminate against those who disagree with them, in an attempt to silence their anti-gun “Enemies of The People” or “public enemies,”[xxi] even to the point of threatening to shoot them, or actually shooting them. But that these pro-gun, pro-2nd Amendment people would threaten to shoot or actually shoot other people merely for disagreeing with them and rationally defending the contrary, in view of The 1st Amendment, which politically encodes the moral freedom of expression, only provides a further self-evident proof of the moral rightness of Gun Abolitionism. So Gun Crazy really is crazy, not to mention rationally unjustified and immoral; and Gun Abolitionism, by direct opposition, is rationally justified, morally right, and soberly sane.
[i] See, e.g., Wikipedia, “Peculiar Institution,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peculiar_institution>.
[ii] Wikipedia, “John C. Calhoun,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Calhoun>.
[iii] See, e.g., C. Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (London: Bloomsbury, 2016); and Wikipedia, “Black Lives Matter,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter>.
[iv] See, e.g., R. Hanna, Kantian Ethics and Human Existence: A Study in Moral Philosophy (THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 3) (New York: Nova Science, 2018).
[v] See, e.g., R. Hanna, “A Theory of Human Dignity,” (Unpublished MS, 2021), available online at URL = <https://www.academia.edu/44826196/A_Theory_of_Human_Dignity_June_2021_version_>.
[vi] I’m being slightly conceptually fussy about my interpretation of The 2nd Amendment’s fairly ambiguous phrase “to keep and bear arms.” Strictly speaking, it’s conceptually possible (i) for someone to own a gun without either carrying it or using it (say, a mere gun collector), (ii) for someone to carry a gun without either owning it or using it (say, a gun thief who gets a thrill from carrying a gun, but never uses it), and (iii) for someone to use a gun without either owning it or carrying it (say, another gun thief who snatches a gun from someone and then immediately uses it). In short, owning a gun, carrying a gun, and using a gun, strictly speaking, are each logically independent of one another, and conjoining any two of them is also logically independent of the third. So, fussily expressed, what I’m arguing in this essay is (i) that owning a gun, carrying a gun, and using a gun, are each, when considered independently, rationally justified and immoral, (ii) that every weak disjunction of owning, carrying, or using a gun is rationally unjustified and immoral, and also (iii) that they’re all within the broad scope of the 2nd Amendment’s fairly ambiguous phrase “to keep and bear arms.”
[vii] See, e.g., Wikipedia, “Gun Violence in the United States,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States>.
[viii] See also J.P. Stevens, “Repeal the Second Amendment,” New York Times (27 March 2018), available online at URL = < https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/john-paul-stevens-repeal-second-amendment.html>.
[ix] Fox Business 2016 Republican 2-Tier Debate, (14 January 2016).
[x] D. Trump, “Crippled America,” (3 November 2015), available online at URL = <http://www.ontheissues.org/Crippled_America.htm>.
[xi] B. Popken, “America’s Gun Business, By the Numbers,” NBC News (3 December 2015), available online at URL = <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/san-bernardino-shooting/americas-gun-business-numbers-n437566>.
[xii] See, e.g., Wikipedia, “History of the Firearm,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_firearm>.
[xiii] The American Firearms Institute, “History of Guns,” (2021), available online at URL = <http://www.americanfirearms.org/gun-history/>.
[xiv] Gun Violence Archive, (2021), available online at URL = <http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/>.
[xv] See, e.g., R. Hanna and O. Paans, “On the Permissible Use of Force in a Kantian Dignitarian Moral and Political Setting, Or, Seven Kantian Samurai,” Journal of Philosophical Investigations 13 (2019): 75–93, available online at URL = <https://philosophy.tabrizu.ac.ir/article_9431.html>.
[xvi] W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 3, scene 1, lines 59–60.
[xvii] See R. Hanna, Kant, Agnosticism, and Anarchism: A Theological-Political Treatise (THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 4) (New York: Nova Science, 2018), section 3.10, pp. 160–165.
[xviii] See. e.g., Wikipedia, “The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film),” (2021), available online at URL = < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manchurian_Candidate_(1962_film)>.
[xix] National Archives, “Constitutional Amendment Process,” available online at URL = <https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution>.
[xx] See Wikipedia, “List of Amendments to the United States Constitution,” (2021), available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution>.
[xxi] See, e.g., D. Zucchino, “A Militia Gets Battle Ready for a ‘Gun-Grabbing’ Clinton Presidency,” New York Times (4 November 2016), available online at URL = <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/us/a-militia-gets-battle-ready-for-a-gun-grabbing-clinton-presidency.html>.
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