1) IMO, a gun has only one "right" purpose: to kill or cause harm. However, I don´t think this is right (in the moral sense). Anything else is just some moral(ized) derivative of this primary purpose. Apart from moral, there is some simple math here: the more guns there are, the higher the probability that people get killed, resp. the more people get killed. What kind of people, good or bad, on what side etc., doesn´t matter and cannot be actually concluded here. Of course, no one wants to be from the killed ones. That´s why everyone wants to have a gun. Here one can see some first discrepancy between group behavior and individual behavior (regarding guns). Such discrepancies are in general actually something common...
2) Possessing a gun makes most people (individuals) feel safe and thus happier (than if they feel unsafe). Feeling safe (very different from being safe) thus belongs, according to some economists, to human welfare/prosperity/living standard (just like this is the case with health, free time etc.). Banning guns would have controversial effects on this: some will feel unsafe, other will feel safer knowing that there are less guns in the society (?). Social benefit is inconclusive. Besides, not everyone is skilled enough to turn that "feeling safe" into "being safe".
3) When deciding to ban guns in a country/society like U.S. (where possessing a gun is extremely widespread), one have to consider the status-quo and the consequent transition period
of applying these changes. In most cases, it´s the transition period that takes most of the pain untill those changes receive the nature of "established" or even "institutionalized". Anyway, it´s up to the individuals to decide for themselves if they are willing to pay the price for the (questionable) benefit for future generations. That´s some second discrepancy between individual and group interests. What would be the nature of such transition period? People would have to submit/return their (legal) guns. Some would refuse to act lawfully and would be probably prosecuted for possessing illegal guns, others would just buy and hide illegal guns, in fact that would be great opportunity for the market of illegal guns, it will bloom and bring fruits. There is no point in banning guns without some major strike against this market. And to be honest, I could hardly imagine such effective
strike in the case of U.S. (big country with high criminal rates), and it will certainly cost a nice sum from the national budget... Now, buying illegal guns actually encourages criminal behavior, even in good citizens, and it would raise the criminal rates (both from side of buyers and suppliers as suppliers will have to satisfy the great demand). Furthermore, the lack of this safety feeling would increase social tense, which is in direct relation to criminal rates. To sum up, during this transition period the criminal rates would significantly increase, and there is no way to prevent this as human beings are just that, human beings, which basically tend to irrational behavior under the appropriate circumstances.
4) Banning guns would lead to significant decrease in the official gun demand in such a vast gun market as U.S. This would hurt many interests! Furthermore, there are (and being produced) excessive amounts of guns in U.S. no matter what. Such amounts always find its way of "redistribution" and "market realization". As a political measure, go persuade the weapon industry that they should produce significantly less guns than what is currently the status-quo... In any way, excessive amounts of guns will be redistributed more or less officially to the rest of the world. For homework, one can think of other compensation mechanisms too...
5) Moral derivative of guns main purpose (the way I see it): threatening, manifesting I´m dangerous, so stay away from me, in other words prevention. That reminds me of Dr. Strangelove, the "ultimate" weapon is to show off with, not to be used. Sort of true provided most criminals do realize the "danger" or believe that in every American home there is a gun that can be used against him, so he might get killed, or every American bears a gun. That´s still not the case. To be preventive, a gun must be shown, more or less just like in the Wild West. I´m not sure though what would be the benefit of such social "constellation"...
rkawakami wrote:Wielding an AK-47 against a deer does not sound fair at all to me.
(here I should next be giving some cliche comment on human nature and human´s place in the kingdom of animals
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