Ethical Issues Concerning Gun Laws


Gun control has emerged as a prime issue of deliberation in the US. The subject is highly interdisciplinary in nature. Indiscriminate firearms use is hazardous for public health, law and order, political stability, etc. Incidents of massacre, murder, and suicide associated with the use of guns have caused several deaths and injuries all across the country. Consequently, serious moral issues have emerged around the irreparable loss of life and property associated with guns.

Contemporary Scenario

Enactment, interpretation, and enforcement of gun laws are today a matter of national debate in the US. At one side, there are individuals and special interest groups who think that stricter gun control laws are necessary. Their approach is based on the ethical effects of the deaths caused by indiscriminant use of firearms. On the other side, there are advocates of one’s right to bear guns.

The main issue of contention is the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Advocates of gun control consider that the Second Amendment allows for possession of guns by individuals only under the condition of strict government supervision and regulation. However, advocates of gun rights interpret the Second Amendment as a Constitutional provision that ensures one’s right to bear arms with freedom to use them for self-defense.


Of late, fateful events like the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings (EBSCO 2015) and 2014 Isle Vista killings have given more impetus to the advocates of gun control. Even if the law shields one’s gun ownership rights, the ethical dimension of deaths and serious injuries associated with indiscriminate use of guns is becoming graver. However, on several occasions, the US courts have attempted to come up with more balanced interpretations of the Second Amendment. Yet, influential special interest groups like the National Rifle Association are campaigning vigorously to safeguard gun ownership rights at their best.


A salient feature of the debate around gun laws is that almost none of the debating sides deny one’s basic right of bearing firearms for the purpose of self-defense. Nevertheless, the extent of this personal right is not clear. Firearms have caused at least 240,000 deaths between the years 2000 and 2007 in America. Therefore, policymakers and legislators must create ethically workable gun control regulations so that public safety is ensured well.