Here, I explain why you have a right to own a gun.*
[* Based on: “Is There a Right to Own a Gun?”, Social Theory and Practice 29 (2003): 297-324. http://www.owl232.net/papers/guncontrol.htm. For a more popular version, see http://www.owl232.net/papers/guns2.pdf.]
1. The Issue
- I assume there are moral rights independent of the law.
- We have a general prima facie liberty right, a right to do what we want as long as there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to. Limitations: you don’t have a right (even prima facie) to do things that harm others, impose unreasonable risks on others, or reasonably appear to do those things.
- I posit only prima facie rights, not absolute rights. I.e., rights can be outweighed by other rights or by sufficiently large consequences. (See fakenous.substack.com/p/risk-refutes-absolutism.)
- The weight of a right is proportional to the interest that it helps protect and how important the right is to protecting that interest.
Categories: Culture Wars/Current Controversies