Archive for June, 2008

Gun Debates Stuck on Wrong Question

June 27, 2008

Debates over gun ownership and possession have too often been a continued dispute over whether guns aid or inhibit violence.  The juxtaposition of guns and violence surely makes for an interesting question, but it dodges the fundamental question itself of whether citizens have the right to bear arms or not.  This fundamental question in turn can be encapsulated into the more general question of whether rights of citizens are implicitly or explicitly defined.  If the rights of citizens are implicitly defined then the idea of inalienable rights finds merit and the citizen enjoys all freedoms and liberties except those explicitly prohibited by law.  If the rights of citizens are explicitly defined then one adheres to the philosophy that man is inherently evil and needs to checked by laws such that the citizen is only free to do what the law explicitly allows.  This philosophy of the inherently evil man leads to overbearing civil law that inevitably becomes unwieldy and excessive.

Historically there has been a stark contrast between the U.S. and the rest of the world with regards to human rights with respect to the law.  The U.S. constitution has traditionally asserted the dignity of the individual and esteems persons innocent until proven otherwise.  On the other hand, most if not all the rest of the world deems men guilty until proven innocent.  What rights and liberties still remain for the individual are often maintained more by tradition than by an increasingly overbearing civil law.

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