Gun ownership is not a human right | SE Smith

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Bearing limbs is something else: a privilege. And privileges are contingent on session reasonable standards of care and respect for others right to life

As the vicious debate over gun control continues unabated in the United States and the NRA distinguishes itself by constantly coming up with new ways to be terrible, theres an interesting trend cropping up here and there. Im noting more and more rhetoric suggesting that gun ownership is a human right, and that people like Secretary Clinton are infringing human rights by conveying a desire to set checks on gun ownership and curtail some of its worst abuses.

Its a creative new debate, and also one thats very wrong. I can see why it is are doing it: theres a growing sensitivity to human rights, and suggesting that something is an inalienable entitlement induces it seem ironclad. Its an example of how the right attempts to use the language and tools of the left against it, often highly effectively. After all, the logic goes, if marrying anyone you want is a human right and we frown upon any attempts to abridge or interfere with that right, then surely if gun ownership is declared a human right, then the left will be forced to defend that right.

The thing is well, Im not going to play the dictionary game here, but suffice it to say that gun ownership doesnt truly meet any of the standards we use to define a human right. Its not even a civil right, even though a section of the constitution appears to suggest that the founders intended to protect gun ownership as part of the civil rights of citizens in their new nation.( Spoiler: they pretty clearly entailed it in the context of militias, and also, they favoured pretty aggressive gun control .)

A human right has to do with something intrinsic to who you are as a human being, and your most basic needs. Healthcare, food, housing, and water are human rights. They are all critical things that human being need to stay alive. Access to reproductive health services is a human right. The ability to participate freely in society regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or disability status is a human right. These are things society is supposed to guarantee to us because we are part of society, and these things are integral to our very identities.

Owning a gun does not place one in a protected class of society. Its not integral to the inextricable identity of a human being. You can put a gun down and no longer be a person holding a gun. You cannot become unMuslim for an afternoon, or take off your black scalp to walk through the street. While a gun owned may participate in gun culture, may enjoy interacting with handguns and fellow gun owners as a recreational activity, may even integrate that activity heavily into daily life, gun ownership still isnt about identity.

And a gun is not a basic necessity for survival. Some guns can be useful for hunting food, but not most, and there are alternatives to hunting for most people. They can sometimes be helpful for self-defense, but not nearly as often as people like to claim. More usually, they serve to inflict violence, which is an abridgment of other people human right to remain alive. Nothing about a firearm is intrinsic to identity or survival. Comparing a gun to something like the right to maternity care is patently absurd, and thats just one example of a basic human right.

Gun Nation

Checks on handgun ownership, to differing degrees, are perfectly acceptable because, again, owning a firearm isnt a human right, and its not a civil right either when its ownership contravenes upon the pleasure of life for other people. Its just not. Gun ownership is something else: a privilege. And privileges are contingent on session reasonable criteria. People are not entitled to privileges. They are accorded based on the results of fitness to have them.

Gun ownership could better be compared to driving a automobile. Everyone may then drive a car, but not everyone knows how to drive. Fewer people can operate a vehicle safely. Necessitating people to understand how to safely drive a car is viewed as a reasonable requirement for issuing a drivers license. Similarly, drivers are expected to maintain their automobiles in good working order and carry insurance, to reduce the risk of issues and have a measure in place in the event something bad happens. It is understood that when you fail to obey the law, there will be penalties, up to and including losing your license.

While some drivers seem to think otherwise, driving a car is not a right. A vehicle is an external object that you own( lease, borrow, rent) in order to use it for a variety of purposes. A automobile is not integral to your identity, although it can facilitate things like getting to work, traveling, or being able to leave your home in a remote region without public transit. Some people are super into their cars and get fancy ones. Some people race their autoes and engage in recreational driving. But at the end of the working day, they do eventually get out of the drivers seat and walk away. The car is not bound to the driver. Losing a license is a pain, and sometimes it is unjust, as when people are profiled by law enforcement, but it is not an infringement on basic rights.

The right wants to cheapen the notion of human rights with this kind of rhetoric, while also trying to score phases. Its a pretty pathetic line of logic, and hopefully theyll figure that out sooner rather than later.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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