John Locke and Gun Control

Group 5 Humn 221-09

John Locke’s ideas for a stable and fair society influenced the principles the United States was built upon. In reading “The Second Treatise of Civil Government” Locke emphasizes the natural right people have to protect themselves and their private property. Anyone who challenges this has declared “war” and the victim is able to use force to protect themselves. A big issue today is gun control in America with people debating how the constitutional right to own guns should be regulated if at all. An article called “Locke ‘N Load: John Locke and Your Second Amendment Rights” explains how John Locke’s philosophy can be applied to the right to own weapons in a civil society such as the United States. The article uses John Locke’s idea of preserving private property and health by any means when someone else tries to invade on that right. The post is saying we have a right to use weapons when our life or natural rights are being threatened.

Another article “Freedom and Gun Control” also uses Locke’s ideas to explain our right to bear arms. This article took into account the entire  issue of gun control and not just the idea of using lethal force when necessary. An important quote from this , “You can not privately own a nuclear weapon just because you happen to think that it’s good for your own self preservation. Thus, gun-control is justified to the extent that it’s for the good of the public.” Locke did emphasize the importance of self preservation, but his idea differed slightly when people came into a united society. The idea of a society is we have to abide by certain laws and regulations all for the good of the public. The importance of this is that overbearing weapons is not for the good of a society and same with weapons that are too dangerous. It is meant for the preservation of yourself  as well as society and when too many people accumulate weapons, violence increases.

Our group saw an important tie in of the ideas in the Second Treatise and some problems we face in a more modern world. It’s difficult to say how Locke would approach this situation because it is a right to protect oneself, but also necessary to keep the public safe. His principles underline an idea that it may be better to regulate this kind of power so community members feel protected rather than threatened.

One thought on “John Locke and Gun Control”

  1. “and same with weapons that are too dangerous.”

    That is pretty subjective. And does not take into account that nearly ANY weapon is not dangerous at all with the actions of a human being in contact with the object (gun). Too simplistic.

    Locke was deeper than that.

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