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Crummett, Dustin; Swenson, Philip (2019): GUN CONTROL, THE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE, AND REASONABLE BENEFICENCE TO ALL. In: Ergo-An Open Access Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 6: pp. 1035-1056
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One of the strongest arguments against the implementation of gun control measures is that such measures violate the right to self-defense or security against attack. The argument, defended by Michael Huemer and others, daims that even if a particular gun control measure has good results overall, it infringes, in a manner which is prima facie seriously wrong, the rights of those who end up being killed or significantly harmed due to their resultant inability to defend themselves. We claim that uncertainty on the part of the government about who will be harmed by a particular gun control measure underwrites a strong response to this argument. If gun control measures save lives on balance, then they may increase each person's chance of remaining safe relative to the information available to the government, even if they will cause some people to be harmed who otherwise would not have been. We draw on Caspar Hare's arguments for the claim that there are no conflicts between morality and reasonable beneficence to contend that this fact would vindicate gun control policies.