Should the right to possess arms be defended?

23Oct07

Should the right to possess arms be defended?

written by M.L. Fauzi

It was very shocking. On 16 April 2007, a twenty three years old student coming from South Korea, Cho Seung-Hui, massacred 32 people at the Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, The United States of America. A doctoral student at the Faculty of Technical Engineering from Indonesia was one of the victims. After committing the massacre, Seung-Hui also committed suicide. With regard to this unexpected tragedy, discussions relating to the right of civilians to bear arms emerged though it has been debated for a long time. The basic question is, is it relevant for civilians to possess arms? Answering this question, I agree with the opinion that civilians must be prohibited from bearing the arms.

Countries like the USA and some others, which allow an individual to keep arms, propose a rationale that a right to weapons is not only applied in the context of military service but also in the more extensive right of self defence. Hence individuals can bear arms. This argument, in my opinion, does not comply with the real condition of the modern and peaceful world today. First of all, the concept of a modern state requires one condition that the responsibility to maintain defence and security of society is in the court of the state. So, there are no reasons for individuals, on behalf of defence, to possess arms for it is in the authority of the state. Secondly, people who have weapons tend to do violence. Moreover, if the arms are kept by the wrong people, they will be very risky. 

The data on the Small Arms Survey’s website shows us that there are around half a billion light arms around the world. In addition, three hundred thousand to half a million people around the world are killed by them every year. Considering these facts, the reason of arms possession for self defence is factually not proved. Thus it is not too rash to conclude that the greater the number of arms, the higher the number of conflicts and crimes. Besides that, weapons are culturally very close to cruelty. The tradition of possessing arms which has been embedded within the culture of society is not good for the future generation. All people will agree that the tradition of violence must not be inherited. 

Based on the above explanation, it can be summed up that arms for civilians have a detrimental effect on human life. Consequently, I argue that all countries around the world must prohibit, and should not give individuals a right to, weapons.



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