I was amazed hearing news saying that a 3D printing technology had been successfully used to produce a gun made from plastic. Moreover, the gun has also been successfully fired as reported by BBC news. 3D printing technology is indeed an outstanding accomplishment in this millennium era since it can be used to make something more real than a 2D printing technology. The advantage of having this printer is then people can print anything if the blueprints are available; and this achievement has been used to produce a gun.
This degree of accomplishment is just about six months after the tragedy happened in Connecticut, America when children and adults in a primary school were brutally attacked by an armed man entering the school. This bleak incident then ignited an unending debate about gun control in America and up until this point National Rifle Association in America (NRA) has absolutely rejected such a proposal since it will negate persons’ freedom. And when 3D printed gun technology has been introduced, what kind of policy that should be adopted in order to protect people’s freedom on one hand and also to ensure safety on the other?
Giving a gun
One kind of policy that had been proposed by NRA when the school incident happened was to arm security officer in the school rather than introducing a gun control law. The logic is when there is an armed strange comes to a school, security officers can actually handle the situation by firing the stranger. The proposal can be roughly summarized as: give a gun to the officer then everything will be back to normal.
Such logic is quite true. Security officers in any kind of place should actually be armed. This policy will be very useful because the officers should be held responsible for the safety of the people inside the building guarded by them. Thus, immobilizing an armed stranger should be conducted immediately without sacrificing others’ lives and this could be done by arming the officers.
But, how is about personal safety? Should people be allowed to buy a gun by rising a reason stating about ensuring their safety or personal freedom?
Giving a gun is indeed useful when the policy is applied in the right manner. A right manner then means that it should be owned by those who are responsible in ensuring safety. Such a policy cannot be then expanded into the realm of society as whole since it has something to do with civic goodness. And this value will be explained further below. Up to this point, what I do agree is giving a gun is indeed a right policy as long as it is applied in the right manner.
Civic goodness and gun control
At a first glance, it does seem that I do not agree if such policy is introduced for anyone in society as a whole. The preposition is absolutely right. What I do propose is indeed a gun control law that I do believe very useful in building a good society.
In his treatise Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes once says that there are three types of sources that actually can ignite a conflict: competition, diffident, and glory. Thus, in order to prevent a conflict, all parties involved in a possible conflict situation should lay their own ego and rights and then sign a contract stating that all of them agree that they will no longer engage in a conflicting situation in order to preserving others’ lives.
But, such a contract can be easily nullified when authority is not present. Thus, a state must be formed in order to hold the contract signed and thus have an authority to use its power when there is a party that does not obey the contract. In Hobbes’ logic, coercive power is legally used only by the authority in order to produce peace and hold the contract.
Thus, authority may have a legal power in using coercive power because its main responsibility is to keep the stable and peace condition inside the state. Furthermore, what is more important to note is: the presence of state becomes a statue to remind the conflicting parties that they have actually agreed that they will not use their coercive power in order to maintain peace. And in regard of gun control law, why should then people demand an ownership of a gun when it is actually the state that has the responsibility to preserving safety and preventing parties to engage in a conflicting situation?
Many persons may then reply that “I do not sign any kind of contract. Why should I obey the law prohibiting me from owning a gun for my own safety?” The answer of such a question does not merely relies upon Hobbes’ logic of a state but also in regard of civic goodness that should be uphold in any kind of society.
In regard with gun control issue, what is important to note is a conflict that potentially happen when there is a stranger comes with his own gun or when we eventually in a condition that insists us to protect ourselves in order to prevent worse condition to happen. Such a conflict can be grouped into the second cause of conflict in Hobbes’ Leviathan since it can be considered as deterrence.
Having been said that such a conflict can be grouped as deterrence, it is important to be underlined that it is too a conflict triggered by insecure position of a party living in any kind of nation. But such an insecurity does not always mean insurmountable that will eventually lead to a personal owning of a gun. As a person living in a society, there is a strong need to build a civic goodness and it includes trust among its people: a value that actually lacks nowadays.
Such a conflict can be prevented if people trust each other. This can happen because there will be no suspicion among the people living in an area. Moreover, by applying trust, they can actually reciprocally guard each other since they know each other perfectly. Does it depict a good condition in a society that we do actually hope for? Is this condition better than living in a suspicious manner with your neighbor where every individual hold their own gun and ready to attack everyone who is considered as disturbing?
Gun ownership by individual will only strengthen a kind of individuality that is not actually needed in a society. I do not say that individuality is indeed bad for society. To some extent, individuality is required for competition. I just have an opinion that in this circumstance, namely living in a society, it is not that important for having a gun to protect yourself since it will lessen you relationship with your neighbor that actually acts as a strong binding agent in a society. Having a gun then means incentivizing deterrence-induced conflict and lessens the dependency among people that actually acts as a supreme value in society.
This will then raise a question about ensuring the safety for people living in a country. This condition can actually be achieved by strengthening the presence of state. The presence of the state in this manner does not mean that the country will develop into an authoritarian regime. This will only mean that there should be a guardian that will protect people so the peace treaty will always be upheld. Both of these conditions, gun control and strengthening the state presence, should not be considered as degrading human freedom. On the other hand, this should be done in order to preserve peace and ensuring a healthy freedom so people will not easily fire other when they see others as suspicious persons and then people can live in a healthy way of democratic regime.
Should we live in a country like in Mexico where everyone can afford gun in order to ensure their own safety and the state order is absolutely neglected? People and state should realize that they need each other. People should put their trust in government as supreme body to ensure their safety and government should not let its authority undermined by its absence in dire circumstances. Both of these elements should go hand in hand to build a better society.