I noticed in yesterday’s Courier (December 19) two items that are both relevant to the controversial issues of legalised private gun ownership and usage of such weaponry (see “School trip sparks debate” and “Duck shooting money could fund firefighting”).
Such ownership and usage has been justified in the past on many grounds, e.g. the individual’s human right to own, carry and use guns; for emergencies on rural properties; to support rural economies; for recreational shooting of birds; to control feral animals; etc.
Similarly, there are many arguments against legalised private gun ownership and usage, e.g. it leads to more gun related deaths and serious injuries in humans; recreational shooting causes unnecessary pain, stress and death of protected or endangered animal species; it encourages violence and crime in communities, etc.
So which of these two groups of competing arguments are the more convincing? Well, there seem to be reasonable alternatives to most of the arguments in favour of private gun ownership (e.g. the availability of veterinary drugs to euthanase farm and feral animals, sports and recreation that do not involve guns are readily available and income from tourism for rural areas).
In addition, there seem to acceptable ethical standards to support a ban on private gun ownership and usage, e.g. to increase the likelihood of public safety, to prevent crime and to discourage animal cruelty.
Perhaps the only possible rational reason for any legalized gun ownership and usage is by the army, police and security organizations for reasons of national and community defence during wars and terrorist attacks.
DR KEITH AKERS