Defense with Dignity: How the Dignity of Violent Resistance Informs the Gun Rights Debate

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Abstract: Perhaps the biggest disconnect between philosophers and non-philosophers on gun rights is over the importance of arms to our dignitary interests. This essay argues that we have a strong prima facie moral right to resist with dignity and that (with certain qualifications) violent resistance is more dignified than nonviolent resistance. Since in some cases dignified resistance will require violence, and since effective violent resistance will sometimes require guns, we have a strong prima facie right to own or carry guns if they are necessary often enough for effective dignified resistance. Since this right holds (to some degree) even when nonviolent means would better achieve the security aims of potential victims, the bar for justifying gun rights is lower than commonly assumed.
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Archival date: 2018-05-31
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