As a way of life, philosophy demands that children should have a space for active engagement in philosophical thought to promote their critical thinking. Philosophical thought allows children to ask existential questions about their surroundings and the world (Kizel 142). The curiosity in children exposes them to many dangers, some of which can be tragic. Therefore, it is important to establish a philosophical solution for a soldier who finds a child with a gun under certain circumstances, considering the moral, ethical implications, and consequences of having the weapon.
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Though the philosophy of children requires adults to temporally abandon their normative and conventional knowledge and authority towards children, the latter’s autonomy should be limited because their minds are not fully developed. It would be upon the soldier to distract the kid so that he could drop the gun and allow him to take it. Children are easily distracted, and any opportunity to make the kid release the gun would be critical. The soldier should ask broad-ranging questions after taking the gun from the child to understand where he got it from and for what reasons. The soldier should evaluate the moral responsibility of the kid and the possible consequences of deciding what to do.
The capacity of a person is critical in determining whether they are morally responsible for a certain behavior or not. Young children lack the powers and capacities to be held responsible (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). The kid cannot make independent decisions, and therefore, the responsibilities for his action lie with the parents or adults taking care of him (Kizel, 147). For that reason, the soldier should not hesitate to take the gun.
Children are curious, and because they do not understand the dangers of a gun, they can cause injuries if allowed to have it. It is the moral responsibility of every adult in possession of a gun to have it stored responsibly, unloaded, or locked up to prevent access by children. It is only competent and law-abiding adults in the US who have the moral right to own a gun for self-defense reasons (DeGrazia 4). However, the situation involving a kid shows that it is unethical and morally wrong for the child to possess a gun. Therefore, the soldier has the moral authority to take the gun under any circumstances. Most importantly, the soldier should educate the kid about the dangers of a gun and should emphasize why children should keep off firearms.
Accessibility to guns to children is a disturbing reality to many Americans. According to Muñoz, more than half of the families with firearms in the US store them in a way that is accessible to children (3). Most gun-related injuries among children aged 5-14 years in the US occur when a child gains access to a gun that was stored, loaded, or unlocked (DeGrazia 4). By having a gun, the kid would cause an injury or a death which would be a big blow to the victim’s family and the people close to them. Unintentional shooting by kids results in deaths and injuries, which can be avoided if people understand their responsibility and prevent such incidences.
Understanding that children have no moral responsibility because of their underdeveloped minds helps adults decide what to do when the former are exposed to committing crimes. Educating children about guns and the risks the weapon has would make them cautious about many issues. Young children should not have access to guns, and any adult should be quick to take any weapon possessed by kids. As a result, this would prevent the harm that would have been caused by the gun action.
DeGrazia, David. “Handguns, moral rights, and physical security.” Journal of Moral Philosophy, 13.1 (2016): 56-76. Web.
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Kizel, Arie. “Philosophy with children, the poverty line, and socio-philosophic sensitivity.” Childhood and Philosophy 11.21 (2015). Web.
Muñoz, Sofía Nussbaum. The Effect of Child Access Prevention Laws on Unintentional Shootings Perpetrated by Children. Diss. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2021. Web.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Moral Responsibility, 2018. Web.