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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Markkula Center For Applied Ethics Analyzes the Ethics of gun use and Regulation in America


Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics presents its latest Ethics Spotlight on the Ethics of Guns in America. The assortment of essays is authored by prominent SCU faculty, scholars, and ethicists. Some of the perspectives featured in the collection include:

A Moral Duty to Act on Gun Safety by John Pelissero (@1pel), political scientist and senior scholar for government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Adoption of public policy on responsible, common sense gun safety is not only overdue, its absence from bipartisan agreements has become morally untenable.

Is There an Ethical Gun?by Don Heider (@donheider), executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

There is no ethical justification for owning automatic or semi-automatic guns by normal citizens. 

The Ethical Crisis of our Gun Violence Crisis by Thomas Plante PhD, ABPP (@ThomasPlante) Augustin Cardinal Bea, SJ professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, faculty scholar with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Our current political system is hopelessly corrupt in that basic ethical principles, such as working for the common good rather than one’s own self-interests while ignoring conflicts of interest, prevent elected leaders from supporting and incorporating laws to minimize gun violence.

(The U.S. Senate may be on the brink of a bipartisan agreement on new laws and federal funding to address gun safety, school facilities, and mental health issues. This Spotlight will be updated as details of the proposed legislation solidify.)



The gun debate has again reached a fever pitch in the shadow of several horrific mass shootings. People—our children—will continue to be murdered until we understand and address the root issues at the heart of these tragic events.



Visit the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ website to view these and more articles at:

This resource is part of the Ethics Spotlight series, which provides analysis of society’s most pressing issues. Previous Spotlights have addressed topics including vaccination mandates, systemic racism, the climate crisis, and many others.


About the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Founded in 1986 with a seed grant and initial endowment from Linda and A.C. “Mike” Markkula Jr., the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics brings the traditions of ethical thinking to bear on real world problems. Beyond a full range of programs for the Santa Clara University community, the Center also serves professionals in fields from business to health care, from government to the social sector, providing innovative approaches to problems from fake news to privacy protection. Through its website and international collaborations, the Center brings ethical decision-making resources to the wider world. For more information, see

Many of the authors featured in this Spotlight are available to speak with members of the media about these issues. Contact Joel Dibble to arrange an interview.


Media Contact

Joel Dibble | Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University | 408-554-5116 | |


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Jun 14, 2022