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Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 7th, 2021

American society has been arguing for years about the need to control weapons or ban them, and cases of mass shootings only provoke greater debate. Part of the population is sharply opposed to carrying weapons, while another is confident that this step will not solve the problem. However, although the abolition of the Second Amendment will not be able to solve the problem of shooting entirely, tighter control over the possession of weapons is necessary to ensure greater security for citizens.

Mass shootings, a high level of murders, and suicides with the use of weapons are a concern of citizens since, in combination with the fact that the US has over 300 million guns in circulation, this demonstrates free access to firearms (Fairchild, 2017). However, it is not the accessibility of weapons that forces people to use them, but internal causes, such as malice, mental illness, extreme level of stress, and others. At the same time, some US citizens feel more secure if their guns are stored at home as it gives them a sense of security.

Notably, a complete ban on the carrying and storage of weapons is a decision that will very limitedly affect the level of shooting in the country in general. Criminals do not care about the law anyway, so they can get weapons on the black market; a person who decides to commit suicide or a terrorist attack can also find other ways to fulfill his or her plan. At the same time, a ban on the sale of weapons by legal stores and purchases by citizens will only give impetus to the growth of the black market.

This restriction will also affect the national budget since legal traders will stop paying taxes. In addition, cases of injuries and deaths due to poor-quality weapons can become more frequent since unlicensed goods do not have quality guarantees and most often come from dubious places.

Nevertheless, according to Wozniak (2017), the majority of the population advocates the prohibition of semi-automatic weapons, which inflict more severe injuries, and the introduction of stricter control over all other types. Restrictions related to the purchase and possession of firearms are necessary since it prevents people with mental illnesses, drug or alcohol addiction, and a history of domestic violence from owning it. The described population groups have a higher risk of using weapons to harm themselves or others due to instant impulse or loss of control over themselves, so possession of firearms by such people should be strictly limited.

For this purpose, the government can adopt a law on licensing and testing each person who wants to buy a gun. This test has to include an analysis of the mental state and a study of the past of a person to find cases of domestic violence, cruelty, or crimes. This manifestation of bureaucracy can not only decrease the sale of weapons to unreliable individuals but also reduce the desire of all citizens to make such a purchase since the whole process will take a long time.

Moreover, the state may adopt a law requiring weapons companies to make their goods safer to reduce the number of accidental gunshot injuries. An incident of this kind occurred in Clay in 1989, when one teenager accidentally killed another boy, since he thought that the gun was unloaded because there was no clip in it, but the bullet was in the weapon itself (Spitzer, 2015). If the bullet had not remained inside after removing the clip, the incident would not have happened. Such a case is one of the many: numerous people had accidentally inflicted injuries on themselves or others due to improper handling of the weapon or the absence of parts protecting it from an accidental shot. For this reason, additional safety checks and verifications of firearms are also a necessary limitation to ensure the protection of citizens.

Furthermore, a measure that is not directly related to weapons but reduces the risk of their harmful use is providing mental health care programs for citizens. According to Fairchild (2017), Serious Mental Illness is the primary cause of gun violence. People with psychiatric disorders may not understand their actions and cause harm to other people. A person in a state of severe stress and public pressure can also intentionally aim to harm his or her offenders, as this happened in many cases with school shootings. However, the most common manifestation of an undiagnosed and untreated mental disorder or depression is suicide with the use of a weapon. For this reason, the government needs to take measures to improve the mental health of citizens, as well as develop psychiatric tools to prevent gun violence.

In conclusion, gun control in the United States implies improving the quality and safety of firearms and a restriction of their sales to people who have not passed the test for their possession. A complete ban on weapons can lead to minor positive changes, but the harm from such a decision will be much higher. The state should direct its efforts to eliminate the causes of gun violence but not weapons since if there is a problem, people will always find another way to harm themselves and others.

References

Fairchild, H. (2017). Gun Violence in America. In (Re)Solving Violence In America (2nd ed., pp. 19–26). Delhi, India: Indo American Books.

Spitzer, R. J. (2015). Politics of Gun Control (6th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Wozniak, K. H. (2017). Public Opinion About Gun Control Post–Sandy Hook. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 28(3), 255–278.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 7). Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/gun-control-in-america-public-opinion-amp-policies/

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"Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies." IvyPanda, 7 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/gun-control-in-america-public-opinion-amp-policies/.

1. IvyPanda. "Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies." July 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gun-control-in-america-public-opinion-amp-policies/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies." July 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/gun-control-in-america-public-opinion-amp-policies/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Gun Control in America: Public Opinion & Policies'. 7 July.

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