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The issue of gun control in the US is a complicated matter due to the extensive history of violence and debates regarding the efficiency of regulations that aim to minimize access to weapons. An important question, in this case, is the issue of mental health, which appears to be the main contributor to the mass shootings, which is typically not addressed by legislators. This paper aims to compare personal findings regarding gun control and compare those to scholarly research.
Importance of the Topic
The topic chosen for this research is relevant due to the increasing number of gun violence cases in recent years. One element that contributes to the controversy regarding the gun control issue is the Second Amendment. Due to the nature of this legislation, the citizens of the US choose to interpret it differently, with some arguing that it is their right to own a weapon. One can claim that clarification from the government, for instance, a specified law, would resolve the problem and outline the particular components of owning a weapon.
However, Burrus (2013) cites a commentary from Joe Biden, who admitted that strict gun regulations would not help mitigate the number of crimes committed using assault weapons. This argument suggests that the gun control issue should be investigated more thoroughly to introduce an efficient policy that will combat violence.
Research conducted by scholars on the issue of gun violence and governmental regulations that help mitigate the problem can be used to develop practices for reducing the levels of crime. Cohn et al. (2013) conducted intriguing research investigating the actual level of crimes committed using weapons and public knowledge regarding this issue. The findings suggest that the levels of homicide, in fact, decreased since 1993 despite the general belief that the violence rates increase continuously. Cohn et al. (2013) provide a statistic suggesting that the peak of this issue was seen in 1993, while “the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew” (para. 2).
The paradox described in this research suggests that despite the enhanced attention from the general public towards the issue of gun control, most people are not aware of factual data regarding these crimes. This may be due to the inadequate portrayal of some media or other news sources, suggesting that additional attention should be dedicated to this aspect of public awareness. Graph 1 presents the data indicating the declining trend of violence in the country over the years.
Public opinion regarding guns is shaped by many components. However, it is critical to examine data to locate a proper solution. Phillips (2015) argues that the issue of politicizing mass shootings contributes to the inability of both the government and the general public to locate an adequate solution to this problem. The author indicates that data collected through various researchers suggest that pro-gun control actions will not result in the reduction of the number of mass shootings.
One argument that supports this claim is that the US already has the highest number of guns per citizen ratio without having the highest level of crimes among the developed states (Phillips, 2015). Therefore, despite the prevalence of opinions regarding a more strict control of the weapons in the country, it is not a valid resolution to the issue.
The impact of news outlets citing misleading information or transforming facts to ensure that they gain more public attention has a vital role in this problem as well, which should be considered when developing gun-related policies. Lacapria (2015) cites a study by Harvard University that suggests no correlation between the number of firearms owned in the area and the level of crime. Thus, the models and arguments suggesting that minimizing the physical amount of weapons through governmental regulation are not true. The findings substantiate arguments presented by other scholars, such as Cohn et al. (2013) and Phillips (2015), and Burrur’s (2013) statements.
The issue that should be emphasized here is the fact that prior studies on gun control were not checked in accordance with the peer-review process, and therefore their validity is questionable. Moreover, Lacapria (2015) provides an example of false information spreading through online media regarding the issue, which worsens the problem of gun control and appropriate resolutions. In general, it can be argued that the public should be educated on the question of gun ownership, with citations from relevant statistics and research to ensure evidence-based practices are used as the basis for new laws.
One aspect of scholarly research that focuses on gun regulations is the viewpoints of individuals. Burrus (2013) offers an essential insight into the topic of guns by suggesting that culture is the predominant issue that does not allow people with a different opinion on the subject to come to a cohesive conclusion. The viewpoint that the author defends is connected to the belief that the government has to have a strong justification for taking guns from its citizens, while currently, no such argument exists.
The aspect of culture and its implications within this debate can be assessed by evaluating the attitudes towards the government. Burrus (2013) argues that some individuals view firearms as a method for protecting themselves against the prospective tyranny of the official. This element is usually not part of the gun debate and should be examined more closely because it reflects the political views of both sides of the gun debate.
The Second Amendment, which was discussed above, has a significant impact on the issue. Kates (1983) states that “even if the historical evidence does establish an individual right to arms, it remains to define its parameters, particularly with regard to gun control rather than gun prohibition-confiscation” (para. 5). The issue is in the different interpretation of this legislation, which lacks a substantial claim that will explicitly outline the rights of people in regards to weapons in the modern world.
Based on the suggestions provided by Kates (1983) and other researchers that were discussed above, one can argue that the current discussion about guns lacks evidence and support from the factual data. Therefore, educations through the presentation of valid resources and information based on studies are necessary to ensure that both the citizens of the US and the government officials are capable of reaching a consensus.
In order to carry out personal research, a survey using Survey Monkey online tool was created. The questions include opinions regarding gun control, primary news sources, National Rifle Association (NRA) attitudes, and attitudes towards existing legislation. An essential element of this questionnaire is the assessment of preferences towards stricter control or emphasis on mental health in regards to gun violence. In general, it can be concluded that the findings suggest a need for additional education on the topic of gun control and avoidance of strategies such as armed guards at schools or teachers carrying guns due to the controversies surrounding these strategies. Additionally, it can be concluded that the opinion regarding gun legislation is shaped by personal experience and ownership of weapons.
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In general, the findings correlate with those presented by the scholars and discussed in the first section of the paper. The ideas that lead the debate regarding the need for more regulation of firearm weapons within the country are not always substantiated by information from credible sources. Additionally, these opinions are shaped by personal and cultural beliefs, suggesting that education is necessary to highlight other elements of violent crimes, for instance, mental health. It can be argued that checking the sources of information for validity, including articles published in reliable magazines for peer review, is crucial for obtaining valid data that can be used in the gun debate.
Overall, the topic of gun control through stricter regulation is a debatable issue. The findings presented by scholars suggest that the general population of the US is unaware of the statistics and data findings connected to violence in the country. Thus, the central claim of this paper is that education is a better answer than gun control in the context of firearm violence is substantiated by many researchers. Another element of education is a sufficient understanding of the political viewpoints and culture that guides both sides of the debate.
Burrus, T. (2013). The gun debate is a culture debate. Web.
Cohn, D., Taylor, P., Lopez, M. H., Gallagher, K., Parker, K. & Maass, K. T. (2013). Gun homicide rate down 49% since 1993 peak; Public unaware. Web.
Kates, J. (1983). Handgun prohibition and the original meaning of the Second Amendment. Web.
Lacapria, C. (2015). Harvard University study reveals astonishing link between firearms, crime and gun control. Web.
Phillips, A. (2015). The gun-control debate, explained in 5 questions. Web.