Gun violence is one of the most terrifying and, unfortunately, relevant issues of our time. This problem is most acute in countries where the carrying of weapons is allowed, such as the United States. Accordingly, to solve the problem of gun violence, it is necessary to adopt appropriate legislative acts regulating the handling of weapons. However, the adoption of such laws is always accompanied by disputes about their effectiveness. The purpose of this essay is to answer the question of how strengthening gun laws affect violence and whether these changes are positive.
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Laws related to the regulation of the number of weapons are always subject to heated discussion and debate. It should be noted that advocates of such legislative acts can often be wrong almost to a greater extent than their opponents. As Schell and Morall write, the study of such a complex issue as weapons laws and their impact on the situation requires extensive theoretical research and accurate measurements (233).
However, in society, there is a widespread and outdated opinion that the very existence of such laws can improve the situation. Such views lead to fundamentally incorrect research, misleading people. An example of such a study is the work of Bindu Kalesan and his colleagues, in which he states the possibility of reducing deaths from firearms by 98% by adopting only three policies (Schell and Morall 233). The mere introduction of strategies designed to tighten arms laws cannot affect the situation in a positive way, but it can bring negative consequences.
Legislation governing the circulation of weapons should be drawn up very carefully and taking into account possible outcomes. Such results can be not only misleading but also can lead to the actual increase in gun violence. There are a lot of policies that lead to such consequences, and although the influence of each of them is small, their simultaneous presence can significantly change the situation.
Conducted by Kleck et al., the study confirms that out of 57 possible law effects, 20 can be distinguished, of which 8 are negative and 12are positive (512). Adverse effects generally correspond to the disarmament of victims of violence, making them vulnerable. Fortunately, laws with violence-increasing consequences usually have little support. However, the number of possible adverse effects makes us think carefully about the use of weapons adjustment policies and their specific research in each case.
One policy that does bring actual results and helps reduce the number of deaths from firearms is the handgun waiting period policy. Such laws are aimed at increasing the time interval between the initiation of the purchase of weapons and getting it in the hands of the buyer. First of all, such delays have a cooling effect on customers, holding them back from impulsive purchases and giving them time to cool down and think about their actions.
Such measures are very effective in dealing with people who are prone to a spontaneous desire to harm others or themselves due to rage or suicidal thoughts. After the time specified by law has passed, the impulsive desire to acquire weapons may disappear, thus having a positive effect on the dynamics of deaths from firearms. According to Luca et al., an increase in this period reduced gun homicides by 17 percent and helped avoid 750 incidents in 17 US states (12162). Therefore, the strengthening of legislation in the direction of the delay in issuing weapons to people can lead to positive results and dynamics.
Thus, it can be concluded that the strengthening of arms laws can have different nature and impact on the situation with violence with the use of firearms. Simply enforcing legislation will not help combat the increase in the number of victims of violence, as a more subtle and cautious approach is required. Thoughtless adoption of laws can only harm because, in addition to the positive, there are also negative factors. Nevertheless, specific policies can successfully reduce gun violence, so there are a sense and benefit in introducing regulatory laws.
Kleck, Gary, et. al. “Does Gun Control Reduce Violent Crime?” Criminal Justice Review, vol. 41 no. 4, pp. 488–513.
Luca, Michael, et. al. “Handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114, no. 46, 2017, pp. 12162-12165.
Schell, Terry L., and Morral, Andrew R.. “Gun violence prevention.” The Lancet, vol. 388, no. 10041, 2016, pp. 233-234.