Gun Control in America

Gun Control in America

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Why Gun Control Has Been Difficult to Pass in America and What This Says About the Policy Process

In 2019, the US gun-related mortality rate per 100,000 was 3.96, which was 100 times that of the United Kingdom, where there are higher restrictions for the general public on access to guns (Cahn, 2022). Thus, there is evidence showing that many Americans die from a lack of gun control. Despite this fact, the US government has not succeeded in regulating the use and possession of firearms (Hickenlooper, 2019). This discussion post addresses why gun control has been difficult to pass in the US and uncovers what this says about the policy process.

The main reason why gun control has been difficult to pass in the US is because it violates the second amendment, which accords Americans the right to bear arms (Merry, 2016; Vizzard, 1995). For many years, the US Supreme Court has viewed the constitutional right to possess arms as one’s right to self-defense, which has made it very difficult for Congress to control firearms. Tony Fabian, who served as the president of the Colorado State Shooting Association (CSSA), an organization that protested against gun control, claimed that bills on gun control directly attacked the constitutional right to possess arms (Hickenlooper, 2019). The second amendment allows interpretation, especially when ‘proper and necessary and an ‘elastic’ constitutional clause is factored in. The clause gives Congress the power to enact laws that reflect the new challenges, unforeseen circumstances, and changing times. This stipulation became a crucial part of the American democracy, posing a problem when it comes to laws regarding gun control because both sides of the issue claim that the constitution supports their interpretation of this amendment. Thus, unclear guidance on the right to possess firearms by the second amendment adds confusion resulting in further debates.

The fact that passing bills and laws that support gun control in America violate the Second Amendment implies that the policy process in America is ineffective and needs to be revised to avoid the enactment of policies that contract each other.


Cahn, L. (2022). Why Is It So Hard to Stop Gun Violence in America?. Reader’s Digest. Retrieved 10 June 2022, from

Hickenlooper, J. (2019). Gun control case study: A mass shooting, significant reforms, and political backlash. NBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2022, from

Merry, M. K. (2016). Constructing policy narratives in 140 characters or less: The case of gun policy organizations. Policy Studies Journal, 44(4), 373-395.

Vizzard, W. (1995). The Impact of Agenda Conflict on Policy Formulation and Implementation: The Case of Gun Control. Public Administration Review, 341-347.