Gun Policy





Gun Policy

In the United States gun control is one of the most controversial topics. There is always an unending back and forth debate in Congress, but no clear solution is easy identified. It is, however, important to discuss this issue while being open-minded. Some people may argue that mass shootings in the US such as that of the Las Vegas strip in October 2017 are brought about by less strict gun laws and increase the rate of gun ownership (Jones, pg. 167-174). According to statistics, it has been proved that the lack of clear gun policies in the United States has actually contributed to gun violence. This paper will look into the issue of gun policy, if gun policies have been implemented and what effects it has resulted in.

The first incident in the United States that may have led to people having a candid discussion on gun control was the assassination of John F Kennedy. Before 1968, getting access to guns by American adults was quite easy. People were also able to get their guns from stores and the mail catalogues sand after the assassination there was a concern on how easy one could get guns including military grade assault weapons. There was a gun control act, the 1968 Gun Control Act and this was the first law that would see the regulation of guns. The act regulated interstate transfer of firearms and the only people who were exempted by these laws were the licenced dealer. This law paved a way for other gun policies and laws that would be introduced both at the state or federal level in order to regulate guns (Jehan, pg. 11).

In 1994, a major law was passed and this was seen as a win on gun control. The Public Safety and Recreational Firearm Use Act passed a ban on use of military style weapons as well as magazines that accommodated more than 10 rounds. The Democrats pushed for this reforms and although they got the backing from the Republicans it was on the basis that the act would expire after 10 years. After 2004, the ban expired and civilians were back to accessing military style weapon. America has recorded the highest number of gun related violence in the world and it is sad that young adults including school going children have been victims of these violence. There are various states that have taken the matter upon their hands and created gun control laws including banning of the assault weapons while certain states are reluctant to do this (Morrall, pg. 45-78). There has been research that have explored various statistic related with gun-related violence and the various measures that have been taken in trying to deal with the issue. With the increase in the number of gun related violence and mass shooting then legislation and discussion on gun control need to happen.

In a research that was conducted by Pew Research Centre, approximately 45% of the Americans have guns. This is close to half the population and begs the question why such a high number of people have guns. Since 1982, there have been more than 110 cases of mass shooting in the United States. Mass shooting accounts for a small percentage of gun violence as others are homicide and suicide cases. Getting guns in the United States has been easy and one can testify this as Adam Lanza the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was able to walk into a gun store and bought a military-style weapon that he used to kill innocent children. The laws that exists currently have loop holes and that is why although before one can get a gun a background check is necessary most of the time people get to buy guns without the background check.

Statistics on states that have strict gun laws have proved he importance of gun legislation in helping in gun control thus reducing mass shooting and any gun related deaths or maiming. The top eight most states that have restrictive laws include Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and California. These states have greatly reduced the number of gun related incidents that have taken place. States with more permissive rates have been highly ranked on the number of shootings that have occurred and they include Vermont, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, Ohio and Arizona. Texas recently experienced a terror attack and no changes in the laws were made. What came as a shock to many actually was the fact that Texas allowed people to carry guns to church after the Senate Bill 535 was approved (Samantha, pg. 109). Although they indicate it’s only for licensed gun owners, this seems to be so much permissibility when it comes to gun laws and restriction to a country that has been wrecked by constant shootings and attacks. The states that have permissible gun laws are making it hard for states that have regulated gun control to have an easy time. An example is the killing of the three people that occurred in Gilroy, California. The gun man travelled from Gilroy all the way to Nevada to buy military-style rifle as he could not do so in his home state. This shows that if Nevada had strict gun laws then this man may not have acquired the said weapon and thus not in a position to carry out the attack. It is also of great concern that the country lacks law on assault or rather military-style weapon. In 1994, there was a Federal Assault Weapon Ban that was passed by the congress restricting the sale of military style and high capacity magazine. Military style weapons ae weapons that can kill a high number of victims in just a span of seconds. Such weapons should have no place or rather should not be carried by civilians but belong to the war zones and in military camps. The ban was passed but had an expiration after 10 years unless renewed by congress thus the ban ended in 2004 and was never renewed. Most were hopeful that the conversation would come up again after the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting. This conversation did come up but no extreme measures were taken only suggestion of how strict gun laws should be there (Luca, pg. 96). It is however important to point out that there are states that have restriction on military-style weapons but no such laws exist at the federal level.

Gun control is likely to increase sale of guns in the black market. Gun consumers have repeatedly portrayed their love for guns over and over again and made it clear they would not let anyone take that away from them. This was evident when guns were bought that gun shops experienced stock outs. If guns are banned or control, then there is the likelihood that people may decide to use the black market as the source of their guns. Guns found in the black market are often quite cheap as one may even acquire a handgun for less than $100. Most people who are pro-gun ownership have pointed out that gun control laws and banning of weapons may result in people seeking other ways that they could acquire guns and this includes using the black market (Manier). I however think this argument is fictional. Dangerous people over the years have been able to access guns and mostly it is because of the weak laws that are in place. Before we make the judgement on acquisition of guns from the lack market, how about first we pass the laws then get the statistics if this is true. Acquiring of guns from the black market can be regulated through legislation and vigilance from law enforcers who would apprehend individuals found buying or possessing a gun acquired from the black market.

When talking about gun policies it is important to also look at the correlation between crime rates and gun ownership. The correlation between gun laws and crime rates has often been seen as insignificant by the social theorists. An increase in crime rate can be attributed to various factors such as unemployment. It is false to state that countries with the highest rate of gun ownership have an increase in crime rate. The truth of the matter is unemployment may actually contribute to higher crime rates than gun ownership. It is possible to have a lawbreaking society without guns (Lott, pg. 113). In Europe, Russia despite having strict gun laws, the crime rates were at an all-time high from 1965-1999. This is despite low gun ownership rates. The perpetrators opted to use other weapons. While its neighbours Denmark and Germany, have experienced low crime rates despite increase gun possession. While trying to implement gun policies and legislation arguments such as increased crime rates do not really help as those who are pro-guns can be able to water down the argument with factual backing on why this reasoning is not completely correct. Guns although can cause harm, they can also be used for self-defence including bringing down an attacker.

Gun shows act as a catalyst in the increase of crime rates. These claims are quite false since the arms dealers are required to run background checks. The notion that that gun shows are the reasons why a large number of firearms are accessible to criminals is false. Background checks are put in place to keep guns out of reach for dangerous people. Instead of blaming gun shows better checks should be put in place to catch early warning signs since many gun violence offenders have been able to pass the screening. Case in point is the attacker named Nikolas Cruz was able to pass the screening and acquired a rifle which he later on allegedly killed 17 people at a south Florida high school. These loopholes of not being able to identify people who have suffered from mental disorders and later on commit crimes need to be sealed

Politicians propel their agendas by prying on peoples fear about gun control. Over the years the debate about gun control has often been a debate between the Republicans and the Democrats (Spitzer, pg. 126). By looking at even the funding of the Republican politicians you will find that they get the backing of people who do not want to have gun control. Although the constitution needs to be respected, the issue of gun control and right to bear arms need to be respected. When our fore fathers were drafting the constitution, they did not envision the kind of gun violence that is being witnessed. Politicians need to have a more candid ad clear conversation on gun policies without leaning on any political sides.

The massacres and shootings are dreadful and unacceptable. However, introducing more stringent rules will not solve the problem at hand as it is quite possible for a criminal to pass through various screenings such as background checks (Nilsen). Gun control does not guarantee crime free society. It is true to say that the politicians and to some extent the media have blown things out of proportion. The politicians who use peoples fear on matters crime to fuel their agenda on matters gun control. Contrary to common misgivings crime rate is no way fuelled by an increase in gun possession by individuals. According to research conducted most citizens feel safe owning a firearm. The focus should not be on gun control policies as a way to solve the crime. They should find the underlying issue to entirely curb crime and violence.

It is important that we have the conversation on ways that we can regulate and reduce the number of guns that are available in the market. This may be a step by step transition, for example, legislators may first begin by trying to ban the assault rifles as well as the high capacity magazines. Such laws will ensure that weapons that are more likely to cause havoc in just a couple of minutes are not easily available to the market for purchase by the attackers. States too need to be vigilant on the laws they create on gun control. States that have strong gun control laws have experienced a decline in number of gun related violence and thus other states should also follow suit. Loss of life due to laws that can be altered is unacceptable

Works Cited

Works Cited

Jehan, Faisal, et al. “The burden of firearm violence in the United States: stricter laws result in safer states.” Journal of injury and violence research 10.1 (2018): 11.

Jones, Michael A., and George W. Stone. “The US gun-control paradox: Gun buyer response to congressional gun-control initiatives.” Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER) 13.4 (2015): 167-174.

Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Luca, Michael, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Palanquin. The impact of mass shootings on gun policy. No. w26187. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019.

Manier, Lauren. “Does Gun Control Really Work?” National Center for Health Research, 12 Apr. 2018,

Morrall, Andrew. “The science of gun policy: a critical synthesis of research evidence on the effects of gun policies in the United States.” Rand health quarterly 8.1 (2018).

Nilsen, Tara Golshan & Ella. “Vox.” 27 Feb 2018. Vox. 17 March 2018. <>.

Santhanam, Laura. “Most Americans Support These 4 Types of Gun Legislation, Poll Says.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 10 Sept. 2019,

Spitzer, Robert J. Politics of gun control. Routledge, 2015.