Table of Contents
Most individuals view guns as sources of violence and crime unless they are being used by individuals who are part of law enforcement. The majority believe that the best way to reduce gun-related crimes is by having strict gun control laws. Studies, however, have shown that gun control laws are not as effective as many individuals think. The lack of a clear constitutional basis for gun control has also made the issue vague. Even worse, gun control restricts individuals who need the guns for self-protection from having the guns more than it restricts criminals from possessing guns. Authorities need to develop better ways of ensuring that guns do not end up in the hands of criminals instead of over-relying on gun control.
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Illegal Gun Trade
Tighter gun control rules make the illegal gun markets a better solution for most criminals. Chicago, for example, is known for its strict gun laws, yet the rate of firearm recovery through crime is much higher than that of cities and states with less strict gun laws. Research shows that straw purchasing is common in states with strict gun laws. Straw purchasing refers to a process where criminals hire a legal gun owner to purchase guns on their behalf. That explains why several mass shootings still occur in gun-free zones (Johnson et al., 2021). It is also evident that criminals who use guns to execute their acts of crime will do anything possible to acquire the guns. Besides, it is almost impossible for a criminal who owns a gun to be stopped by a non-criminal who owns a gun. In an attempt to stop criminals from committing crimes, non-criminals who own guns often end up causing harm to innocent individuals.
Use of Drugs
Studies have shown that the use of drugs plays a major part in triggering gun violence. According to research, most criminals who use guns to commit acts of violence are either under the influence or are drug addicts. However, studies conducted after the prohibition of the use of alcohol in the United States showed that gun violence increased by 40% (Banks et al., 2017). It was found that most individuals who owned guns in the United States used guns or drugs to resolve conflicts. Since the costs of alcohol prohibition were too high, the authorities found it better to do away with the prohibition. Psychologists argued that instead of strict gun control guidelines, it would be better to create awareness of the use of drugs and better ways of solving conflicts to have individuals stay away from violent acts.
Role of Poverty
Most individuals who advocate for strict gun control rules believe that the ownership of guns begets violence which is not always the case. Despair cultivated by poverty and lack of opportunity has been strongly associated with gun violence. Having stricter gun laws does not get to the root of the problem. Studies indicate that the rates of gun violence are higher in areas where individuals have limited access to opportunities than where individuals have a wide variety of opportunities. In several interviews, poor non Whites have admitted that they ended up in violence and crime due to limited opportunities (Spitzer, 2020). The authorities need to pay attention to the lack of opportunities experienced, especially by the people of color. The government also needs to develop programs to increase the likelihood of the marginalized communities access to opportunities.
Familial or Partner Violence
According to studies, more than two-thirds of children’s murders are committed by their parents. Almost half of the female murders are committed by partners or ex-partners. Generally, studies show that at least 1 out of 5 homicide victims is murdered by a close family member (Fridel & Fox, 2019). However, gun control does not address such cases appropriately since mass shootings inform most gun control rules. That means that though gun policies are meaningfully informed, they miss out on solving familial and partner gun violence cases. In such cases, organizations that deal with domestic violence are in a better position to handle the issues by informing individuals on how to avoid getting involved in domestic violence and how to make sure one is not a victim of domestic violence. These organizations would also better inform gun control policies, especially on personal gun ownership. The laws insist on having an individual meet the rules for gun ownership, such as not openly carrying a weapon and having a sound mind before one can own a gun legally. However, these conditions might change with time, causing homicides by partners or family members since little follow-up is done to ensure that gun owners still comply with the rules and regulations after getting ownership.
Gun control is not able to solve the cases of gun violence. Instead of taking care of the acts of criminals, it further restricts the non-criminals who abide by the laws. Any government that wants to get rid of gun violence should address other factors that cause further acts of gun violence, such as poverty, the use of drugs, partner violence, familial violence, and the illegal trade of guns. Gun control goes against the constitutional right to own firearms. Stricter guidelines also need to be put in place where individuals who legally own the guns should consistently meet the requirements of ownership while ensuring that criminals do not use them through straw purchasing. However, this does not mean that gun control should be totally dismissed but that it should be made more effective by considering other factors contributing to gun violence.
- Banks, G., Hadenfeldt, K., Janoch, M., Manning, C., Ramos, K., & Wolf, D. A. P. S. (2017). Gun violence and substance abuse. Aggression and violent behavior, 34, 113-116.
- Fridel, E. E., & Fox, J. A. (2019). Gender differences in patterns and trends in US homicide, 1976–2017. Violence and Gender, 6(1), 27-36.
- Johnson, B. T., Sisti, A., Bernstein, M., Chen, K., Hennessy, E. A., Acabchuk, R. L., & Matos, M. (2021). Community-level factors and incidence of gun violence in the United States, 2014–2017. Social Science & Medicine, 280, 113969.
- Spitzer, R. J. (2020). The politics of gun control. Routledge.