Violence and Control of Gun in the US

Summary

Gun violence and crime present a great danger to the well-being of the general public. While the government recognizes the problem, it is difficult for an individual to determine their personal role in this affair. The available research on the topic of gun violence mitigation is often not conclusive, and a definite solution to the problem is yet to be found. Many people are unsure how to correctly approach the issue, and a need to provide the public with concise and helpful information to the public persists. A project aimed at informing current and future gun owners, promoting action to change gun legislation, and providing resources helpful in preventing gun violence will be able to fulfill that niche and bring possible benefit to the community.

The existence of problems connected with gun violence and ownership will be outlined to discuss their potential solutions, and provide a general plan for the brochure. In order to gather information on this topic and offer the best solutions, I will conduct thorough literature research. I will look for relevant statistics regarding the number of cases of gun violence. Moreover, I will study scholarly surveys to discover public opinions. In conclusion, I will examine all possible solutions that are provided by policymakers and researchers and then will pick the most beneficial resolutions.

Introduction

In the modern world, the right of citizens to own, carry, and use weapons is protected or restricted in developed countries. In the United States, this type of civil liberties is recognized as one of the fundamental. For this reason, it is stated in the Constitution, namely, in the Second Amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights. However, this issue of gun control remains one of the most controversial topics in the 21st century. This stems from popular worries that the current regulations increase the number of gun violence. The rise in violent crimes that involve guns is a major concern in many countries. Therefore, demands for tougher criminal liabilities and more limitations became a natural reaction of society; nowadays, people tend to protest existing legislation. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of this approach is debatable; for this reason, there is a clear need for further research. Scholars and policymakers recognize the importance of conducting an analysis of this problem and considering comprehensive responses to address it.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world where gun crime presents a serious danger to the safety and well-being of its citizens. There is currently no way to completely stop people from using guns to harm themselves or other individuals. Many are misinformed about the current crime trends, their causes, and the ways of prevention. The legislation in regards to gun licensing and possession is ill-equipped to combat or effectively prevent firearm-related violence. In Pennsylvania, this problem is more apparent than in a few other states, and the need to take action is apparent. This paper aims to provide evidence of gun violence being an issue and present a community-based solution to the problem.

Whenever there is a mass shooting in America, which often happens especially during recent years, it certainly becomes one of the main news not only in the country but around the world as well. This provides a reason for the supporters of restricting gun control to step up again. As for Pennsylvania, researchers indicate a big number of deaths and injuries from gun violence. For instance, according to Gross et al. (2017), “of the 462,081 patients presenting to Pennsylvania trauma centers from 2003 to 2015, 19,342 suffered from gunshots wounds” (p. 189). However, first of all, the restriction of gun control, even in the view of its supporters, does not mean the full abolition of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. To be more precise, the term gun control is understood as a ban or a sharp constraint of the possession of dangerous weapons. They include automatic or semi-automatic weapons, which are usually used by killers during mass shootings.

Significance of the Issue

The relevance of this issue cannot be overestimated since it raises many heated discussions across the country. Most importantly, this topic is related to the regulation of citizens’ rights to possess, carry, and use weapons. This prerogative is heavily doubted by those who do not support free gun ownership. On the other hand, there are significant problems associated with the practical implementation of the rights and freedoms of citizens regarding this problem. The reason for this is the number of tragic events that led to mass deaths in the United States over the past few years. After every mass shooting, many people go to public demonstrations, which cause more disturbance in the communities. As a rule, such negative events result in vigorous debates both in society and in government structures. These complex issues are resolved in different ways in different countries. Therefore, they require a careful study to understand possible and solutions, which will take into account current opinions and possible options for improving legislation.

The prevalence of gun homicides and suicides in the state of Pennsylvania is a concerning issue for the community. The overall death rate in the state keeps increasing with each passing year, with the issue disproportionally affecting males and black people (The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 2020). The use of guns as a method of suicide is especially concerning in this regard. The lethality and high associability of firearms make them a preferred method of suicide for many (Guns and Suicide). The second issue is the availability of assault weapons and high-capacity guns as the means of self-defense. For personal protection, the use of low-caliber arms and pistols proves to be just as effective, so the availability of assault weapons proves dangerous and unjustified. The last pronounced issue connected with gun violence is the lack of clear directions to help people combat it on a personal level. The creation of a short, comprehensive overview of gun violence issues and their peculiarities might help to inform the public and prevent future crime.

Research

Barry, C. L., Webster, D. W., Stone, E., Crifasi, C. K., Vernick, J. S., & Mcginty, E. E. (2018). Public support for gun violence prevention policies among gun owners and non–gun owners in 2017. American Journal of Public Health, 108(7), 878–881. Web. 

The study analyzed the public support levels between gun owners and non-gun owners in regards to 24 gun legislation policies. The available information gives the initiative of extending background checks more credibility and provides a general direction for the future development of gun legislation.

Dimaggio, C., Avraham, J., Berry, C., Bukur, M., Feldman, J., Klein, M., Shah, N., Tandon, M., Frangos, S. (2019). Changes in US mass shooting deaths associated with the 1994–2004 federal assault weapons ban. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 86(1), 11–19. Web. 

An analysis discusses the impact of the previously instated assault weapon ban and its effect on mass shooting fatality. The paper highlights the dangers of assault weapons and the main reason why their use should be restricted. By citing its results in the brochure, the people’s desire to support stricter gun legislation may increase.

Frattaroli, S., Webster, D. W., & Wintemute, G. J. (2013). Implementing a public health approach to gun violence prevention: the importance of physician engagement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 158(9), 697-698. Web. 

This article focuses its attention on the ways of preventing gun violence. The authors propose that informed professionals can help to reduce the frequency of gun violence in America. This article will be referenced in the brochure when offering potential local remedies to gun crime.

Guns and suicide. CeaseFire PA. 2020, Web. 

The resource calls attention to the firearm suicide statistics in particular and explains in detail why the availability of guns is detrimental to particular groups of people. This page can be used as a source of helpful, persuasive statistics as well as include the stated resources on emergency services.

Knoll, J. L. IV, & Annas, G. D. (2016). Mass shootings and mental illness. In L. H. Gold & R. I. Simon (Eds.), Gun violence and mental illness (pp. 81–104). American Psychiatric Association.

The paper analyzes and discusses the factors that lead to the perpetuation of mass shootings and estimates the impact mental illness has on the matter. The paper discusses the need to recognize and redirect the feelings of anger in people to prevent future tragedies. Results of this research can be used to inform people reading the brochure.

Miller, M., Hepburn, L., & Azrael, D. (2017). Firearm acquisition without background checks. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(4), 233. Web. 

This paper used an online survey to measure how many people from 2015 to 2017 have acquired their firearms without a background check. The results show that around 22% of current gun owners in the US have secured their firearms without being subjected to scrutiny. The study indicates a clear problem in the process of gun acquisition and further highlights the need to implement universal background information checks.

Pennsylvania mass shootings. Gun Violence Archive. 2020, Web. 

The archive lists and presents a comprehensive overview of documented gun crimes in America. The database can be effectively navigated and used to find data regarding different types of crime sorted by date, location, or any other parameter. This source can be used to count the number of mass shootings that have occurred in Pennsylvania and see whether their quantity has increased over the years.

Sen, B., & Panjamapirom, A. (2012). State background checks for gun purchase and firearm deaths: An exploratory study. Preventive Medicine, 55(4), 346–350. Web. 

This study highlights the importance of conducting thorough background checks on potential gun owners to reduce the possibility of firearms being misused. The paper has analyzed the available state data on the types of information checks and violent crime occurrences. The authors conclude by stating that extensive background checks were generally associated with a reduction in firearm homicides and suicides. The data will be used to argue for longer background checks in the brochure.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. (2020). Pennsylvania gun deaths: 2018. Web.

This resource compiles the available information on deaths caused by gun violence and outlines the general yearly trends for its development. This information can be used in comparison with other states to emphasize the need for immediate action, as well as to provide predictions for future developments.

Solutions and Intentions

In the United States, one can buy long-barrel weapons from the age of 18 and short-barrel weapons from the age of 21. Furthermore, it became a normal practice to give children guns and shotguns for their birthdays as gifts. Regular mass shootings, which have repeatedly broken the record for the number of victims in recent years, are gradually changing the attitude of American society and politicians.

It would seem that the adoption of an effective gun control law after such horrific tragedies should not have been a problem. In most states, it is forbidden to buy weapons only for those who were convicted of a criminal offense or who spent one year or more in prison. After implementing penalties for violations of firearm transfer, “the annual number of prosecutions significantly increased” (Crifasi et al., 2019, p. 2). These dangerous items will not be sold to someone who has fled from justice, is mentally disabled, takes drugs, or was renounced US citizenship.

At the same time, public authorities in the United States are obliged to take into account the constitutionally ensured right to keep and carry weapons and other rights of citizens. This entitlement is meant to protect the private life and property of American citizens. In addition, criminological researchers argue that “gun availability to the ordinary citizen does not promote violence but rather secures an individual’s safety” (Cooper, 2015, p. 337). Sometimes it seems that it is impossible to make progress in discussing this issue. The main question is not whether the government should restrict firearms, but where the appropriate boundary will be indicated and what specific weapons will be restricted.

Fortunately, there is a number of researches that study public opinions on the controversy of gun control. According to Lewis et al. (2016), “females believed military assault weapons and high capacity magazines should be banned more than compared to male students” (p. 482). This result suggests that even though many young people believe that gun control should be stricter, the overwhelming majority of Americans are not going to disarm.

The second debatable question is whether the government can implement severe gun control in states. In Pennsylvania, there were several attempts to combat violence, for instance, the public program CeaseFire. Although it was partially successful, researchers note that the state should also address the problem with racial disadvantages which is apparent in Pennsylvania (Beard et al., 2017). There are different policies that could be implemented in the state to decrease the number of shootings. For example, they include “universal background checks, higher safety training standards, gun prohibitions for persons subject to temporary domestic violence restraining orders” (Barry et al., 2018, p. 880). Another proposed solution is to create an informational brochure and distribute it to the members of the community. This initiative can help to attract contemporary problems connected with firearm legislation and provide advice for general safety. The brochure will include relevant information on gun crime, suicide, and mass shooting statistics, and outline recourses to help demographics that are vulnerable to committing gun crime. The pamphlet will also contain a number of possible legislative initiatives that would benefit public safety.

Timeline

  • Determine which statistical data is most useful, presentable, and convincing
  • Visually optimize the gathered information
  • Design the visual components of the brochure
  • Structure the information inside the brochure

Conclusion

The paper has outlined the process of creating a brochure on gun violence. The need to address the persisting community problem was recognized, creating an opportunity for the project. The main sources of information were discussed and presented in an understandable manner. Using the available research data, the main body of the project has been formed. A basic timeline of steps and a general plan of action were established. There are several solutions that can regulate the process of acquiring firearms. In conclusion, there is no doubt that making Pennsylvania a safer place will be difficult since there are would not be perfect solutions. Nevertheless, a change is possible with the creation of the informational brochure and restricting gun transfer laws.

References

Barry, C. L., Webster, D. W., Stone, E., Crifasi, C. K., Vernick, J. S., & Mcginty, E. E. (2018). Public support for gun violence prevention policies among gun owners and non–gun owners in 2017. American Journal of Public Health, 108(7), 878–881. Web.

Beard, J. H., Morrison, C. N., Jacoby, S. F., Dong, B., Smith, R., Sims, C. A., & Wiebe, D. J. (2017). Quantifying disparities in urban firearm violence by race and place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a cartographic study. American journal of public health, 107(3), 371-373.

Cooper, A. C. (2015). Fully loaded: An alternative view of the gun control debate. Albany Government Law Review, 8, 337.

Crifasi, C. K., Merrill-Francis, M., Webster, D. W., Wintemute, G. J., & Vernick, J. S. (2019). Changes in the legal environment and enforcement of firearm transfer laws in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Injury Prevention, 25(1).

Dimaggio, C., Avraham, J., Berry, C., Bukur, M., Feldman, J., Klein, M., Shah, N., Tandon, M., Frangos, S. (2019). Changes in US mass shooting deaths associated with the 1994–2004 federal assault weapons ban. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 86(1), 11–19. Web.

Frattaroli, S., Webster, D. W., & Wintemute, G. J. (2013). Implementing a public health approach to gun violence prevention: The importance of physician engagement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 158(9), 697-698. Web.

Gross, B. W., Cook, A. D., Rinehart, C. D., Lynch, C. A., Bradburn, E. H., Bupp, K. A., & Rogers, F. B. (2017). An epidemiologic overview of 13 years of firearm hospitalizations in Pennsylvania. Journal of surgical research, 210, 188-195.

Guns and suicide. CeaseFire PA. 2020. Web.

Knoll, J. L. IV, & Annas, G. D. (2016). Mass shootings and mental illness. In L. H. Gold & R. I. Simon (Eds.), Gun violence and mental illness (pp. 81–104). American Psychiatric Association.

Lewis, R. K., LoCurto, J., Brown, K., Stowell, D., Dean, A., McNair, T., & Siwierka, J. (2016). College students’ opinions on gun violence. Journal of Community Health, 41(3), 482-487. Web.

Miller, M., Hepburn, L., & Azrael, D. (2017). Firearm acquisition without background checks. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(4), 233. Web.

Pennsylvania mass shootings. Gun Violence Archive. 2020, Web.

Sen, B., & Panjamapirom, A. (2012). State background checks for gun purchase and firearm deaths: An exploratory study. Preventive Medicine, 55(4), 346–350. Web.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. (2020). Pennsylvania gun deaths: 2018. Web.

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