Analyzing the Gun Control Issue Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Gun Control

Definition of the Problem (Gun Control)

In America as well as other parts of the world, the role played by guns in committing violent acts, and what must be done in this regard, is a hotly debated topic. However, some facts are incontestable. Over 31,000 individuals sustained gunshot injuries in the year 2010, in America. As these victims are mostly youths, gun violence can be considered as one among the primary reasons for premature deaths in the U.S. Apart from mortal wounds, there were, in the same year, approximately 337,960 non-fatal acts of violence perpetrated with the use of guns; emergency departments of American hospitals received 73,505 cases of nonfatal wounds made by guns. The economic and social costs associated with gun violence are also huge, in the U.S. (Webster, 2013)

However, ironically, in spite of gun violence's colossal impact, a majority of public discussions in regard to gun policy revolve only around mass shooting incidents in public sites. Usually, these tragic and shocking incidents are presented as random violent acts that can neither be predicted nor prevented, perpetrated by persons with severe mental ailment. Cosequently, anybody who sees, hears, or reads gun policy-related media reports may infer the following: (1) principle concerns are mass shootings, weapons used for assault, and mentally unstable people; (2) regulations for gun control disarm honest and respectable citizens, but have no effect on lawbreakers' accessibility to weapons; (3) no evidence exists regarding whether or not gun control regulations are effective; and (4) society doesn't show sufficient interest and enthusiasm in strengthening existing gun regulations. Still, facts (backed by proofs) contradict all the above misperceptions. As indicated in the essay by Miller and colleagues (2002), gun accessibility significantly elevates risks of death by violence in the U.S., as a number of violent acts committed by guns involve impulsive altercations leading to lethal wounds or death, if guns can be easily accessed. Vittes and coworkers (2012) elucidate, in their demand for enhancing disqualifying conditions to possess firearms, that this holds true particularly when the conflicts involve people with a history of committing crime, domestic violence perpetrators, youth, and substance abusers (Webster, 2013).

America is not the only country plagued by mass shooting incidents, or addressing a prevalent issue of gun violence. There have been mass shooting incidents in Scotland, Dunblane, and Tasmania's Port Arthur, giving rise to significant changes in UK's and Australia's gun laws. Brazil was known for having one of the world's highest gun violence rates; here, too, massive alterations in gun laws brought about reduced violence rates. While bans on specific handguns (such as in Britain) or mass buybacks and bans of particular long guns (such as in Australia) will not likely happen in America, researchers did review the lessons which may be learnt by American lawmakers and advocates, from the success of other countries, in this respect. For several years, some groups maintain that the American Constitution's Second Amendment is a barrier to a majority of gun laws. Another key factor, which contributes to any specific evidence-based rule becoming a law is public opinion (Webster, 2013).

Thesis Statement: In America, guns can be uniquely accessed, when compared with other developed countries of the modern worlds, and hence, the U.S., has the highest global murder rate, by far (Kates & Mauser, n.d.)

Trading of guns in secret has emerged in America as a response to laws by the federal government forbidding possession and ownership of firearms by a specific population group believed to have an excessively high likelihood of misusing them -- i.e., chiefly youngsters and adults having serious criminal history -- while maintaining convenient access for all others (Cook, Ludwig, Venkatesh, & Braga, 2007). Since long, global comparison and evidence have, been testament to the belief that "more weapons" implies "more deaths"; therefore, "fewer weapons" implies "fewer deaths." Ever since 1965, at the very least, the false claim that America is the developed country characterized by the highest global murder rate, remains a myth created by politically-driven Soviet minimization aimed at hiding actual homicide rates. Well before 1965, extremely strict Soviet gun controls were established by a state policing system providing rigorous enforcement. The success of that regime may be understood through the fact that even to this day, there are very few civilians in Russia who possess firearms; also, very few homicides involve guns. Nevertheless, obvious success in ensuring that its citizens remain disarmed has not prevented Russia from being at the top of the list of developed nations with the highest global murder rates. During the sixties and early seventies, rates of Russian murder cases without gun involvement paralleled, or often went beyond, those of U.S., with its lax gun laws. Though the rates in America first became stable, then deteriorated rapidly, murders in Russia rose to such a dramatic height that by early nineties, its murder rate was thrice as high as that of America (Kates & Mauser, n.d.).

In the year 2004, the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) published its assessment by reviewing 253 journal articles, 43 governmental publications, 99 books, and a certain degree of primary empirical research. The study could not identify any form of gun control that facilitated the reduction of violent crimes, accidents involving guns, or suicides. In the previous year, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) drew the same conclusion in its analysis of then-recent research works. Not until the end of the First World War did Western Europe and Britain implement strict gun controls. In line with the results of aforementioned American assessments, these rigorous measures did not curtail the common trend of increasingly growing violence across the developed world (including Russia and USA) following the Second World War (Kates & Mauser, n.d.).

The belief that the presence of more firearms decreases crime is a very controversial notion. This argument has concealed the corrosive impact of Mustard and Lott's efforts towards the idea that guns in a greater quantity imply more murder. As affirmed before, adoption of regulations by states allowing gun possession by millions of good citizens has not led to any increase in violence or homicide in those states. In contrast, highly significant drops in violent crimes and homicide followed a lax gun policy. Ascertaining if this increased access to firearms is responsible for decrease in violent offenses requires taking in consideration several other factors which may potentially have played a part in the decline. While the key reason behind this is unknown, the unquestionable outcome is that violence, and particularly, murders, have reduced considerably in America in the last fifteen years (Kates & Mauser, n.d.). This drop in USA's crime rate appears to be much more impressive, if taken relative to other countries in the world. A survey by the Home Office of UK revealed a growth in violent offenses in 18 out of 25 surveyed nations, in the last decade of the twentieth century. This contrast ought to stimulate intellectuals to speculate about why this is the case in some countries, and to raise questions on policies grounded in the idea that increased restriction of gun ownership by country laws decreases violent crime rates. America is perhaps right in its promotion of firearms for responsible, law-abiding adult citizens. It can also be that the nation's reduced rates of violence correspond to increased death penalties or prison population. More research is needed for more accurately determining the most vital aspects of America's approach, or finding out whether joint action of all three aspects helped achieve lower rates of violent offenses (Kates & Mauser, n.d.).

Social Problem (GUN CONTROL)

Serious discourse on gun control in USA has assumed two key approaches: legal and criminological. Experts in the latter field have raised questions regarding whether different gun controls can potentially decrease different forms of gun misuse (including crimes involving guns), or whether such restrictive regulations would leave innocent victims without any effective self-defense. Experts in the legal field have investigated whether or not federal and state rights of possessing arms pose legal challenges to gun confiscation or ownership/possession restrictions (Kopel, 1995).

Defining the problem.

The legal and criminological approaches realistically gauge guns. In other words, they assess the pros and cons (and the legal response) of individuals being in possession of objects capable of sending lead bullets downrange. Plainly, it is true that the physical characteristics of guns' influence much of their importance (for both good and evil). In this respect, America has accurately understood guns from a realistic perspective, in that its key feature is its physical characteristics; a gun is capable of shooting at attackers from a safe distance and a smaller, vulnerable individual will be able to protect herself/himself from an attacker. In case of handguns and other easily portable firearms, the person under attack can project force (thus protecting themselves) unmatched by any other means. On the other hand, these abilities of a gun will also work with some juvenile undersized criminal -- the gun projects matchless force. However, though the gun's real physical characteristics…

Sources Used in Document:


Cook, P., Ludwig, J., Venkatesh, S., & Braga, A. (2007). UNDERGROUND GUN MARKETS. The Economic Journal, F558 -- F588.

Hood, M. N. (2009). Citizen, defend thyself: an individual-level analysis of concealed weapon permit holders. Criminal Justice Studies, 22(1), 73-89

Kates, D., & Mauser, G. (n.d.). WOULD BANNING FIREARMS REDUCE MURDER AND SUICIDE? Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 650.


Cite This Research Proposal:

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