Gun Control Vs. Crime Rate Capstone Project

Excerpt from Capstone Project :

Gun Control vs. Crime Rate

Gun ownership in Virginia and the effects it has on crime rates

There is much controversy regarding gun laws and the effects that they have on crime levels, as many are inclined to believe that they reduce the number of gun-related offences while others believe that they actually amplify the chances of a person being shot. American culture has come to be a gun culture, considering that guns are present in a series of environments related to American traditionalism. The mass media constantly bombards the masses with gun stories and vivid images displaying guns as being an active part of society. The Constitution of Virginia is focused on protecting people's rights to bear arms and it prevents the government from taking away this right.

U.S. background

The Second Amendment legalized gun ownership and it practically made it possible for people to be in possession of particular types of guns without being penalized by the authorities for this. One of the primary reasons for this law is the fact that militias need to have access to firearms in order to be able to function correctly in extreme circumstances. This matter is actually divisive, taking into account that many civilians have trouble understanding whether guns are meant to be carried for their personal protection or if they are meant to be carried with the purpose of putting them to use in case of a militia gathering.

People across the U.S. are obsessed with guns and this is perfectly reflected by the fact that shooting occur on a frequent basis: bad guys shoot innocent victims, shoot each other, and children are addicted to playing shooting computer games and with firing toy guns. Despite this, most people have little to no experience in using a gun or in seeing a gun being used. "Even the vast majority of police officers have never exchanged shots with a suspect" (Lott xiii). However, it is likely for most people to know someone who was the victim of a shooting or who was robbed by an armed individual. This means that guns are closer than one might be inclined to believe that that society needs to acknowledge that they represent a serious threat.

Statistics is an important concept when regarding gun-related crimes and most are probable to acknowledge that crime stories are often told in statistical terms. Even with this, these stories are also told by using real-life ideas and this makes it possible for the masses to gain a more complex understanding of the risks related to simply living in a society where gun laws are not very strict. "The number of firearms in the United States is estimated at between 200 and 230 million, and it continues to increase each year" (Wilson 3).

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people"

It is surely surprising that even though most people have never fired a gun and some have never even seen a gun from a first-person perspective and the masses are nonetheless inclined to have opinions regarding gun control strategies. These people are generally inclined to believe that the U.S. needs tougher laws meant to control gun use and ownership. However, they need to understand that "others see guns as objects that can be used recreationally in target shooting or hunting, to help provide a sense of accomplishment, and as a means of connecting with their heritage" (Wilson 3). Some need guns in order to protect themselves and their property while others simply like to collect weapons as a hobby.

Many believe that gun control is not a real criminal justice issue and that there are topics that need to be provided with a more significant amount of attention. These people generally believe that gun ownership is not necessarily an important problem and that crime rates have nothing to do with the number of individuals owning firearms. While it is intriguing to consider this point-of-view, it is difficult and almost impossible to understand the exact relationship between gun ownership and firearm-related crimes.


The state of Virginia proposed an amendment by insisting that "the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well regulated Militia composed of the body of the people trained to arms is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State. That standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the Community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the Civil power" (Documents on the First Congress Debate on Arms and Militia).

Civil power is one of the most important concepts in the U.S. And it is thus essential for people to be provided with assistance in having the authority and the strength to fight for their rights. Gun-related laws in the state of Virginia are strict and it is essential for a person to be at least 21 and to prove that he or she is capable to use a firearm by enrolling and taking particular courses. However, individuals only have to be 18 in order to be able to buy a firearm from a private seller. The state does not allow individuals who have been barred from owning guns with the opportunity to get a permit. Gun ownership is not allowed in the cases of "a convicted felon, anyone who has been convicted of drunkenness or a violent misdemeanor within the past three years, anyone who was involuntarily committed within the past five years, anyone who is a habitual drunkard or who is addicted to drugs, and anyone who has been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military" (Garret).

Buying a gun can be a very difficult process in the state of Virginia, as any firearm dealer needs to perform a background check on a potential buyer before the transaction is actually finished. In order to do so, the firearm dealer needs to cooperate with the Department of State Police, which is then required to perform extensive search regarding the potential buyer's background. This enables the authorities to differentiate between individuals who pose a threat for the well-being of the state and individuals who are 100% unlikely to use a gun wrongly.

Individuals are typically limited to buying only one gun in a 30-day period, as it is important for the authorities to control the number of guns accessible to the general public. Also, persons selling firearms need to be thoroughly checked and approved by the authorities in order to be able to work for a federally licensed firearm dealer.

It is, however, intriguing that the state of Virginia fails to prevent illegal use of firearms in a series of situations:

It does not require that the transfer of a firearm between individuals who have no license to carry one should involve background checks;

It does not oblige firearm dealers to get a state license;

It does not make it mandatory for individuals owning guns to report situations when their guns were lost or stolen;

It does not control the transfer or ownership of large rifles;

Basically any individual who meets the basic requirements for owning a firearm needs to be provided with the right to do so, regardless of the person's intentions of using the gun. In addition to this, Virginia is also known as a state that is among the top three interstate providers of crime guns. This means that numerous firearms leaving Virginia end up in the hands of criminals in spite of the fact that there are a multitude of laws that should presumably prevent this from happening.

Gun shows in this country are a good location for criminals to procure their weapons, as not all guns sold during such events require that the dealers perform a background check. This practically means that many criminals can virtually visit gun shows and buy guns without being questioned with regard to their background or their intentions with the firearm. The general public needs to accept that conditions in Virginia are critical and that some environments favor criminals by providing them with all the tools they need with the purpose of The national average for the percentage of weapons retrieved in a crime during a two-year period from the original sale of the respective guns is 22.6%. Virginia has a shorter time-to-crime level and this means that gun trafficking in very common across the state. Criminals virtually take advantage of the fact that federal gun laws are vulnerable and that they can be exploited in a series of ways.

The fact that the authorities do not verify weapon sales taking place between private individuals is especially worrying and it practically provides criminals with the opportunity to get their guns safely and legally. It would thus be pointless for a criminal to try and get his or her hands on a firearm by following the normal technique, considering that he or she can simply buy a…

Sources Used in Document:

Works cited:

Blank, Jeremy D., "Guns Vs. Crime," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the American Partisan Website:

Lee Carter, Greg, "Guns in American Society," (ABC-CLIO, 04.05.2012)

Lott, John R., "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws," (University of Chicago Press, 15.06.2000)

Wilson, Harry L., "Guns, Gun Control, And Elections: The Politics And Policy of Firearms," (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 )

Cite This Capstone Project:

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