The Gun Problem in America
- America , Gun , Gun Control , Gun Violence , Justice , Problem , Second Amendment , Social Issues , United States
How it works
As stated in the Social Problems textbook, “Social problems: Continuity and change”, “A social problem is any condition or behavior that has negative consequences for large numbers of people and that is generally recognized as a condition or behavior that needs to be addressed” (2015). As a result, I decided to discuss the social problem of the second amendment. Since the founding of the United States of America, the right to bear arms has always been a hot button issue for most people. Given the recent rise in school shootings and mass shootings in the United States, a lot of people believe the government needs to either put stricter laws on guns or get rid of them all together. On the other hand, others believe more guns in the hands of good people is the solution to all the violence; as opposed to leaving people defenseless without guns in instances where they are faced with danger. We can’t take guns away from every law-abiding gun owner, but we also can’t allow the number of gun related homicides increase at the rate they are.
Argument for Pro-gun rights
As found on the Constitution Center’s website, the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America was passed by congress on September 25, 1789 and was ratified on December 15, 1791. The amendment states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The amendment was put into place so that Americans may protect themselves and their property in the case that the government ever became corrupt, and ever since the amendment was put into place, it has been viewed as a vital right to the American citizens. The second amendment shares ideas with the conflict theory, which states that society is in a constant state of conflict over limited resources and the ones who are in power will do everything they can to stay in power. The second amendment of the Constitution relates to the conflict theory, because it grants Americans the right to protect themselves against the party in power if or when the party in power attempts to suppress and disadvantage the lower class. In addition, since the right to bear arms is written in the constitution, many Americans feel as though it’s a right guaranteed to them by their founding fathers and should not be taken away. In fact, 73% of Americans believe the second amendment guarantees Americans the right to own guns (Jones, 2008). Therefore, it would be very difficult to attempt to revoke guns from all law-abiding gun owners.
How it works
Argument for anti-gun rights
While guns can make some people feel safe, they can also make others feel threatened. Even if someone has a permit to legally carry a firearm, that won’t prevent people from being afraid when they see someone waving around a gun. In the instance of Baker v. Officer Randall Schwarb, two men were seen walking around a park brandishing rifles and handguns in plain sight (Kozlowski, 2016). The police department had received numerous calls about these two men and went to address the situation. The men were found out to have carry permits and were not violating any laws by doing what they were; regardless, the public was still terrified by their actions. This relates to the symbolic interactionism theory, which states that people in a society function and continuously shapes the world around them by associating meaning to certain symbols or actions; for instance, people typically associate guns with violence and when they see a stranger walking around with a rifle, they rightfully become scared. In addition, according to a report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey and a study done by the University of Sydney found on the Council of Foreign Relations website, The United States of America is home to less than 5 percent of the world’s population, roughly 35–50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, and approximately 350,000-gun related homicides.
There have been multiple laws put into place to prevent some gun related homicides; unfortunately, the laws and regulations put on guns don’t always do enough to prevent such horrendous acts from taking place. For example, as found on the Council of Foreign Relations website, the Gun Control Act of 1968 prevents several individuals from purchasing a gun, including: people under the age of eighteen, convicted criminals, the mentally disabled, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others. In addition, in 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act made it mandatory for background checks to be completed on anyone purchasing a firearm from a federally authorized dealer. Although, that’s where people have found a loophole. People whom purchase guns from a non-federal dealer, such as a friend or someone from Craigslist, do not have to go through background checks.
Several other countries have solved their gun problems or at least significantly reduced the number of gun related crimes. For instance, in Scotland, the Firearms Act of 1997 was put into effect, and later made even more strict, after the massacre of 16 five and six-year-old students, including their teacher (Jowit, 2016). The act banned all cartridge ammunition handguns. This law reduced gun related homicides drastically. In addition, Japan passed a law in 1958 making it illegal for anyone to possess a firearm (Jowit, 2016). They do have an exception with shotguns; however, the process is purposefully made agonizingly long and difficult so that people will be discouraged to attempt to posses one. Even though all these countries have much stricter gun laws, it is not the laws and restrictions that keep the homicide count down so low, it’s the enforcement by the government. As Mark Mastaglio, a firearms expert and a 20-year veteran of the Forensic Science Service, stated, “Most guns used by criminal are either illegally imported or converted weapons (Jowit, 2016). And that remains the case today”. Therefore, the solution to America’s gun problem is not more strict laws and regulations alone but laws and regulations combined with strict enforcement and more involvement in high crime areas by police and the government.
In conclusion, the gun problem in America is a serious social problem and affects people across the country. It is almost to the point where it is unsafe the leave your house just to go to the grocery store. Both sides seem to be at an impasse; therefore, there needs to be some sort of compromise. Stricter laws combined with strong enforcement without taking away the guns of the people whom are abiding by the law would help reduce America’s number of gun related homicides and crime.
- Social problems: Continuity and change. (2015). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing.
- The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendments/amendment-ii
- Jones, J. M. (2008, June 26). Americans in Agreement With Supreme Court on Gun Rights; Nearly three in four say Second Amendment guarantees right of Americans to own guns. Gallup Poll News Service. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A185510844/ITBC?u=tel_a_pstcc&sid=ITBC&xid=6 0355100
- Kozlowski, J. C. (2016). Gun Rights Tested in Parks and Public Spaces. Parks & Recreation, 51(3), 38–46. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.pstcc.edu:3443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=t rue&db=rgm&AN=113542638&scope=site
- U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons
- Jowit, J., Laville, S., Wahlquist, C., Oltermann, P., McCurry, J., & Beckett, L. (2016). Four countries with gun control – and what America could learn from them. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/15/so-america-this-is-how-you- do- gun-control
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The Gun Problem in America. (2021, Oct 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-gun-problem-in-america/