Gun Control Social Problem Analysis
Currently, there is a lack of effective opinions about the guidelines on the procedures to regulate gun possession and trade with the already existing policies endangering the lives of citizens. There exist social dilemmas when older individuals carry guns and difference in opinions concerning carrying guns in public. According to Ludwig and Cook, some individuals in the society consider that armed people become polite while others argue that private armament serves as tools for suicide and homicide (1). Therefore, the clash in the opinions among members of the society results in clashes in the judicially formulated policies concerning gun control. For example, Ludwig and Cook state that in 1990, the NYPD prohibited having guns in the street while the majority of the states in the U.S, the adults, obtain legal permits to possess handguns in public (1). The current proposed gun control policies violate the U.S Constitution Second Amendment and therefore, the U.S should archive a balance between arms ownership rights and gun control.
Kind of Guns That Cause Violence
The kind of guns that cause violence comprises of concealed high magazine guns. Webster et al state that in 2012, 31,000 individual in the U.S suffered from gunshots that relate to victims who were young, gun violent and mentally ill (2). Magazines increase violence due to their high capacity of carrying rounds. The U.S gun control requires individuals to own standard magazine guns that have between 20 and 30 rounds for self-defense (Kopel 1). On the other hand, Kopel states that citizens helped in the mass shooting that occurred in the United States before police arrival (1). Therefore, Kopel contradicts the gun control policy of citizens accruing a limited number of rounds. However, according to Wendt, the research indicates that growth in the availability of guns results in increased gun robbery and assault (3). Wendt supports his idea through accounting for high 38 percent percentage of U.S households possessing guns that lead to three-time homicide gun related incidence as compared to Canada that has 22 percent of household possessing guns (4). Sterzer agrees with Wendt stating that Washington D.C that has the highest level of gun possession in the U.S recorded 6.5 times higher rate of gun murders as compared to the national average (190). Due to an imbalance between Second Amendment and Gun Control Act, concealed guns cause violence in the American society. Wendt agrees that a research in New Orleans showed that the minorities, such as women and the young individuals had a higher likelihood of obtaining concealed guns permit due to high risk of violence (4). In addition, Koper states that the minorities, such as African American young women, acquire guns illegally (306). Therefore, Gun Control Act and Second Amendment do not have balance in obtaining permits for concealed guns. The difference in granting permits for concealed guns among the individuals cause increased violence. The gap in gun control and Second Amendment concerning concealed gun permits raise assaults in the American community. Wendt accepts that Second Amendment overcomes Gun Control Act in New Orleans because concealed guns permit become issued according to the individual preference rather than a persons experience to handle violent crimes (4). According to Kopel, considering Suzanna incidence, giving permits based on individual preference undermines gun control policy instead of considering the ability of an individual to handle the gun during a crime. Kopel states that Suzanna did not conform to the rule of concealed gun policies through leaving the gun in her car that rendered her defenseless (14). Webster et al support the existence of additional laws that limit gun control policies and create a big gap between Second Amendment and gun policies. According to Webster et al, the Right to Carry Law enables people, who are prohibited from legally possessing guns, to carry concealed guns acquiring a permit that poses threat to the public whereas 2400 permit holders were found guilty of gun crimes (9). Rosenthal and Lee agree that the Second Amendment Right to Carry Guns in public contradicts with local and state government policies (440). On contrary, Ludwig and Crook state that Right to Carry law will result in the arms race and concealed guns provide the most cost-effective means of reducing crime (29). Therefore, the best way to reduce gun crimes is to find a balance between the Second Amendment and Gun Control Act.
Effect of Black Market and Illegal Gun Purchase on Gun Control
According to Wendt, the study conducted by Vittes, Webster and Vernick in 2013 shows that 96.1 percent of intimates who were serving time in jail for firearms purchased them without any background check (3). Webster et al agree with Wendt because referring to their national survey on armed intimates, illegal purchases made from a licensed dealer without conducting background checks were common and accounted for similar figures as legally purchased guns from licensed dealers (7). Ludwig and Cook agree with Webster et al concerning the U.S gun control law not reducing diversion of guns to criminals. Ludwig and Cook state that long prison sentences for illegal gun owners reduce violence but do not support the empirical test concerning gun transfer (2). Similarly, Webster et al state that, according to the gun trace data study, the undocumented illegal gun sales occurred six times as common legal sales in states that do not control private gun sales (7). Wendt agrees with Ludwig and Cook that difference in gun control policies in different states in U.S affects gun diversion policies. According to Wendt, in a study conducted by Vittes, Webster and Vernick, 28.9 percent of the individuals who were not prevented from gun ownership would have been prohibited from acquiring guns if the state had adopted more restrictive policies used in other states (10). Kopel states that 40 percent of guns bought yearly occur without background checks (3). Kopel also agrees that private gun sales accounted for a small percentage (1). On the other hand, gun diversion policies do not necessarily result in criminal activities according to Kopel (1). Kopel states that due to the gun control policies, innocent gun owners became criminals (1). The use of background checks also poses limitations in ensuring legal gun diversion. Kopel agrees that the FBI failed to record information prohibiting Roof from acquiring gun after he was previously arrested that limit him from possessing guns by 1968 Gun Control Act (1). However, the use of background checks alone, according to Gun Control Act, cannot prevent criminal acts of the individuals without disqualification records that pose threats to the society. Kopel agrees with this statement, indicating an incident of Christopher that involved killing of 9 people in 2015 with a gun that was legally purchased and the background checks were conducted (3). Therefore, lack of gun control policies in the U.S have weaknesses concerning diversion of guns that result in increased gun-related deaths and injuries.
Black market gun sales affect gun control policies. Wendt and Koper state that gun policies become lenient or restrictive to citizens that affect the second Amendment. Koper considers that the black market provide means through which illegal gun owners can obtain bullets or firearms that lower the effectiveness of gun control policies (300). Kopel agrees to the idea because he states that mentally ill individuals could acquire guns from the black market. He supports an increase in the number of rounds provided for the users to enable these people to defend themselves and reduce the effects of acquiring guns through black market (8). During mass shooting, 20 to 30 rounds that are recorded as standard rounds for self-protection do not ensure the security of citizens because illegal gun owners acquire more rounds from the black market. Kopel indicates an incident of 2012 mass shooting, which showed that 100 rounds did not provide a standard for self-protection among both the police and citizens (8). The United States should fight both local and international black market to ensure effective gun control. Moreover, requesting the citizens to register their guns for destruction result in an increased acquiring of illegal guns through black market due to in the raised demand for firearms. Kopel agrees that after the destruction of handguns in Great Britain, international black market guns flooded Britain (15). Wendt seconds Kopel stating that tight gun control policy applied to Britain citizens, who acquire guns illegally, results in increased crimes due to the lack of licensing (8). The U.S gun control policy should ensure that the citizens do not consider the black market as the only alternative for achieving protection. Wendt agrees with the idea stating that law abiding citizens have insufficient means of protection due to gun control policies that lead to large amounts of illegal guns when faced by the criminals (8). Therefore, achieving a balance between gun control and Second Amendment will ensure that the citizens obtain enough rounds for self-protection considering the effect of the black market.
Impact of Mental Illness on Gun Control
Mental illness undermines the efforts of gun control policies especially if the gun is acquired through the black market. Ludwig and Cook agree that the problem to be solved by the U.S government is how to keep mentally ill individuals from acquiring guns (9). Drug abuse results in increased cases of domestic violence, suicide and homicide. Mental illness and adolescence age form major components of high-risk individuals that should not possess permission to own guns (Webster et al. 3). The black market dealers that operate drug business participate in the sales of firearms and sell the guns to the mentally ill individuals whose behavior is influenced by drugs. Therefore, the black market acts as the source of drug problem related the mental illness and mental related gun crimes. Kopel agrees that it is necessary to limit the gangs, which conduct drug business in the black market, on acquiring bullets (8). Background checks do not provide the best gun control criteria to evaluate mental illness during gun acquisition. Webster states that most mentally ill individuals are not violent (3). Kopel uses the idea of Webster et al to explain why Houser who was mentally ill passed background checks. Kopel states that after the judge brought Houser for five days background mental check, the healthcare facility did not petition for more time because the report was not released within the set period and Houser passed the background check and owned a gun (3). Therefore, in this case, the use of gun control policy failed to provide an efficient procedure. Moreover, due to the lack of balance between the Second Amendment and gun control, Houser shot 11 people, committed suicide and died (3). This shows that there is a gap in the background checks that cannot provide disqualification to the individuals, such as Houser.
The Second Amendment requires individuals to acquire firearms for protection while gun control prevents mentally ill people from guns possession. However, the exception of mentally ill individuals acquiring firearms shows exclusion of the general rule of Americans regarding the right to acquire firearms. Kopel agrees to the statement that there is a lack of balance between gun control and Second Amendment. Kopel states that if individuals have right to possess guns, the special rules that provide distinction should not exist (4). The U.S Constitution prevents balance between Gun Control Act and the Second Amendment. Kopel states that despite the fact that mentally ill individuals break Gun Control Act that accounts for one-sixth of ordinary murders the strong Civil Right that supports the Second Amendment protects such individuals, thereby limiting the effect of Gun Control Act (17). The civil U.S laws prevent undertaking any action against mentally ill individuals until they participate in gun murders. Metzl and Kenneth state that physiatrist can predict mental related gun crimes before they occur (240). According to Kopel, the evidence is that the case when a physiatrist reported James to the University of Colorado before he committed murder at Aurora Theater. However, after the psychiatrist had left the university, nobody followed the issue (17).
Role of Government in Enduring Effectiveness Gun Control and Second Amendment
The U.S government should focus on ensuring that private licensed gun dealers adopt the means of law enforcement agencies to verify the individuals during gun sales. In the process, the U.S government should ensure that during diversion of guns, the buyer seeks license directly from the law enforcement agencies where they verify criminal records as well as take passport sized photographs and fingerprints (Webster et al. 7). Moreover, the government can use this procure to reduce illegal gun transfer (Sterzer 190). Due to the implementation of this policy, there will be a balance in gun control and Second Amendment requirement to ensure control over gun diversion.
It is necessary to improve the use of background checks in order to include individuals without disqualification records in the system. According to Kopel, background checks should avail information about all individuals whom the judge have ruled as mentally ill people posing genuine threats in order to enable mentally ill persons who are not dangerous, to acquire firearms (18). The procedure ensures balance between Gun Control Act and Second Amendment concerning mental ill health gun acquisition as well as guarantees the effectiveness of gun control policies. According to Wolf and Jamie, the government should improve mental health treatment because the former lacks sufficient control to prevent mentally ill individuals from acquiring guns in the black market (869). Moreover, improved treatment will help the government to perform effective mental background checks to ensure that mentally ill individuals do not obtain a permit as in the case of Houser.
The government should amend gun Right to Carry Law because once an individual is not legally allowed to own a gun, there is no need for allowing such people to carry guns. According to Webster et al, 2400 individuals who were legal right to carry holders became convicted of gun crimes in California (9). Right to Carry Law increases the gap between Gun Control Act and Second Amendment since it undermines gun control policies advocating that an individual cannot own a gun but he can carry it, which seems the same as owning the gun despite restrictions put by gun control policies.
The government should ensure that all information required for background checks is not omitted as it was in the case of FBI missing to record Roof prior criminal activities. The effectiveness of background checks database should be linked with other agencies through common gateway interface to ensure that the federal agencies have big data whereas the analytics will reduce missing vital information.
Achieving Balance between Second Amendment and Gun Control Act
The balance between gun control policies and the right to gun ownership ensures public safety. According to Rodriguez, the government should treat gun control policies and Second Amendment as freedom rather than a right to ensure that the government finds a means of regulating these two Acts. Achieving the balance involves amending constitutional rights that affect and limit gun control policies, such as Right to Carry Law. In addition, it is necessary to improve the gun-control measures, such as background checks. This will help in capturing individuals without disqualification records and ensuring that gun control provides genuine results, which prevent non-qualified individuals from acquiring guns through Second Amendment. According to Cosenza, the U.S Constitution should limit diversion of guns that hold more than 10 rounds to ensure that individual willing to purchase more rounds receive license, thereby limiting diversion of high capacity firearms without a license that could be used in a mass shooting. Cosenza states that the Supreme Court allows the U.S government to violate the rights. Therefore, the U.S government can easily create a balance between gun control and Second Amendment through strict scrutiny, in which the government shows a compelling nation’s interest in the changed right or law. According to Rosenthal and Lee, the Supreme Court stated that right to carry concealed guns cannot be explained except by considering balancing interest that does not need compelling evidence, but scrutiny demand (446). Moreover, the government can ensure efficiency of gun control policies through strict scrutiny of the government challenging the regulations and demonstrating its essentialness (438). Therefore, the government has an important role in ensuring balance in the gap between gun control and Second Amendment.
The causes of the gap between Second Amendment and Gun Control Act occur due to the existence of black market, restrictive gun control policies, Right to Carry Law, mental illness and limited standard number of magazines for self-protection. The limitations of background checks, such as lack of records for disqualification of some individuals, increase the gap between second amendment and gun control due to the lack of evidence that prevents such individuals from acquiring guns under the second amendment. However, the government has an important role in providing the balance. The government should ensure that private dealers use law enforcement agencies that provide license after checking and conducting all background checks. Consequently, before issuing guns, only individuals who get permit meet all the requirements of the Second Amendment. Moreover, the government should reduce restrictions on gun control to enable individuals to acquire legal guns instead of considering black market as an alternative. It is necessary to provide amendment to the Right to Carry Law because it limits all the efforts of gun control policies. The government violates this requirement since the Supreme Court permits them to do so if their interest is compelling to the nation. By means of scrutiny, the government has power to provide changes in both gun control and Second Amendment to ensure that they reach balance. Therefore, attaining an equilibrium stuck between the Gun Control Act and Second Amendment is a key step to ensuring public safety.