History of Gun Violence
Current Gun Laws in the United States of America
The Second Amendment
United States Gun Laws in contrast with other Countries
Gun Laws in Australia
Gun Laws in India
Gun Law in United Kingdom
The American firearm industry seems to be healthier than ever. The demand and production rates have gone seemingly high and there exist constant demand all over the country for firearm. As per the (Washington times, 2015), during 2013 around 10.8 million of guns were manufactured; which is equivalent to the produced units during 2010 to 2012.
According to the National Vital Statistics, approximately around 31,000 fatalities are recorded each year. The percentage of gun violence or firearm abuse spreads over; suicide (62per cent), homicide (35per cent) and accidental shootings accounts over 3per cent. (Cornell, 2013). Once an individual possess an ownership of a firearm, it makes the job simple and easy; aim and fire. Everyone in the society are vulnerable as the threshold between homicide and anger is brought down (Lendman, 2012).
The mass shooting incident that happened in 2012 which accounted for 26 deaths terrorized the whole United States America. The incident well known remembered as theConnecticut incidentclaimed 20 deaths of school children and six adults has been referred as one of the worst mass shootings in the history of America (Peters, 2013). This is not only the incident that triggered a wide credible debate on the usage of guns and the need for reforms in the existing gun control laws. These facts questions the facets of the current gun laws. “Are the existing gun laws are stricter than ever or weaker than ever?” A report by Centre for American Press, categorized 10 cities that have high rate of gun violence and their study argued that the reason for such high rate of gun violence is due to weaker gun laws (Gerney, Parsons & Posner, 2013). According to Global Research, more people in Chicago are shot and killed than U.S forces in Afghanistan by enemies.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, around 68per cent of homicides in America involved guns. In 1996, 34,040 people died from gunfire in the United States. In 2012, around 19,976 suicides were recorded which involved guns. These stats are pretty shocking when compared with the other countries. It doesn’t take much time to draw a conclusive analysis about why there are high rates of homicides and suicides that involves firearms and the reason could be argued it because of the flexible Gun laws and policies. A study by (Berkowitz, 1967) argued that the sight of the weapon would trigger aggression from angered persons due to the learned association between weapons and aggressive behavior which makes those angered people exposed to weapons or to any lethal weapons more aggressively. (Kleek, 1988) found out that the deaths that firearms were 3 times higher than the deaths that included knives and other lethal objects.
From the below graph (1), it can be noted that the number of deaths in United States of America is higher than the number of deaths in India, Australia and United Kingdom. It is because in these nations, strong and rigid gun laws are in place. Access to firearms in these countries are forbidden. Even if the citizens wish to possess a firearm, it is not as easy as in United States of America, which is further exposed in this study.
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Graph 1: Adapted from Gun Policy, Gun Homicide by Alpers, Philip, Rossetti and Wilson, 2015. Sydney School of Public Health
History of Gun Violence
The history of the gun violence in the United States of America cannot exactly predicted as when it started. According to the conventional theory, the development of the need for possessing firearms began with the English colonists (Deconde, 2001). At that very time, everyone needed guns. Some needed for protection, whilst some needed to carry out illegal activities. The need of possessing a firearm reflects the very essence of positive and negative impact of possessing them. According to the statistics provided by (Gun Violence Archive, 2000), Americans used firearms more often to assault or illegally harm someone, than using them for self-protection during the 20th century. The more disturbing fact is that during 1990’s, Americans killed more with guns in week; than the Europeans who used firearms in the whole year (Deconde, 2001). However, there are many incidents where the firearms were used recklessly and irresponsibly killing many human life. The graphical representation presents the annual mass shootings in America, (1982-2012);
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Figure 1:Annual mass shooting casualities. 1982-2012. Mark Follman 2015:
The massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school (Dec 2012) in Newton is one of those darkest incidents in history of gun violence in America. The incident claimed the lives of 20 children where under the age between 5 to 10 years old and six adults who were horrendously shot down by an armed individual. The incident raised over a nation-wide rage and chaos that confronted the United States of America demanding stricter gun control laws (The Guardian, 2012).
The incident stands out of the other incidents because of the number of deaths tolled and the intensity of a crime. The deaths of 20 young children drew the entire nation into a painful and dark environment.“The nihilistic, nature of this intentional, premeditated act; and the characteristics of the victims: young, innocent, defenseless children and the heroic teachers and school staff who died shielding them” (Shultz et al., 2013). The incident was labelled as “fundamentally different” episode of gun violence. It was also described as one of the rarest and extreme event in the history of gun violence.
One of individual who witnessed the incident described the massacre as “the Evil visited our community today”. Hundreds of parents ran towards the school to know their children’s wellbeing and the agony of the parents who lost their children’s was painful (Barron, 2012). In the after math of the incident it was revealed that the 20 year old Adam Lanza, who was responsible for the massacre. He was suffering from personality disorder and was in the need of mental and psychiatric treatment (Faria, 2013).
From Sandy Hook massacre it fairly difficult to debate whether the cause for the shooting was due to ease availability of the guns or obligatory need of development of health care. A study by (Faria 2013) reflected evidences that the cause of such violent shootings is due to the failure of mental health system in the United States of America. One more incident which is referred as the Aurora theatre shooting incident had same intensity as of the Sandy hook massacre. The incident of shooting at Aurora theatre happened on July 20th of 2012. Shortly, after the midnight a gunman opened fire towards the unarmed people who were going to the screening of the movie Batman in the Century 16 theatre complex in Colorado. The incident left 12 dead and more than 82 people were fatally injured.
According to the Action Report, 2014, the gunman fired at least 70 shots towards the crowd; 12 individuals died and 82 people were injured and some them required major surgeries enough to recover. Due to the timely action coordinated between the Aurora city police department, fire emergency and other civil services there were no more fatalities.
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- University of South Florida – Post Graduate School
- 2015 (November)
- Public administration gun laws gun policy policy decision policy analysis united states of america