This research seeks to investigate whether reducing the current availability of firearms in the United States will significantly reduce the murder rate. Evidence and comparisons internationally have been given as proof that more guns translate to more deaths. Therefore, fewer guns translate to fewer deaths. It is notable that compared to other developed nations; guns are mostly available in the United States (Bjerregaard & Alan 1995). Moreover, America is among nations with the highest murder rate. This study is important because it will be informative to most governments, as well as, security agents given the mandate of reducing crime. There have been researches carried out by individuals and institutions on this topic. The scholars have more or less agreed about my topic, and my paper argues for a better interpretation. The issue of gun violence in the United States is not new; there have been incidences of high profile murders, as well as, massacres in high schools and colleges. The recent shootings have added up to the current debate over gun policies.
As a methodology, this study has utilized the comparative case study. The research utilizes the benefits of using comparative case studies in the topic of discussion, which concerns the reduction of firearms in the United States. Would a reduction in the availability of guns result into a reduction crime? Information dealing with the research topic is in abundance. By looking on previous researches and studies, this research ascertains whether a reduction in the firearms, which are in the hands of most Americans, would reduce the murder rate. Gun related violence in America is a debated political issue; it is most common among those communities living in poor urban areas. Those involved mostly include young adults or juveniles in with gang violence.
This research has ascertained that, in 2000, gun related injuries were about seventy five thousand; both deliberate and accidental. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is notable that most of gun-related deaths are suicides (Bjerregaard & Alan 1995). There were fifteen thousand of them that involved firearms in the year 2004 (Kellermann & Rivara 1992).
The government has been on the forefront campaigning against gun-related violence by putting in place several policies. However, there have been researches showing mixed results on their outcomes. There are some which have been ineffective, for example, gun buy-back programs while others have been proven to be effective, for example, Operation Ceasefire, applied in Boston.
This study has also found out that, in the event of trying to reduce gun violence, the debates concerning gun policies have been affected by the interpretation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The constitution allows individuals to own firearms and this right should not be infringed.
For a better understanding of the need for a reduction in guns among the public sector, this research looks into several policies that have been applied by the United States government. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an example of a national strategy directed towards the reduction of gun violence. Prosecutors, state and local jurisdictions were involved with training, as well as, community outreach efforts. In my opinion, these community outreach efforts should be aimed at educating the youths about the advantages of having a society that is gun-free. If less people own guns, chances of criminal elements accessing guns will be low. Gun-related suicides will also decrease.
Project Exile was an effort that involved federal and state official aiming at reducing gun violence in Virginia. This strategy entailed imposing tough sentencing guidelines to those involved in gun violations (Cook & Jens 2000). Outreach and education efforts helped in getting the message to the communities about this crackdown. In my view, this was an effective program and could be applied widely. This is because, with stiffer penalties involved, people will not want to get involved with guns. Moreover, those with guns will learn how to use it only for self defense.
Operation ceasefire was also an excellent strategy. It was directed towards stemming the rampant gun violence in Boston. It was a problem-oriented policing approach that focused on crime hot spots. Efforts were directed towards reducing illegal gun trafficking business and gang violence. In my view, this was a working strategy especially in dealing with illicit gun trafficking. Current policies should aim at reducing guns that fall in the hands of illegal gangs. With strategies like these, there will be a reduction in the illegal trade of firearms, which means less guns falling into the hands of criminals, which translate to less murder.
This research gives the following reasons as to why guns availability should be reduced. Firstly, researches by the FBI have shown that, there is a higher chance of a family handgun for protection to be used against a member of the family member than to stop an intruder (Cook & Jens 2000). Secondly, a large number of Americans do not know how to handle guns in a safe way. About forty percent of gun owners keep their guns unlocked, loaded, or stored near ammunition. This makes it easy, for those who want to engage in violence have their way.
Thirdly, there is not a single government agency allowed to impose safety standards and minimum designs on arms that are manufactured domestically (Lawrence, 1993). On the contrary, teddy bears and toy guns and are much more regulated than guns made in the United States. Fourthly, the situation has been fueled with the fact that, unlicensed sellers do peddle fire arms to unknown persons; they always end up in gangs or individuals with bad motives. Lastly, about seventy percent of Americans favor stricter laws and regulations dealing with the sale and ownership of guns.
This research has found out that handguns usually reach the streets and neighborhoods through gun trafficking; a highly developed illegal trade. These guns are then used to threaten, maim, wound, or kill innocent citizens (Cork, 1999). The kingpins involved with gun trafficking are traffickers, criminal entrepreneurs, traffickers, straw buyers, and gun dealers who break the law so as to enjoy the profits. This research gives a number of recommendations.
Community programs, for example, after-school programs, community revitalization, and media campaigns should target entire communities. They should be effective in reducing the level of violence amongst the young generation. However, the evaluation of such community-based programs has not been easy, due to the multifaceted nature of these programs.
These programs should all focus on changing individual behavior of both parents and children. Children should be encouraged to keep a safe distance stay from guns. Parents with guns should store guns safely so that children cannot get access to them easily. The young generation should be encouraged to learn how to solve disputes without the use of guns. It will be effective if a generation of youths who have few guns amidst them is brought up.
Inner-city youths should be convinced not to carry guns and ammunitions. Moreso, they should be convinced to understand that, they can survive in their communities without being armed with guns. They should also be convinced that they will not be victimized or intimidated; they can live peacefully.
With all these policies put in place, both at the federal and local levels, aimed at reducing gun violence and murders, they should all aim at reducing the number of guns that are in the hands of the public. Youths, who are greatly involved in murders and gangs, should not be allowed to purchase firearms. The government should also set waiting periods for any firearm purchases.
Those who violated gun laws and policies that have been put in place should face stiff penalties. Both parents and children can be given education programs and community-outreach programs that deal with guns and gun violence. If all these recommendations are put in place, there will be a significant drop in the current murder rate.