The Causes of Gun Violence and How to Mitigate It

The laws guiding firearm possession have caveats as most often, even state laws do not prevent the purchase of more than a single firearm.

The Causes of Gun Violence and How to Mitigate It
Photo by Chip Vincent / Unsplash

A lot of what is wrong with society today has to do with gun violence. There has been heated debate on what to do with weapons, and the violence they have brought to American streets. Cities like Chicago and their suburbs have borne the brunt of gun violence. Numerous crimes and deaths have been caused by firearm possession by minors and individuals with criminal records. Street violence encourages the use of illegal and even legal and licensed firearms to commit crimes.

The Proliferation of Firearms Due to Laws Allowing Gun Possession

Laws allowing the possession of a firearm for personal protection mean that individuals have the right to legally own a gun as per specific requirements guiding use. As a result, the U.S. is one of the countries that have become most proliferated with firearms. It is visible when right-wing protestors come out to the streets with their military-grade weapons to protest gun law reforms. The issue of whether to own a firearm has become heavily contested.

Firearm Possession as a Part of Personal Protection

On one side, having a firearm in the U.S. is part of personal protection. The law allows an individual to own a firearm for personal protection and also for sporting activities such as bird hunting as per the specific laws guiding hunting and interacting with wildlife. These laws can vary from state to state and can change. They are, however, blanketed by federal gun laws that allow firearm possession to all legal-age individuals who do not have a criminal record.

The Availability of Guns for Purchase Legally or Illegally

Firearms can only be bought at licensed firearm dealers or shops, and as per state laws, the buyer needs to fill in a purchase form and show their ID. Unfortunately, this has not stopped the illegal sale and smuggling of weapons in and out of the country. A lot of firearms get traded in the black market in America. As firearm laws have gotten tighter over the years, illegal sellers and smugglers have adopted new and complicated techniques to avoid detection.

Using Firearm Serial Numbers to Track Firearms

All firearms come with a serial number from the manufacturer. This serial number gets logged by the buyers and is included in a nationwide firearm database. As such, when an individual purchases a firearm, their details get included with the firearm’s serial number. This way, if the weapon gets used in committing a crime, authorities can reference the database for the owner of the firearm.

The Faultiness of Gun Possession Laws and the Bottlenecks and Caveats Therein

The laws guiding firearm possession have caveats as most often, even state laws do not prevent the purchase of more than a single firearm. There are also bottlenecks as individuals can buy guns for others.

How Criminals Can Use Citizens without Criminal Records to Buy Guns for Them

As such, an individual with a criminal record can recruit one without a criminal record to purchase a firearm, in their name, and then sell it to them. Such means that a good number of legally sold weapons end up on the black market. These are, in turn, sold illegally and mostly end up being used to commit crimes.

The Gun Violence Plague in America

America has become plagued with a lot of gun violence. The situation has become exacerbated by growing polarization and right-wing political views and rhetoric. There have also been hate and right-wing groups who have come up that identify with weaponry and military-like armor and mode of dressing. These coupled with poverty, especially in minority groups, mean that there are double to triple-fold increases in gun violence and crime every year. The current pandemic has not helped, and the situation has only gotten bleaker.

The Effect of Gun Violence on Health Outcomes

Doctors and scholars in the public health sector have come to a consensus that it is time that gun violence got declared a public health issue in the country. These violent acts, they say, should be researched vehemently, by the leading health agency in the country. In the year 2015, across three thousand-five hundred towns and cities, there were more than thirteen thousand gun homicides in the United States. However, these homicides had not been equally distributed in the country.

The Geographical and Health Disparities in Gun Violence Occurrence and Outcomes

Half of these acts of gun violence had become clustered in just a hundred and twenty-seven towns and cities. These towns and cities contain less than a quarter of the country’s population according to geographical analysis. Within these locales, the violence becomes concentrated in small neighborhoods where two or more incidences of gun violence got witnessed in one year.

The locales house about four and a half million citizens and have become marred with racial segregation, low education levels, and adverse poverty. A quarter of all gun violence in America has become concentrated in only one and a half percent of the country’s population.

Racial Disparities in Gun Violence Statistics

Extreme disparities of a racial nature add salt to injury when it comes to gun violence. Analysts say that it is not about race itself but how other conditions have become racialized. It leads to racial inequality where white communities are hugely advantaged and non-white communities are far on the contrary, especially black communities.

Black Men Most at Risk of Gun Violence

Black men have mostly been the victims of gun violence since the seventies, according to data. This victimization has also been systemic and has played out in the form of social injustice and police brutality.

Gun Violence Perpetrated by the Police

Not only are disadvantaged communities losing lives due to crime and person-to-person conflict, but also through systemic racial profiling and abuse by police. In conversations about gun violence, the emphasis is often made on the permanent injuries and tragic losses that come with it.

However, beneath these headlines, the facts as per cost, are life-shattering. In the year 2005, the economy and health system suffered thirty-seven billion dollars in costs due to gun violence and gun-related deaths.

The Urgent Need for Gun Law Reforms

Gun law reforms, in my view, are necessary and overdue. It is impractical to flood the streets with weapons and expect them not to get used. Criminals will take advantage, and other social factors such as poverty, and a lack of education will also contribute. Moreover, when certain minorities are marginalized and cannot access healthcare, insurance, shelter, education, and the like, they are more likely to be involved in crime.

The Cultural Aspects of Gun Violence

Gun violence also has something to do with culture, as a lot of the media coming out of minority populations entails a lot of glorification of violence. Gang culture and drug use have also exacerbated the situation. Now more than ever, legislators need to come up with agreeable, practical, and egalitarian laws that ensure that the country does not continue to shoulder the burden of gun violence.