20 May 2022


Gun Control in America: Everything You Need to Know

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Elder Americans often tell stories about guns and how they were part of their childhood. Generally, Guns were used for recreational purposes such as hunting or on a different scale by the military while at war. There were many hunting guns in the hands of the public. Gun owners often held the view that they would feel more secure defending their country or families using them. From a different perspective, guns made some mobsters to become well-known with names such as John Dillinger, Alcapon,e and Elliot Ness gaining a lot of fame. This shaped the old era of guns in America whereby civilians did not have any fear of them being part of the society. However, the perception of guns in the society changed in the year 1959, January 17th. During this day, Patrick Purdy used an AK-47 to open fire in a California school children playground. There were five children killed and 30 people both students and teachers wounded. This occurrence marked the origin of the gun control movement in the modern day society. The outcry from the public led by anti-gun supporters turned against the National Rifle Association (NRA) that engaged in the promotion of gun safety and rifle marksmanship. The issue of gun control is one of the most debated matters in the United States. Throughout the years, there have been gun control legislations aimed at governing and regulating the ownership and use of guns in the society. Despite such efforts, it has been very hard to control gun in America. This paper will seek to focus on why there are such difficulties thereby identifying some of the contributing factors. 

There have been numerous instances of gun misuse in the United States resulting in the deaths of prominent people. For instance, Abraham Lincoln, during his term as the president of America died after being shot by John Wilkes Booth. In the year 1981, President Ronald Reagan escaped death after an attempted assassination by John Hinckley. During this event James Brady who was Reagan’s press secretary suffered from very tragic and serious wounds. This is what resulted in gun control transforming into a social epidemic. Anti-gun movements strongly argued for Americans to be disarmed. On the other side, NRA fought against this in the halls of the Congress seeking support from the Second Amendment. The central concept of the Second Amendment is self-defense hence the pro-gun arguments against disarming the public. This is one factor that has significantly made it hard to control gun in America. 

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According to Laurie (2013) in the year 1996, there were 140 children who had died in the United States due to accidental shooting. In the year 2012 children deaths rose to 259 with the average number of children in America getting hurt by guns annually being standing at 1,500. Gun control legislations are focused on reducing the careless use of guns by unauthorized users or children. Based on the concept of the stickiness factor, the difficulties in gun control in the United States arise from the view that gun-control legislations lack the qualification to create change in the society. The little or no enforcement efforts do not spur up action in the society that could prevent gun-related accidents or criminal acts. It could be argued that the quality of support given to gun control legislations is not so memorable to stimulate some impact in the American society. The federal laws in the United States already prohibit ownership of gun by juveniles. Despite this being the case, it is very unfortunate that the federal laws receive little or no enforcement. This makes even harder to control gun in the United States. 

The criminal justice systems in American states that fail to effectively enforce gun laws make a major contribution in making it hard to control gun in the society. Anti-gun groups argue that if gun-control legislations have the potential of decreasing criminal acts that are gun related, then existing federal laws need to put into action and implemented especially through the courts. They further argue that stronger federal laws would do no good if there is already failure in enforcing existing laws. On this note, the difficulties to control gun in America are partly caused by judges who are in cooperation with prosecutors in undermining or rather subverting gun laws. Legislatures need to be equally blamed for overburdening the justice system and yet the resources available are highly limited. Judges and prosecutors experience numerous challenges in handling cases involving gun-related felons. When there are new gun laws being created time and again and prisons continue to experience capacity and overflowing problems controlling gun in the United States becomes difficult due to the many innumerable prolonged jury trials with regard to gun charges. Up to this point, it is clearly shown that when institutional pressures and reason unite against offenders with gun related crimes being sentenced legislative sanctions only cannot change this situation. This means that it is hard to control gun in the United States due to the lack of prison, judicial and prosecutorial resources. 

Asymmetric polarization is another major factor that makes it very hard to control gun in the United States. It is quite possible that the most vital feature characterizing politics in America is the manner in which two parties have sorted the body of voters and moved further towards the extremes. This is based on the understanding that the liberals and the conservatives are all part of the Democratic Party and Republican Party respectively. These parties have moved further in the opposite direction against each other as indicated in the chart below.

It is imperative to understand that in this environment, The Republican Party’s Grand Old Party (G.O.P) Senators largely worry about election challenges at the primary levels from, “more right-wing Republicans” as compared to battles in the general election against the Democrats. This implies that on matters regarding control of guns, many Republicans in the Senate and living in red states that are safe, are wildly not holding the same beliefs as other Republicans on national opinion about matters such as background checks. However, they tend to believe that they do stand to suffer any electoral consequences. This indeed creates the necessary conditions that make it very hard to control gun in America. 

Weak presidency is another key factor that has made it very difficult to control gun in America. For example, President failed to gain enough support from the Congress as far as passing stringent legislations on gun control is concerned. This is a major frustration to the presidency and highlights a point of weakness. The gun control legislations as proposed by President Barrack Obama focused on expanding the understanding and definition of a gun seller or dealer. The already existing regulation requires individuals buying guns from gun sellers who are licensed to undergo a compulsory background check. However, those who obtain guns through private means do not undergo background checks. In this case, the proposed law would clearly expand the definition of gun sellers and dealers, thereby increasing background checks during the acquisition process of a gun. The lack of support of Obama’s proposal by the majority of the Congress could be viewed from the perspective of the stickiness factor. It appears that those against stringent gun laws fail to commit to memory what the American society has transformed into, in terms of deaths and victims as a result of careless use of guns while in the hands of the public.

Out of all the developed nations, the United States has the highest number of deaths as a result of mass shootings, gun crimes and homicides, gun-related suicides and accidental shootings. It is shocking that the pro-gun groups do not consider stringent gun laws as necessary in order to bring about significant changes in the society as far as killings associated with guns are concerned. The solution to controlling guns in the United States could partly depend on the ability to make the statistics on gun related deaths contagious. This information needs to be made memorable for the entire society to jointly and in one accord support and vote for stringent gun control legislations. This is how a major impact could possibly be realized as far as gun control in the United States is concerned.


Control of gun in the United States continues to be a controversial issue. As demonstrated herein, there are a number of factors that makes it very hard to control gun in America. These factors present reasons that are contrary to gun control legislations. A key factor is the NRA that strongly argues against control of gun from the perspective of the second amendment of the American constitution. The second amendment is interpreted in sense that it supports the right of the American people to have ownership of guns. It is therefore held that gun control laws stand a great chance of undermining the purpose and intention of the second amendment. Less restrictive measures against gun control are also championed by those who consider the use of guns for recreational activities such as sports. The fact that the federal laws on gun control receive little or no enforcement is another factor making it very hard to control gun in the United States. Increasing institutional pressures and lack of prison, judicial and prosecutorial resources to support gun control laws is identified to lead to a similar situation. Asymmetric polarization has also been clearly discussed in terms of how it leads to conditions that make it very hard to control gun in America. Other factors identified include weak presidency and the view that the pro-gun supporters fail to consider that guns have resulted in a lot of ills in the American society. The issue of gun control in the United States appears to be so controversial as to continue attracting attention and a lot of discussions into the future. Nevertheless, the government should strive to make sure that the use of guns to commit felonies is prevented and that Americans citizens are safeguarded from any potential harm due to careless use of guns. 


Bakal, Carl. The right to bear arms . New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.

Chen, Duke. Summary of President Obama's Gun Control Proposals . [Hartford]: [Connecticut General Assembly, Office of Legislative Research], 2013. 

Cornell, Saul. A well-regulated militia: the founding fathers and the origins of gun control in America . Oxford University Press, 2008.

DiMauro, Laurie. Gun Control: Restricting Rights or Protecting People? . Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2013. 

Gladwell, Malcolm. The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference . Little, Brown, 2006

Jacobs, James B. Can gun control work?. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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