Failure of gun control movement in the US

84 views 10 pages ~ 2618 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Why has gun control in America failed? For a long time, the two major parties who have always held opposing views on weapons safety issues have been gun rights advocates and gun control groups. Many court decisions in the United States have focused on the subject of gun ownership and its effect on public safety or the spread of crime rates. As mass shootings become more frequent in the United States, the nation becomes more polarized on the subject. The Liberals for instance contend that the government’s move on restricting gun ownership could save lives while the conservatives disagree with the argument that tougher gun laws have no effect on violent criminal behavior. Gun control in America has failed and there is an increasing public concern and pressure on the government to rest the gun menace once and for all.

From a historical perspective, Gun Control Act (GCA) in the second half of the 20th century kicked off in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the previous assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Malcom X among other people (Carter 66). The main focus and emphasis of the gun control act was the prohibition of interstate sell of fire arms except among licensed dealers, importers and manufacturers. The law also prohibited the sale of guns to a certain category of people. In the 1980s, The Brandy Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed. The act emphasized on the restriction of unwanted parties to own, transport or even engage in the sale of fire arms. The Firearms Owners Protection Act in the other hand favored the advocated for gun rights including the National Rifles Association.

The Mass Shooting tracker defines “mass shooting” as a shooting incident that kills 4 or more people as well as the aggressor. The 2015 mass shooting report states that mass shooting has been on the rise in the United States. Mass shooting statistic found that there were 372 incidences that involved acts of mass shooting in the U.S in 2015. Through the incidents over 450 people lost their lives and an additional 1,869 were either critically or slightly injured from the aftermath (Doherty, p.82). School shootings were over 60 inclusive of all the incidents that involved the firing of a gun even though people might not have been hurt. Gun violence in the year 2015 claimed over 13, 250 lives while the injuries toll rose to over 26,800 although the figures were expected to rise as the year progressed. Even though there are no official reports on the number of guns that are out in the loose. Research estimates that over 300 million guns are in the hands of the U.S public. Further research has found out that between the year 1968 and 2011 the death toll in the U.S through the use of fire arms surpasses those of any war that the U.S has ever engaged in. All wars that the U.S has taken part in combined according to a 2011 research amount to roughly 1.2 million deaths as opposed to the over 1.3 that occur as a result of guns in the hands of the public.

As an aftermath of the Sandy Hook School, the American public became more aware on the issue of gun control and the overall public shooting incidences. The National Rifle Association is one of the many lobby groups that boasted to have increased its membership to over 5 million people (Hand 56). The Second Amendment of the U.S constitution has equally strengthened the various lobby groups and individuals claims on the issue of gun ownership and the public concerns.

Hand (P.56) states that, despite the current death tolls and the public debate on the issue of gun control, lobbyists have made it even more difficult to regulate the already out of hand gun menace. Lobbyist groups like the National Rifle Association have partnered with other groups and influential individuals including prominent bloggers and government officials to curtail the implementation of gun control. The main argument of the lobbyist groups is that owning guns in America is a symbol of freedom and hence every civilian has a mandate to protect themselves and their property by the use of guns.

Gun- control groups became more vocal and concerned on the proposition to bun the purchase and ownership of fire arms by unwanted persons in the United States (Yuill & Street p.150). After the San Bernardino and the Colorado Springs shootings among other shootings that occurred in the year 2015, the advocates of gun control came up with counter arguments as to why banning the ownership of firearms is not a viable idea. According to this group of protestors people who are committed to either commit terrorist acts or mass killings cannot be deterred by the mere ban of ownership of firearms. Most crimes occur not because there are no regulatory factors but because the perpetrators of the crimes are highly motivated and hence go out of their way to strategize and execute their plans. Despite the push by the advocates of gun control like the former president Obama and his allies like Hillary Clinton for the regulatory of gun ownership at the federal level, attacks still continued to occur in various places in the U.S.

The proposition of the use of the universal background checks have their own filters like in the case of the College Shooter from Umpqua. Record shows that the shooter was mentally ill but still managed to pass Oregon’s universal laws on ownership of fire arms. The universal back ground checks are also prone to errors as evidenced in the Charleston’s church shooter had initially confessed of a drug charge but the details were not entered correctly in his file. Massaro (96) affirms that, the banning of “powerful” assault weapons to the use of the public according to the anti-fire arm control groups is less impactful. The group further claims that the fire arms sold to the public are rifles which cannot be compared to the semi-automatic and fully automated machine guns that are used by the military. The features that various anti-gun ownership groups use to define riffles that include, bayonet lugs, barrel shrouds and the pistol grips among others pass the wrong perception about the rifle making it scarier than it really is.

An argument ensued that the ban of assault weapons that lasted between the years 1994 to the year 2004 ad not effect to crimes committed using firearms. The proponents of the gun movement contend that, most of the guns that committed mass shootings were purchased in compliance with the state’s stringent gun rules but were later modified illegally. The additional move by the government to bun the sale of guns to the people that are on “the no flight list” is also unrealistic and unconstitutional as over 70 people that are on the list are employed by the Homeland Security and hence denying them their constitutional right of the second amendment is unrealistic and lame (DeGrazia & Hunt p.67).

There is also a strong political opposition on the issue of gun control. In the United States for instance Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were particularly vocal in the push for gun control. According to Goss (62), the democrats even went ahead and introduced a gun control legislation in the 113th congress which was defeated by the congress. The Republican dominated congress has thrown several jabs at the Democrats on the issue of gun control. Some recent updates from the congress led by the Republicans was the proposal of gun owners to acquire permits that will enable them travel anywhere in the United States with their guns.

The democrats hold the argument that, despite the passage of the second amendment of the constitution, there is need to run thorough background checks. The Democrats equally contend that, it is inevitable to ensure that there is no public display or marketing of fire arms like the gun shows in the fight against gun ownership (Goss p.102). After the expiry of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 2004, there has been a recent move by the democrats to bring back the bill in 2013 although it was out voted 60 to 40. There was, however, a collective effort that saw to the funding of the background check system with the intent to keep the powerful handguns out of the hands of unwanted people.

The Democrats have devised efficient future plans that are geared towards helping them integrate the mental health category for the people that are eligible to own guns. Despite the great opposition that Obama faced from the opposition during his campaign against gun ownership by the citizens, he made it clear that he did not intend to overwrite the Second Amendment or even defy it (Massaro p.77). He stated that the Democrat’s primary goal was to ensure that the fire arms that were sold in the American soil fell in safe hands as opposed to those of mentally ill people who could endanger the lives of their fellow Americans. Hillary Clinton equally contend that there is a difference between upholding the second Amendment of the constitution and regulating the balance of gun ownership from criminals.

The second amendment of the U.S constitution that was drafted in the 1780s after the American war of independence permits every citizen to own a gun as a symbol of freedom and security to the country. However, the anti-gun lobbyist groups equally argue out that, the amendment was drafted at a time when there was civil strife and insecurity was high (Street 112). They however, claim that in the modern times, it is not necessary to have a gun. The pro-gun groups in their defense stick to their assertion of owning a gun for security purposes and get protection from the law.

Although the Second Amendment give the pass for citizens to own guns, the Supreme Court’s added that that clause only covered the states in equipping their militia from interference from the federal government’s intrusion. The conflicting part in the second amendment argues between those who claim that it protects mutual rights and those that claim that it protects individual rights. Those that argue from the groups perspective quote the clause, “well-regulated militia” meaning that it gives the state the mandate to equip their militia to protect the state from external aggression. On the other hand, the second group adds that it gives the individuals the freedom of owning guns to protect themselves without the intervention and interference of the federal government. In Street’s view (p.116), the proponents of the gun control like the National Rifle Association claim that the (NRA) gives the citizens the mandate to own guns and it does not merely finish at the militia. The other contesting group spearheaded by the Brady Campaign also claim that the Second Amendment should not be a through pass for the ownership of guns but instead it should give much more insight on the back checking system to reduce incidences of mass killings.

The Supreme Court has also given out their opinions and remarks based on the issue of gun control. Earlier this year, in a controversial case involving Peruta vs. California, the court declined to hear the case on the claims that, the allegations were not weighty enough. According to The Supreme Court, people who wish to be granted the permission of carrying a concealed weapon ought to show tangible evidence of a threat to personal security (Goss p.50). From the recent cases presented in court, evidence shows that even though a gun control group might present their case before the court for hearing or in the congress, the opposing side often drafts a letter or provides support based on funds to people on their side.

In the current American public opinion is influential in the gun control process. Most of the Americans feel that owning guns gives them security and hence liberates them from external aggression. From recent research conducted by PEW, they claim that for over 20 years, the public opinion on gun control has not changes much and hence it is less likely to change as 8 out of 10 adults still feel the need to own a gun in the contemporary America. The divisive nature of the public opinion in the issue of gun control makes it increasingly difficult to resolve and get a common bearing on the issue of gun control in America. Gary Younge. Why the Gun-Control Movement Fails. The Nation. Retrieved 18th October 2016 from

Although the incidences of mass shooting have provoked mixed reactions from the American public. Recent research claims that nearly 55% of the Americans agree that there should be more stringent rules forged towards the gun control polices. In random interviews to the American public, the American people appear doubtful concerning the issue of back checking the records on the sale of guns. Basing on the various strict gun rules that are already active in many states like California, the American public insists that gun control and implementing strategies like back check and banning of interstate gun movement will have little impact on the issue of mass shootings.

The American public additionally denotes that, the human aspects and psychology behind committing crimes is far much complex that perceived from the surface. It is however, necessary to consider issues touching and relating to religious fundamentalism, terrorist groupings, youthful isolation and the cases of mental instability among others. Carter (p.62) finds that. although there is the aspect of politicization, economic concerns, public opinions and human rights groups among others, the issue of gun control is a journey and not a onetime decision. A good population of the American public is ready to revise the Second Amendment and instead link it to a more defined point of reference that can ensure there is strict adherence.

It is clear that the American government is like a toothless dog when it comes to the issue of gun control. Despite the recent public concerns and pressure from the mass shootings, lobbyist groups still insist that there should be no gun control. The lobbyist groups contend that gun control cannot curtail criminal activities and hence is just a scape goat from the real issue. The government is equally infested with a strong opposition from the republicans who form a big chunk of the senate and are equally against the Gun Control Act (Doherty, p.34). The mere numbers of the Republicans in congress is a great hindrance to the implementation of gun control. The second amendment on gun control and the right of the citizens to own guns has also provided a safe haven for the people against gun control and hence offers constitutional protection. The public opinion equally counts and makes it even more difficult for the government to initiate gun control as its own public is against the act. Gun control is therefore, a phantom in the contemporary American socio-economic and political grounds.

Works cited

Carter, Gregg L. Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook., 2017.

DeGrazia, David, and Lester H. Hunt. Debating Gun Control: How Much Regulation Do We Need? 2016. Print. 

Doherty, Brian. Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment. Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2008. Print.

Goss, Kristin A. Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. 

Hand, Carol. Gun Control and the Second Amendment. New York: ABDO Digital, n.d.. Print.

Massaro, John. No Guarantee of a Gun: How and Why the Second Amendment Means Exactly What It Says. Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2008. Print.

STREET, C. (2016). Gun control: Guns in America: The full debate.

Yuill, Kevin L, and Joe Street. The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear, and the American Constitution., 2018.

October 25, 2022
Subject area:

Gun Control Activism Safety

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Safety
Verified writer

Participating in gun control for my college class, I worked with Lennon70 who took just a quick look at the replies and helped me participate in the most efficient way. A great writer who is a lot of fun!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories