One of the most embarrassing and political issues in modern society is the issue of firearms control. The debate about firearms has been going on for a long time, and in light of the increased mass shooting and the increased risk of terrorist threats, it will remain a hot topic. The problem of mass shootings is growing worldwide, and the United States is suffering the most.
The right to carry concealed weapons is recognized by the RTC (The Right to Carry). This right gives the right to bring a firearm without any permission. Moreover, it allows the applicant to obtain a weapon license from the state if the person meets the requirements established by the legislature of a particular state. RTC laws are essential because self-defense is a fundamental right. However, many people use the Second Amendment and carry guns to keep their lives safe. Other people think they are in danger when a person is freely allowed to carry a weapon. In this regard, debate continues about the correctness of carrying guns and the laws that may limit this.
The primary trend that shaped the policy around firearms was the country’s struggle for independence. Thus, with the recognition of all citizens as free people, the state in 1791 formed the Bill of Rights, which legalized the right to use firearms. In 1934, the first firearms control law was passed. The trend for this introduction was the formation of many criminal gangs. Thus, the opening was correct, as the government reduced the number of criminal cases.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the trend changed due to massive shooters in public places. In 2007, following a massive shooting at the Virginia Institute of Technology, Congress passed legislation to amend the 2007 NICS Improvement Act (NIAA). Such a law was passed to monitor and record the data of people who own weapons. In 2017, the President signed a document that means the Social Security Administration is no longer required to provide relevant information about people with mental illness to NICS (Gunn et al., 2018). Thus, the previously introduced law is canceled, leading to an increase in shooting cases in public places. The trend for this introduction was President Trump’s policy of freedom for every person.
A lawsuit that influenced government gun policy was Columbia v. Heller. The decision of this process was the statement of the Supreme Court on the legality of keeping weapons at home. When a special service officer tried to register the pistol, he was refused. Thus, in court, he proved a violation of his rights under the second amendment, since he is mentally healthy and does not pose a public danger.
In the case of the people against Aguilar, the decision of the Supreme Court was a statement that the ban on taking firearms out of the house violates the constitution, and therefore human freedom. As a result, the court acquitted Aguilar, ruling on the legality of his actions. The incident took place in Illinois in 2013 and is a prime indicator of the trend for adopting a law to carry weapons for self-defense.
The other case related to gun control happened in 2010 in Chicago. The Supreme Court heard a lawsuit challenging the Chicago firearms ban. Otis MacDonald of Chicago sued the city over the ban, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Thus, the court’s ruling concluded the extension of the second amendment to the authorities at the local and federal levels. At that time, the Chicago gun ban was overturned, and the court’s decision, in this case, was an acquittal for McDonald.
Historical examples are strongly influenced by the public’s perception of relevant government policies. Thus, in 1967, police brutality against people of color-led to public outcry and the second amendment being viewed as a deterrent to aggressive police officers. Due to this incident, the Mulford Act was introduced, which prohibited the open carrying of weapons. (Moore & Begner, 2016). Despite the public outcry and protests at that time, in modern society, such a law is perceived negatively due to the massive increase in tolerance and attitudes towards the black population.
However, the bans on the carrying of weapons only angered the public. Thus, many people wanted to use weapons only for sports and hunting, not to be identified with criminals. As a result, in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action was established, a particular unit created by the NRA (Newman & Hartman, 2017). The public agreed and was delighted with such an introduction; a similar opinion persists among people in modern society.
The development of additional policy regarding the free carrying of weapons remains a controversial and complex issue. Thus, programs aimed at identifying and treating people with mental illness who wish to acquire weapons should be a priority in the future. Attention should be paid to the level of access to mental health services when issuing weapons; such access is grossly inadequate. In addition, it should be noted that the assessment of behavioral threats is becoming the standard for preventing violence in educational institutions and the workplaces.
Social learning theory is most closely related to state policy on carrying weapons. This theory explains and justifies some of the trends and lawsuits regarding firearms. Social learning theory influences public policy development, taking into account the individual characteristics of different groups of the population. The idea can explain previously identified trends and changes in weapons policy through changes in society and improvements in the quality of life of people. In litigation and policy development, theory explains decisions by considering the standard of living and the environment of the accused or plaintiff.
The second theory that explains the development of public policy is the psychological theory. A person learns criminal behavior in his story, which leads state policy to form stricter laws regarding weapons. The theory explains the evolution of politics through improvements in the detection of psychological deviations. In court proceedings concerning the carrying and use of firearms, examinations are also carried out to establish a person’s sanity.
Social learning theory relates to agency policy in that the approach establishes and defines the value of educating people about weapons and the dangers associated with them. Moreover, social learning theory influences department policy, so that the government is currently campaigning to improve the lives of the people to reduce crime (Spitzer, 2020). According to this theory, without changing the social conditions that give rise to crime, it is futile to try to influence crime.
There is a connection between the psychological theory and the department’s policy in conducting various measures aimed at identifying psychological deviations. Thus, in legal proceedings regarding the use of weapons, it is necessary to provide a certificate of psychiatric examination. Moreover, the department’s policy is to conduct classes in educational institutions and provide psychological assistance to victims of bullying and misunderstanding, which leads to a decrease in the number of shootings in schools.
A large field of federal politics is associated with psychological and social learning theory. Thus, persons convicted for more than a year, or those who were forcibly placed in a psychiatric hospital, cannot acquire weapons without restoring their rights. Thus, the state takes into account those psychological characteristics and problems that a person may have. Moreover, the social theory of learning is considered when refusing to sell weapons to people who have served time on serious charges.
Public needs are the desire to restrict free access to weapons, both for adults and adolescents with an unstable psyche. Due to the second amendment and the signed decrees of the former president, the relevant criminal justice system needs lengthier consideration of cases related to the use and bearing of weapons. Moreover, it is necessary to establish a more transparent and more thoughtful pumping system to prevent mass shooters. The branch of criminal law responsible for the needs of the population in the case of weapons is the police. This is since the police are taking measures to reduce crime and monitor the safety of citizens.
However, recently the Justice Department has made several proposals regarding the use of firearms. The department has proposed some changes and restrictions on adaptations that convert pistols to short-barreled rifles. Thus, it can reduce the number of crimes and the significant damage that rifles do. Moreover, a proposal was made to revise the classification of firearms, as there is a regulatory loophole in the law due to unmarked weapons. The administration’s plans also include the development of a law that allows the person’s close circle to form in court and interfere in the course of the case (Oraka et al., 2019). This group of people can demand an order to temporarily restrict a person’s access to a firearm if he can harm himself and others.
While current federal law prohibits some perpetrators of domestic violence from buying and owning firearms, it does not address three main categories of perpetrators who continue to pose a risk of future violence. First of all, these individuals include those convicted or prosecuted for violent acts against a partner. This includes both domestic violence and violent acts outside the home. Consideration should also be given to persons convicted in the court of persecuting a person. Finally, people with a court order to temporarily ban the carrying of weapons must deposit them at the police station. Congress should amend current legislation to prohibit these attackers from owning weapons.
Since the ATF devotes a significant share of its resources to public safety in prosecuting illegal use of weapons, fewer resources are dedicated to detecting illicit firearms trafficking. With this allocation of resources, the agency has focused on firearms issues addressed by other agencies such as the FBI, federal and local law enforcement agencies. This focus on lower-level illegal possession of weapons cases also contributes to mass incarceration in communities of color, sentencing defendants to longer federal sentences than usual after state prosecutions.
To improve relevant departmental policies, it is necessary to establish a culture of safe gun handling. It is essential to limit access to weapons for the younger generation and those who pose a potential risk to themselves and the population. This includes ensuring that no weapons fall into the hands of those who have used violence against their partners and families, as well as those who have previously been convicted of violent acts.
It is also necessary to recognize the use of firearms as a serious and preventable public health problem. Unlike other avoidable causes of death, the department did not show the political will to address it. Firearm violence is most noticeable when several people die simultaneously. Still, it affects too many communities and families daily, be it suicide, domestic violence, community violence, or other forms.
A public health approach examines data on different forms of violence and who is affected, identifies the most significant risk factors and what protects, and develops policies, practices, and program solutions in partnership with other sectors and community members. Thus, it was revealed that the most vulnerable groups are adolescents and young people. This is currently helping to prevent many mass shootings and improve safety in schools.
In terms of limiting the sale of weapons to young people, such an introduction is important and will help improve criminal justice. Young people are the most vulnerable and most affected group of the population. Due to the inability to verbally protect themselves from bullying and other trauma, many adolescents and young people use violent acts against offenders and innocent people (Rogowski & Tucker, 2019). An example of such an event is the mass shooting at a school on February 14, 2018, in Florida, which killed people. A limited system for selling weapons to young people will help reduce such incidents.
From the side of criminological theories, it is also appropriate to offer the above recommendations. From the side of psychological theory, the weakened psyche of children and adolescents subject to bullying is explained. As a consequence, it is necessary to restrict the sale of weapons to young people. Moreover, in this case, it is possible to offer psychological help to a person at the stage of bullying. Social learning theory is also essential in these firearms policy guidelines. Thus, when looking at this theory regarding health care and firearms victims, it seems possible to establish a system of tracking and educating people from different social backgrounds in the culture of weapons.
These guidelines and their implications have a potentially positive impact on gun law. As a result of these recommendations, the level of mass shootings in various institutions will decrease in the country. The public will be able to feel at ease in public places and educational institutions. Moreover, this will lead to a decrease in crime in general, which means a faster functioning of the branch of the criminal justice system.
Potential assessment can have different impacts on weapons and their storage. However, the acquired weapons should be registered with the federal executive body authorized in the field of arms circulation or its territorial body within two weeks from the date of acquisition of the weapon. The permit form is determined by the federal executive body authorized in the field of arms circulation. The renewal of the permit occurs in the order in which the norms of a particular state are established.
Additionally, for legal entities with unique permissions and powers, the issuance of weapons occurs through the immediate head of the unit only after completing training and obtaining the relevant documents. At the same time, the person must lack all grounds for refusing to issue a weapon. Moreover, all employees with a license for weapons must undergo a medical examination every six months and tests in conditions in which a gun may be needed.
Gunn, L. H., ter Horst, E., Markossian, T. W., Molina, G.; van Wouwe, J. P. (2018). Online interest regarding violent attacks, gun control, and gun purchase: A causal analysis. PLOS ONE, 13(11), 1-15.
Moore, M. D., Bergner, C. M. (2016). The relationship between firearm ownership and violent crime. Justice Policy Journal, 13(1), 1-20.
Newman, B. J. & Hartman, T. K. (2017). Mass shootings and public support for gun control. Cambridge University Press, 49(4), 119-127.
Oraka, E., Thummalapally, S., Anderson, L., Burgess, T. Seibert, F., Strasser, S. (2019). A cross-sectional examination of US gun ownership and support for gun control measures: Sociodemographic, geographic, and political associations explored. Preventive Medicine, 123, 179-184.
Rogowski, J. C. & Tucker, P. D. (2019). Critical events and attitude change: Support for gun control after mass shootings. Cambridge University Press, 7(4), 903-911.
Spitzer, R. J. (2020). The politics of gun control. (8th ed.). Routledge.