White Paper — kevinbacon

Proposal: In today’s day and age gun violence is no stranger to our society. It seems like every month there is a new headline on the news or media about a shooting or attack involving weapons. In order to reduce the amount of gun violence, more lenient gun policies should be enacted. What’s a way to defend oneself against a threat with a weapon, or a crime committed with a gun? The solution is to arm oneself. The simple image of owning a gun terrifies people, and weapons are immediately labeled as bad. However, that firearm has a high possibility of saving your life in a deadly situation. Instead of enacting more gun laws and gun bans, which seem to possess little progress, we as a society should be more open towards owning and understanding how to use firearms. Many ask do these strict gun laws even work? Where is the evidence that tight gun control lowers crime and murder rates? Obviously with any argument there are many sides. There are many viewpoints on gun control and by following a relatively lenient gun control policy I hope to identify other solutions, or perhaps different ways to go about my own ideas.  


  1. “More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition”    

The Essential Content of the Source: This novel provides numerous accounts and cases where an individual broke off an attack, or saved their own life by using/brandishing a gun. The novel also includes many pro-gun statistics such as a survey in 2002 indicated that about 95% of the time weapons were used for defense, they only had to be brandished to repel the attacker.

What it Proves: Guns, even though they are deadly, have saved thousands of peoples lives, and they are a great deterrent against criminals, even if they are just displayed. Guns do not need to be deadly to be used effectively. Any sane criminal would be afraid of a gun, and most of the time this halts the crime/attack.

  1. “Can Gun Control Work?”

The Essential Content of the Source: This novel provides a lot of background information on violent crimes such as multiple killings and rampage killers. This source also pushes the idea that most crimes are committed without a firearm in the U.S, so the problem isn’t the easily accessible gun market. The source goes on the provide many charts and statistics relating violence and crimes in the U.S to other factors such as poverty, not gun-related factors.

What it Proves: Should we as Americans really blame the crime in our country on guns? Perhaps gun availability and ownership are just distracting factors to the truly important reasons why there is crime. Perhaps no gun control laws, or complete gun control laws wouldn’t make a difference in the crime we see today. Making more strict gun laws might just be angering the public whom are in favor of guns, and breeding a new conflict. It boils down to guns do not necessarily lead right to crimes committed.

  1. “Gun Control isn’t Crime Control”

The Essential Content of the Source: This article gives a first hand account on how the UK passed a very strict gun control law, banning citizens from owning basically any type of handgun. This law however, did not immediately remove all of the handguns in circulation in England. There is still an estimated 250,000 handguns still in the UK and now that they are banned only the criminals will be in possessions of these weapons.

What it Proves: This will help my hypothesis because it demonstrates that enforcing strict gun laws and taking away the weapons of civilians, just leads to the criminals being the only people owning weapons. How can the average citizen defend themselves against weapons when they have none? No one wants a society where only the outlaws have weapons.

  1. Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control”

The Essential Content of the Source: Gun control revolves around the false idea that the average American citizen should not be trusted with a firearm. The article goes on to compare gun laws to the violation of our rights, such as if search and seizure was violated. It also victimizes those who need weapons for self defense the most, such as African Americans and women. 

What it Proves: Gun control leads to the victimization of people who would most likely be affected by crimes. Banning guns might be as effective as banning alcohol to lower the number of drunk driving accidents. Many times when individuals are told not to do something, they do it anyway, and with consequences. This article creates a new idea which is, who is more trustworthy, the people or the government?

  1. Harvard Study: Gun Control is Counterproductive”

The Essential Content of the Source: This article highlights the fact that there is no correlation between violent crime and gun ownership. In fact, there is a negative correlation, where more gun ownership leads to lower murder and suicide rates. A handful of European nations, who had a lower rate of gun owners was compared to other nations with more gun owners. The murder rate was three times higher in the countries who had less citizens with firearms. 

What it Proves: The popular opinion of less guns equals less crimes is false. Places where gun owners are more prevalent (such as Norway in the study) show lower crime and murder rates. These places on paper are more “peaceful.” Taking away gun ownership can cause a nation, such as Russia, into totalitarian and police state. These kind of environments can be more dangerous for citizens.   

      6.  “Reductions In Firearm-Related Mortality And Hospitalizations In Brazil After Gun Control”

The Essential Content: In this article a study in conducted in a few cities and state capitals in Brazil. The correlation between newly established gun laws and homicide and hospital rates is analyzed.

What it Proves: Even though the study has been constructed to show the positive benefits of these gun laws, not enough data is taken into consideration. They only test their hypothesis in a select few state capitals and cities. The homicide rates of towns and other cities isn’t taken into consideration. This proves that it is difficult for these studies to cover the appropriate amount of data needed to justify the relation between gun control and crime rates.

7. “Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books”

Essential Content of the Source: In this article written for the New York Times, instances where citizens reported a crime, but the crime was never taken serious by authorities are discussed. The reasons for why the police would not record some crimes are also brought up. These include; it wasn’t important enough, the police did not want to go through the trouble of filing the paper work, and the suspect could not be identified.

What it Proves: Not only does this article show that authority figures do not always record every crime that happens, but it shows that crimes can go unknown by the general public. Now, this article only focuses on smaller scaled crimes as compared to murders with firearms, but it shows the fact that crimes do go unreported. This can be through sheer laziness, or viewing the crime as unimportant.

8. “Underground Gun Markets”

Essential Content of the Article: This working paper describes the economic aspects of the underground gun market by interviewing those involved, and by looking at statistics. This research was conducted in the city of Chicago. Those interviewed consisted of, gang members, gun dealers, professional thieves, prostitutes, police, teens and school security guards. These first hand accounts prove successful in achieving relevant information and insight on the illegal gun trade.

What it Proves: This paper is an example of how criminals will go to any extent to buy guns. Also it is relatively easily to buy an unregistered gun even if you have a criminal record. This article reinforces the fact that even with gun laws, there will still be individuals out there trying to sell firearms illegally and it has turned into quite a large market.

9. “The Social Costs of Gun Ownership”

Essential Content of the Source: This paper takes a look at the many sides regarding gun control. It takes a look at many hypothesis’s such as more guns, more crime, and more guns, less crime. It also discusses how many people have gun ownership in the US and how most guns are owned by citizens who have four or more guns. It also looks at the distribution of guns, where most people own guns in middle class, average income, suburban areas.

What It Proves: Most citizens who own guns are responsible with their firearms. Most gun crime occurs in poverty stricken places, where people have to borrow or steal a weapon. It also takes a look at many hypothesis which would be beneficial towards my overall thesis. It would be useful to look at and discuss all sides of this issue, brought up by this paper.



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