Definition Essay – CarsonWentz11

Concept – How community factors can effect gun violence.

Gun control laws and their relation to the amount of gun violence is a significant issue in today’s political spectrum.  Gun laws are different for every state and the amount of gun violence varies all over the place throughout the country.  Therefore, it is very tough to discover hard evidence whether gun control laws do decrease gun violence or if they don’t.  Besides of gun control laws, one can look at factors in the community and see how they effect gun violence.  There are many community factors that could play a role, such as, economics, gender, and location.

The largest amount of gun deaths, in our nation, come from suicides.  The amount of suicides is already very high in our country, but during The Great Recession suicide amount increased drastically, according to a study from Oxford University.   Oxford University’s Dr. Aaron Reeves stated, “There has been a substantial rise in suicides during the recession, greater than we would have anticipated based on previous trends.”  The study from Oxford University discovered that about 10,000 suicides from North America and Europe were linked to the recession that started in 2007.  This time of troubling economics where people lost their jobs, lost their homes, and fell in deep debt, brought people to where they felt they didn’t want to suffer through it anymore.  The recession was a troubling economy for the whole country, but if we now discuss smaller communities that are having economic problems, the same results of suicides could happen.

Besides of suicides, community economics also play a role in gun violence.  Low income communities tend to have higher violent crime and gun deaths.  Inner cities across the country, unfortunately, have the lowest income rates, while also having the highest homicide rates.  Detroit Michigan, which was considered the poorest city in America in 2014 according to Bruce Kennedy, CBS News, also had the third highest homicides, at 295, in 2015.  Of course there are other factors that come into play, such as crowded population and gang violence, but this trend of low income inner cities having very high homicide rates continues in all major cities across the nation.  The inner cities of America have been struck with poverty for generations.  Causes for the poverty include, racial and gender discrimination, structure shifts in the economy, racial and income segregation, crowded migration, and simply not enough jobs.  Another main cause for high poverty rates is people not getting high enough education.  People who drop out of school before finishing high school, tend to struggle to find steady jobs that will pay enough standard living cost.  These are just a few causes of the high amounts of poverty in the inner cities.

Another factor that can effect gun violence is gender and race.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics,  “In 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for males was 6.2 per 100,000 compared to 1.1 for females.”  This is a very large margin between homicides by male and females and this can play a role in communities.  If one community is way more outnumbered by males to females, one can suspect that there will be a higher firearm homicide rate compared to a community that females outnumber the males.  Another stat from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics is, “In 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for blacks was 14.6 per 100,000, compared to 1.9 for whites, 2.7 for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and 1.0 for Asians and Pacific Islanders.”

An important factor that can effect gun violence is gun ownership.  Gun ownership is highly correlated to gun violence and suicides.  When looking a specific area or community for the amount of gun violence, it should be taken in account how highly populated the area is with gun owners.  In a larger scale, one could even look at the different parts of America.  Parts like the southeast, south, and southwest have a higher gun ownership rate than the west coast and the northeast.  Location is very important because in different parts of the country people tend to have different views on guns.  In the Southern parts of America, where gun ownership rates are the highest, people don’t really care about people arming themselves, while in other parts, many people don’t believe gun ownership should be allowed.

With all these factors in different communities, it can allow one to look more into which community factors play a role ion gun violence, especially homicides and suicides.  There are many studies that are very broad in what they are looking for, in accordance to gun violence and gun control laws.  Some will say these gun laws are lowering gun violence, while other studies will show they don’t.  Instead of trying to comcould find what the economic situation of that community is like, whether it is a populated urban city or a rural area, the gender and race percentage, and the gun ownership rate.


Kennedy, Bruce. “America’s 11 Poorest Cities.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 18 Feb. 2015,

Dallas, Mary Elizabeth. “Recession Linked to More than 10,000 Suicides.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 12 June 2014

“Firearm Violence, 1993-2011.” Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), May. 2013

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