Main Causes of the Gun Violence in the USA
The growing instances of the gun violence in the USA provoked the heated debates over the effectiveness of the gun control measures, employed by the U. S. government. Considering the probable causes of the gun violence, one may determine the comprehensive disadvantages of the current gun legislation and the vague perspectives of any changes in the acting federal legislation in the near future.
The U. S. citizens may fully enjoy their constitutional right to obtain the gun, while the current legislation makes it possible for the criminal offenders to procure the gun legally as well as illegally. The numerous instances of the shootings in the public schools that resulted in the deaths of 543 people since 1982 caused the rise of the nationwide debates over the necessity to employ severe gun control measures. Moreover, the extremely easy access to the guns leaves 3000 children dead from the gun wounds annually. While about 300 million firearms are circulating among the general population, it is fairly obvious that the U. S. citizens successfully exercise the unrestricted right to obtain guns. The right to “bear arms” has a long-term tradition, dating back to the seventeenth century. Back then in 1689, the British Parliament promptly prohibited the forced disarmament of the citizens in order to restrain the tyranny of the monarch. The historical accounts suggest that the right to keep arms eventually became the characteristic feature of the American colonial society, since any attempts of George III to disarm the colonies led the vigorous opposition and the subsequent incorporation of the corresponding clause into the Bill of Rights. During the last 300 hundred years, numerous instances of the expert interpretations of the Second Amendment indicated the constitutionality of the right to possess guns. Finally, the recent ruling of the Supreme Court in District Columbia v. Heller upheld the unconditional right of an individual for armed self-protection at home for the first time in the U. S. history. The flood of the subsequent federal cases revealed the scarce possibility to disarm the American population under the Second Amendment. Thus, one may note that it is virtually impossible to deprive the U. S. citizens of the constitutional right to keep the guns at home.
Furthermore, the current gun control legislation is rather useless in preventing the gun obtainment by the possible criminal offenders. Helmke strongly emphasizes the absence of the comprehensive gun control legislation, since the regulative laws include only the 1934 restriction on the machine guns and fully automatic weapon, the 1968 requirement for the list of the prohibited buyers and the 1994 imposed demands for the background checks. Combined with the absence of the strict laws that may prevent the access to the guns for the criminals, the incomplete database of the potentially dangerous people only makes the matter worse. In addition, the private collectors are not obliged to conduct the background check, making it easier for the criminals to receive access to the dangerous weapon. The state control of the private sellers is, indeed, quite ineffective. A great number of reliable studies indicate that in about 40% of cases the sellers did not conduct the required background check. Kamiru explains the state’s failure to provide the proper regulation of the federally licensed private retailers with lack of funds and resources. According to Wintemute and Braga, on frequent occasions the retailers knowingly participate in the illegal gun business. Moreover, since there is no nationwide unity in relation to the gun control, the states with the strict legislation often suffer from the its absence in the neighboring states as the criminals tend to buy the available guns in one state and come to another, intending to commit a crime. The presented evidence clearly indicates the existence of the enormous number of the loopholes in the acting federal laws.
There is a scarce possibility that the U. S. government will improve the gun control laws in the near future. Some scholars argue that the state authority simply ignores the necessity to explore the possible causes of the massive gun violence as any attempt will only fuel the existing debates over the issue. According to Streir, any future proposal to restrict the access to the gun will face the strong opposition of the gun lobby in the Congress. The recent failure of Obama’s initiative to reach the Senate proves the high level of the lobby’s influence. The extensive blocking of any similar initiative may be attributed to the purely financial factors, since the gun producers are one of the main contributors of taxes to the state budget. Moreover, the federal authorities are inclined to undermine the state gun ban laws by constant interventions in the state legislative process. For instance, in 2004 the Congress lifted the ban on the assault weapons, weakening the federal restrictive laws and letting everyone know that the long-anticipated changes are next to impossible. Therefore, the proponents of the regulative gun legislation may not achieve any success in the foreseeable future.
The high rate of the gun violence to some extent is the result of the lack of compromise among the general population and the politicians. It is highly unlikely that the opposing groups of the U. S. citizens may reach the compromise. Most of people seek to obtain guns for personal protection and the protection of their families, being convinced that the law enforcement may not provide the sufficient level of safety. Moreover, the initiation of the constructive dialogue is often impossible due to the formal division of the participators on the labeled groups of the opponents and proponents of gun control. Since the gun issue is highly controversial, the public opinion often appears to be the tool for manipulations during the election campaigns). Therefore, it may easily shift from one extreme point to another one and cannot be taken into account.Even if the civilians take the matter in their hands, it is highly doubtful that the initiative may pass the legislative procedure of adoption. While the number of the gun crimes has reached 320, 000 by 2009, the politicians are deaf to the numerous calls for action. The opponents of the restrictive laws argue that the implementation of the harsh regulatory system does not correlate with the decreasing level of violence. The possible outcomes of the gun ban may provoke the massive public frustration, since only the small percentage of the U. S. population, namely “naïve gun enthusiasts”, supports the restrictive measures. The main argument of the proponents of the unrestricted access to the firearms is the strong conviction that any regulatory system will violate the civilians’ right for safety under the Second Amendment. Thus, the public opinion cannot be the central cause of the gun violence, since the expressed will of the people has to result in the adoption of appropriate legislation. But the combination of the gun lobby’s influence mentioned earlier and the reference to the Second Amendment makes the public opinion virtually incapable to change the course of the government policy. The main causes of the gun violence lay within the legislative system that is extremely tolerant toward the issue of the free access to the firearms.
The presented evidence reveals numerous obstacles to the eradication of gun violence. While the U. S. citizens enjoy the access to the firearms and free exercise of the right to possess the gun under the Second Amendment, the crime offenders may exploit the disadvantages of the current gun regulations and the strong influence of the gun lobby in the Congress will prevent adoption of any restrictive legislation.