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GunControl: An Annotated Bibliography

Chemerinsky,Erwin. &quotPutting the Gun Control Debate in Social Perspective.&quotFordhamL. Rev.73 (2004): 477.

Theauthor looks at the social perspective of gun control in the UnitedStates. He focuses on the liberal and conservatism point of view ongun control. According to the author, the two groups have veryopposing views regarding gun control. According to Chemerinskyliberals consider the Second Amendment as being about “collectiverights” meant only to curb Congress’ ability to regulate firearmsin a manner that would limit state government’s ability to protectthemselves. While conservatives argue that, the Second Amendment isconcerned with the right of individuals protecting people’s rightsto own guns (Chemerinsky 478). With this kind of disparity inideologies, the author believes that formulating gun control policiesmay become difficult even in the future.

Thissource is useful in writing my research paper as it offers a legalview of the gun control debate. It sheds some light on the expecteddirection of the current debate. The source is credible as it is ajournal article published within the last decade.

Cook,Philip J., Anthony A. Braga, and Mark H. Moore. &quotGun control.&quotCrimeand Public Policy(2011): 257-292.

Inthis article, the authors argue that, the increase in crime involvingguns in the United States including murders, careless killings,injured in robberies and attacks continue to rise. The authors giveall the views regarding gun control including those for and against.Controlling guns may not necessarily be effective in a gun saturatedcountry. The Second Amendment has also been highlighted by theauthors as permitting individuals to own and use a gun for selfprotection (Cook, Anthony, and Mark 257). Generally, the authors arefocused on providing a basis for understanding of the gun debate, andconsider the necessary steps that could be considered in search of acomprehensive gun control policy. To save lives and reduce the stressof crime the society, the author proposes the development andimplementation of programs to ensure guns are less readily availableparticularly to those inclined towards violence.

Thisis a useful source since it provides all the perspectives of thedebate on gun control. It will be useful in developing my paper sinceit provides solutions for an effective policy that would help controlguns and reduce loss of lives and other violent crimes.

Devi,Sharmila. &quotResearchers call for reform of US gun controlpolicies.&quot TheLancet380.9853 (2012): 1545.

Theauthor argues that, politicians have always kept off from the debateof getting guns out of people’s control. The case for Gun PolicyReforms in America, a study that sought to establish strategies ofreducing gun violence found out that, in 2010 alone, about 31,000Americans lost their lives from gun related violence. He notes that,there are more guns in circulation in the wrong hands. The currentgun control policies allow people who have been diagnosed with mentalproblems, have previously been charged for domestic violence orassault to continue owning guns (Devi 1545). He brings in theimportant role of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in influencingpolicy making. The organization has been known to oppose gun controlpolicies and perceive themselves as custodians of the SecondAmendment which allows individuals to possess guns. The author alsoputs it clear for political leaders that, there is great support fromcitizens on controlling guns.

Thissource is useful for my study as it supports my thesis, whichadvocates for gun control to reduce the number of killings and othercrimes in the country. The source is credible as it uses currentstudies by John Hopkins center for Gun Policy and Research. It isalso recently published, which shows its connection to the currentsituation.

Doeden,Matt. Gun control preventing violenceor crushing constitutional rights.Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.

Theauthors start by giving the preview of the debate regarding guncontrol in America. According to the Doeden, some people perceive theinadequate gun laws in the U.S as the result of chaos in the country.They are of the view that, tighter laws could help keep guns awayfrom undeserving people including children, criminals and those whoare mentally unstable. Hence reducing the number of guns incirculation is significant in reducing cases of homicide and othercrimes. Opponents of gun control argue that, the rise in gun crimecannot be attributed to guns, but to the individuals who commit thesecrimes. They believe that, majority of gun owners are law respectingcitizens who actually use them in preventing crime. They also believethat, existing laws have denied Americans their rights as they havefailed to keep guns from dangerous people. The author argues that,gun control debate require a focus on facts, studying the statistics,looking into the current laws and listening to both sides of thedivide in order to come up with a solution. This source examines thehistory of gun ownership in the U.S, the existing state, local andfederal laws in trying to address this concern. It provides the viewsof government leaders, activists, historians as well as ordinarycitizens from both sides of the debate. It will therefore be usefulin broadening the understanding of gun issue in the U.S, which is aconcern in my essay. Like most of the sources I have used, it is alsocurrent, which makes it a credible source.

Lott,John R. Moreguns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws.University of Chicago Press, 2013. Print.

Lottstarts his book by introducing the current situation regarding gunsin America. He argues that, guns dominate our debate on crime and areconstantly displayed on movies, video games and in the news wherepeople shoot each other recklessly. Nevertheless, Lott argues that,the perception that guns have led to an increase in crime andkillings may be far from the truth. Most of the population accordingto Lott has no firsthand experience with guns, despite the fact thatthere are over 270 million guns in American households. He talks ofmedia bias in reporting shooting incidences in a manner that suggestsmore guns lead to more crime (Lott 2). He offers statistics provingthat guns are not responsible for crime increase in the UnitedStates, and is thus against the gun control opinion.

Thissource will be very useful in my study as it gives the other side ofthe debate-against gun control. The source is credible and givesstatistics to support the argument. Besides, it is published withinthe last decade with up to date information.

North,Michael J. &quotGun control in Great Britain after the Dunblaneshootings.&quot ReducingGun Violence in America. Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis,Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MA(2013): 185-93.

Inthis article, the author focuses on the Dunblane shooting incident,where a gunman entered Dunblane Primary School in Scotland openingfire at children and the teachers with his two legally held semiautomatic pistols. Although homicide cases have been very minimal inGreat Britain, this incident accounted for almost a quarter of allthe incidents involving homicide, angry citizens showed their concernby lobbying for tighter gun control. In a span of just two years,handguns were banned. The author takes the reader through this eventand the following actions and more importantly the impact that theban had on crime. Although general crime rate did not subsidefollowing the ban, as it was unlikely for criminals to surrendertheir illegal handguns, there was notable decrease in crime later in2003 and 2004 and continued to decrease in subsequent years. InScotland, gun related crime had decreased significantly with eachyear passing since 1998 and is currently less than a third of therates in 1996, when the policy changing shooting incident occurred.The general decrease in crime in Great Britain is a clear indicationof the effects of gun control.

Thesource is very important for my paper as it helps in bringing a casestudy of Great Britain and gun control which involved banning of handguns. The results are evident today, that gun control reduces crime.This will be an important lesson for the U.S to learn. The source iscredible as it utilizes various primary and secondary sources insupporting the argument for gun control.

GunControl: Essay

Guncontrol entails regulating the sale, ownership and use of guns in agiven population. The debate over gun control has dominated theUnited States media, population as well as the congress for severaldecades now. The country has suffered a series of very seriousshooting incidences ever experienced elsewhere in the world. From the1999 Columbine High Shooting incidence, the gun attack in 2002 wheretwo young men opened fire at civilians to the recent Colorado movietheatre shooting and Newtown elementary school killings in 2012, tothe latest episode of September 16, 2013 at the U.S Navy Yard,Washington, where a gun man killed 13 people, tells of the greaterissue of gun control. Lott notes that, the U.S households have over270 million guns, which is more than a quarter of the total number ofguns in the whole world (2). There is a worrying trend in misuse ofguns to execute crime besides careless killings of innocentcivilians. Gun control should be enhanced in the United States.

Theincreasing cases of homicide and other gun related violence in theU.S is an indicator of the gun problem in the country. Thousands oflives are lost in the U.S from reckless shootings of innocent peopleevery year. The killings that occur are executed by the use of legalguns. Despite the country having passed gun control legislations inthe 60’s, undeserving people including the mentally ill and thosewith history of domestic violence continue to posses guns. This hascontinued to put millions of Americans in danger. There is thereforethe need to enhance gun control measures to ensure that people withhistory of crime and those with mental health issues do not accessguns.

TheSecond Amendment is one of the laws that opponents of gun controlhave used to support their argument. They argue that the constitutiongives every individual the right to self protection, hence to possessa gun. Conservatives and liberals have also been at logger heads onthe issue of gun control, with liberals terming the Second Amendmentas a political agenda to restrict state governments from protectingthemselves, while conservatives view it as an agenda to promoteindividual rights to self protection. The issue of gun control issuch a sensitive issue that no politician including the incumbentpresident Barrack Obama has been brave enough to address. This hasbeen one of the reasons that gun control has not been successful inthe United States.

Lookingat the context of Great Britain, where gun control was established in1998 after a shooting incident at an elementary school in Scotland,the trend shows that gun control is the solution to reduction ofunprecedented killings and crime. In focus to the decreasing crimerate in Great Britain, Northstates that “If there had been a drift towards an “American-style”gun culture in the 1990s the handgun ban stopped it” (192). The U.Sshould learn from this trend and adopt gun control in order to savelives. Consequently, Great Britain has clearly been able to balancebetween gun rights and safety of its people, a lesson that the U.S isyet to learn.

Opponentsof gun control have often cited guns as not to be blamed for crime orkillings that happen in the U.S however, if we look at the trends ofkillings involving guns, the U.S leads, as it leads with the numberof guns. Lott has argued against gun control citing the bias in mediareporting on gun related incidences. He argues that, most incidenceswhere a gun is used to prevent crime or self defense have not beengiven attention as those that involve gun misuse. According to Lott“American culture is gun culture” (1). This notion is clearevident of the way people have accepted guns in the American societyas portrayed in the media and crime debates. This view is misleadingif compared to what the Great Britain experience has taught us. Thereis every reason to support gun control if crime and merciless killinghave to stop in the U.S. In another perspective, the rate of gunownership were higher in the 50’s and the 60’s yet gun violenceremained relatively lower than today. This shows that, it is notabout the number of guns in circulation that has contributed to thegrowing gun violence, but rather the gun culture in the U.S. What isevident though is the effectiveness of gun control to stop gunviolence.

Theproblem of gun crime overburdens the society in general. Gunavailability is attributed to the rampant cases of killings aswitnessed in schools and public shootings over the years. Theincreasing insecurity among the population has contributed toindividuals acquiring guns both legally and illegally. The result hasbeen guns landing in undeserving hands of minors, mentally ill peopleor those with criminal background. To handle the issue, there is needto look deeply into the problem, including looking at the existinglaws, involving activists, historians and the views of citizens inorder to come up with policies regarding the ownership and use ofguns in the United States.

Focusneed to particularly be placed on disarming and controlling gunpossession among high risk individuals such as the mentally unstableand those with past record of violent crimes such as domesticviolence. In addition, some types of guns such as automatic riflesand handguns should be banned as they are very dangerous and whenused by an assailant can cause serious damage. The National RifleAssociation is one major body that has over the years maintained thestatus quo on gun ownership terming themselves as the custodians ofthe Second Amendment. Far from truth, people in the U.S are concernedabout gun ownership as noted by Davi when he asserts that studies byJohn Hopkins Center for Gun Control conclude that“…politiciansneed to realise three things: there is broad support for policieskeeping guns out of the hands of high-risk individuals the reformsare constitutional and the policies would save the lives of innocentAmericans” (1545).


Guncontrol debate in the United States is a debate that has lasted for along time. The controversial debate is always at the heart of crimeand crime prevention debates. With the increasing shootings thatinstill fear each day to millions of Americans, stakeholdersincluding politicians, the media, the public as well as scholars haveshown their concern on the issue. Supporters of gun control areconvinced that poor gun regulation policies are responsible for theincreased crime in the United States. With the lessons learnt fromGreat Britain, gun control is the solution to the crime and killingsthat has dominated the U.S over the years. Gun control should beenhanced, in order to save lives and protect from other dangerouscrimes.


Chemerinsky,Erwin. &quotPutting the Gun Control Debate in Social Perspective.&quotFordhamL. Rev.73 (2004): 477.

Cook,Philip J., Anthony A. Braga, and Mark H. Moore. &quotGun control.&quotCrimeand Public Policy(2011): 257-292.

Devi,Sharmila. &quotResearchers call for reform of US gun controlpolicies.&quot TheLancet380.9853 (2012): 1545.

Doeden,Matt. Gun control preventing violenceor crushing constitutional rights.Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.

Lott,John R. Moreguns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws.University of Chicago Press, 2013.

North,Michael J. &quotGun control in Great Britain after the Dunblaneshootings.&quot ReducingGun Violence in America. Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis,Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MA(2013): 185-93.