A Touchy Subject In These United States

It’s time for another policy post, and, as I am still working on the education story, I will post a policy review which was written for a class I took last year. I could write a little bit more of an intro, but considering the nature of the review, everything will be discussed within it. Hopefully you enjoy the read, and don’t take it badly because it is indeed a touchy subject for many people.

Gun Violence in America


In 1776, the original thirteen colonies signed a document agreeing to a new form of government, and agreeing to ten amendments as a part of this Constitution. The second amendment of the Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”1 At the time, the nation was new, and fear of a government oppressing its citizenry was rampant considering the country from which the colonist declared independence. Also at the time, weaponry had not advanced to the point it is today. It would be as difficult then to consider what advancements would be made in Arms as it would be today to consider what the next 50 years of advancement might bring.

The United States of America has the idea of protecting oneself at its core, whether that be protecting against a government that wishes to harm its citizens, or an individual protecting themselves against other individuals who may wish to do harm. As it is a written right within the Constitution, it is then a touchy topic to discuss the problem with guns in America. However, with recent events it has been a major topic of conversation and one that must be addressed. The question becomes: what can be done to curb the violence that is much greater than it is in other countries?

Literature Review

There is no denying that since the dawn of humankind, we have sought better and better tools for killing, whether that be for hunting food, defending territory, or seeking to claim new territory. Around 850 A.D., the Chinese made a breakthrough while searching for a way to extend life.2 It is ironic, then, that in searching for eternal life, they discovered gunpowder which would change the course of human history forever. It is amazing to think, when looking back on this discovery, how China did not conquer the globe, even when understanding that this discovery remained solely in Chinese hands until it was passed to Europeans and Middle Easterners during the 13th century.3

As technology developed around gunpowder, thus the age of the gun began, placing one of the most effective killing machines ever invented into the hands of individuals who barely needed to be trained to operate one. While it still takes training and practice to be able to wield a gun more effectively, the basic premise of “point and shoot” holds true. In the days of the American Revolution, there was an afforded respect for the weapon and its capacity to wreak havoc. Fathers taught their sons how to use a gun to hunt their meals; infantrymen were taught how to fight with the guns; and, guns were larger and required a reload time, but also care as a poorly loaded gun could just as easily blow up on the person brandishing the weapon. Compared to today, when guns are easily hidden, require little skill in use, have virtually no reload time, and have been used not necessarily to protect, or fight against a tyrannical government, but instead to inflict harm on others, what can be done?

A common statistic quoted is that more Americans have been killed by guns domestically since 1968 than Americans killed in all U.S. wars. Recently, a fact checking group put that statistic to the test. When accounting for all forms of gun death, “There have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968 compared to 1,396,733 cumulative war deaths since the American Revolution.”4 For the purpose of the check, the statistic added all deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and also updated numbers on deaths during the Civil War. The review of this statistic is also quick to point out that suicides by gun are by far the majority of gun-related deaths.

This doesn’t discount the number of homicides in America which are attributed to guns. According to the U.S. Department of Justice report discussing the homicide trends from 1980-2008, the majority of homicides were perpetrated by those wielding handguns. To add to this, the majority of homicides committed by teens and young adults were by guns, moreso than any other age group. However, like with all homicides, while there was a sharp increase in gun homicides committed by teens and young adults in the 1980s, this dropped off after the mid 1990s. The report also examines the kinds of crimes the gun-related deaths are associated with and where the majority occur. Gun involvement in gang related homicides increased from 1980 (74%) to 2008 (92%). Likewise, gun involvement in deaths resulting from commission of felonies increased in the same time period, from 59% to 74%. The only type of homicide involving guns that remained stable was when an argument was involved. However, of all arguments ending in homicide, 60% involve guns.5

More recently, within the past 20 years, and with increasing regularity, mass shootings and toddler deaths are making the news. Mass shootings have increased since Columbine in 1996 to include mass shootings at Virginia Tech; Newtown, Connecticut; and Orlando, Florida. In each of these events, there are commonalities to include mental health issues and guns obtained through loopholes or other legal means. When it comes to death or injury caused by toddlers getting a hold of a gun, researchers found that minors died from accidental shootings during the two and a half years of the study (2014-2016) every other day, with many other minors and adults being injured through accidental shootings.6

With the huge numbers of homicides attributed to guns, the more common occurrence of mass shootings, and the more common occurrence of accidental deaths relating to guns, what can be done to stem the tide? It would seem that, by now, more should have been done to decrease these numbers. Statistics show several countries like Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom, where gun control laws are much more strict, have some of the lowest gun related deaths to include homicides and suicides. In Japan, where firearms are forbidden, the rate is so low for both gun related homicides and suicides that it is essentially zero per 100,000. The United Kingdom, another country where firearms are strictly controlled has a rate of gun homicides essentially equal to zero per 100,000 and a suicide rate to guns at 0.2 per 100,000 people.7 However, these are examples in countries with major differences in culture compared to America, and even recent events have been met with major competition to any changes to curb this trend.

Policy Alternatives Presented

Studying gun violence

When it comes to stopping or, at least, lowering the amount of gun-related deaths in America, the first stop has to be research on gun violence. Almost every other health problem in America, and with the number of deaths related to guns, it is a health problem, are researched as thoroughly as possible to discover causes and treatments or possible cures. “Our understanding of the consequences of gun violence is essentially limited to statistics on firearms deaths and injuries.”8 However, though many researchers have thought about doing so, there has been a fear of doing so since a 1996 bill passed by Congress put a moratorium on gun-control research largely due to the NRA advocating for it. The bill stated that Congress would not fund research which was deemed tantamount to promoting gun control and advocating against the second amendment.

However, recently President Obama lifted the ban on research in response to another mass shooting, yet the funding remains to be seen as it must pass in Congress to be able to fund the research separately from funds already provided health research. The lift of the ban did let proposals for research and discussions of research begin. “The research program envisioned by the committee, which is designed to produce impacts in 3-5 years, focuses on: the characteristics of firearm violence, risk and protective factors, interventions and strategies, gun safety technology, and the influence of video games and other media.”9 The suggestions for research is the beginning step to studying what causes gun violence and ways to decrease it. This can assist much in the way the study of motor vehicle deaths led to an increase in motor vehicle safety.

Already there are a few studies which are based in analysis of relevant data, which can only show correlation, but yields promise for what can be achieved by research. One analysis showed that homicides considered “intimate partner homicides” decreased by 10% after a ban on ownership of guns by those under a restraining order, and conversely a rise by 25% in gun related homicides in another jurisdiction when lifting a requirement for a permit in the purchase of guns.10 It could also be prudent to review how other countries handle their gun control issues as a part of the research.

Closing loopholes

Gun control loopholes are discussed after mass shootings particularly when it is learned that the perpetrator of the shooting obtained their weapon due to these loopholes. The biggest one under consideration is the “gun show” loophole which allows someone to purchase a firearm at a gun show, of which there are many in various states, without the need for a background check or permit. Several states that have the need for a permit, background check, or other various checks in place to make sure only the responsible can own guns fall victim to this loophole because bans or the laws don’t span across all states. For instance, a person may require a permit in Virginia to purchase a firearm, and West Virginia gun shops would have to abide by this rule. However, West Virginia also has many gun shows which allow the purchase of a firearm but don’t have to follow the other rules. This allows for the person who wouldn’t otherwise be able to get a gun in Virginia to obtain one in West Virginia without anyone knowing until that weapon is used in commission of a crime. While only an example, this happens often enough that people support the closing of this loophole.

The biggest opposition to closing the loophole is that people believe that criminals don’t worry about gun control laws anyway. However, when there are loopholes to the laws, the criminal is not “breaking the law” to obtain a weapon, they are only breaking the law in owning a weapon which no one knows they have. “Gun shows are a leading source of guns used in criminal violence in Northern California, the United States, Mexico, and Canada.”11

Other loopholes that exist include a background check loophole that allows for people with mental health issues and crimes which should have not allowed them to pass a background check to obtain guns for their mass shootings. The loophole is primarily administrative in that for it to work properly, information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has to be up-to-date. States are not required to update information into this system and thus some states are lackadaisical in doing so.12 The other portion of the background check system relies on differences in mental health systems. For instance, involuntary admission criteria into a mental health facility is not the same in every state and so reporting this can be different and difficult. If it were possible to close all these loopholes, it could be possible that gun violence would decrease by a significant portion.

Banning guns

When discussing the ban of guns, it is hard to bypass the Constitution, and for the sake of argument, only examination of other nations which have strict gun control laws can lead to what could happen if America were to do so. As discussed earlier, many other countries have lower rates of gun related homicides, gun related suicides, and also significantly lower rates of mass shootings. In Germany, you must be 25 or older and pass a psychiatric evaluation; in Italy and France, you must pass multiple background checks and file for reason to possess the firearm; and in the United Kingdom and Japan, handguns are illegal for regular citizens.13

Of note, Australia had a mass shooting in 1996 which, until recently, had been the worst mass shooting in the world. In response, the Australian government passed a law banning guns and pressuring citizens into the destruction of said weapons. In the 20 years since, there has not been another mass shooting, the homicide rate fell to 1.0 per 100,000, and other crime rates have fallen dramatically.14 It must be noted, however, that Australian culture faced a major shift afterwards, and guns are all but gone within the country. Without any access to guns, it would be extremely difficult for any gun related crimes to happen, which is the whole point of a ban. However, Australia can do something America can not do, which is almost completely control its border. Guns have virtually no way to be smuggled into the country, and when they are, as comedian Jim Jeffries suggests, they cost a huge amount of money.

Ammunition control

Another possibility to curb gun related violent crime which doesn’t necessarily breach the second Amendment is controlling ammunition. There was a federal Gun Control Act of 1968 which sought to do exactly this. It required licensure of all ammunition manufacturers and dealers, logs of all sales to be kept, prohibited mail order (interstate sales), and limited sales of ammunition to individuals older than 18 for certain ammunition and 21 for other ammunition.15 It is difficult to determine how effective this legislation limited gun violence.

In 1986, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act was passed by Congress which repealed almost all of the previous Act’s prohibitions. No law has passed bringing any ammunition control under the stricter guidelines since, though ammunition is under similar regulation to guns with regards to age, criminal history, mental health status, lack of citizenship, and dishonorable discharge from the military.16 It may be interesting to note that a major spike in gun violence, according to previously stated data, occurred in the mid-80s to mid-90s, covering the initial period following the relaxation of this ammunition control.

While federal laws have been difficult to pass regarding any form of gun control, California has begun passing laws aimed at ammunition control. California passed a bill which made 10 bullets the maximum capacity of any firearm, thus limiting the damage that could be done by high capacity magazines. Several cities in California, to include Los Angeles, also recently passed a requirement for background checks to be performed on all purchases of ammunition, and requiring a database of individuals prohibited from buying ammunition which must be continuously updated. Also, Los Angeles is seeking to pass licensure requirements on ammunition retailers.17 These could just be the beginning steps to something more widespread, as California tends to be the first to adopt progressive measures.

Evaluation Criteria

When examining policies, there are certain criteria which must be weighed and measured against each policy alternative. As the policies discussed involve gun control on a federal level, but have not necessarily been used before, it is difficult to assess effectiveness until after implementation. Effectiveness of the policy also relies heavily on the completeness of adherence to the policy once enacted. However, almost all other criteria given in Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives by Michael Kraft and Scott Furlong can be utilized in assessment. The remaining criteria include cost, equity, liberty/freedom, political feasibility, social acceptability, administrative feasibility, and technical feasibility.


Cost is essentially what it sounds like: the total cost of enacting the policy in terms of monetary value. This is probably one of the most difficult to assess due to inability to know what the final cost of a project could be. There is an idea on how much a project may cost based on best estimates. However, projects can end up going over this idea, or come in under this estimate. When talking about policy initiatives, this involves all aspects of the policy to include implementation, lobbying for the policy to be passed in Congress, and can also include unforeseen costs such as an increase in health insurance costs by requiring a price fix on a medication.


Equity is whether the policy either affects everyone equally, or that the burden of the policy is felt by those affected by it and no one else. As an example, a sales tax could be equitable because everyone must pay it, but is only fully equitable if the money collected from that tax is used on something that everyone can benefit from. A tax on gas is shared by everyone who drives a car, or requires gas for other reasons, and when that tax goes toward maintaining roads or building new ones, that tax is equitable. Conversely, a luxury tax is only felt by the rich, and when that tax goes toward welfare programs, it would not be considered equitable.


The liberty/freedom consideration for policy provides an evaluation on how much a policy affects privacy and individual rights. This evaluation could be on whether the policy restricts these rights, or if it grants more rights to individuals. The Amendment granting women the right to vote extended the rights already offered by the Constitution to include women as well as men. With regards to anything affecting gun control, this criteria is probably the foremost consideration within the United States as the right to keep and bear arms is considered one of the greatest rights citizens have.

Political Feasibility

When discussing a policy, the effect fighting for or against the policy may have on the politician is political feasibility. When discussing this criteria, the main concern for the politician is “Could I get re-elected if I vote for/against this policy?” If a policy is liked by the constituency, the politician is more likely to consider a vote to pass the policy. If the policy is disliked, the politician would more than likely vote against the policy. This can cause some problems when what may be a good policy is disliked by the population. Another cause for concern with regards to being re-elected is that a powerful lobby group may put political pressure on an elected official even when the population wishes a certain way for a policy.

Social Acceptability

The criteria of social acceptability ties in the the previous criteria as mentioned. This criteria is simply how much the population may like or dislike a public policy. For instance, additional taxes are generally disliked by individuals, businesses, and anyone else who might have to pay them. Certain policies have a tendency to split the population, such as banning abortions, where there are many vocal groups of citizens for both sides. This criteria is often taken into consideration where political feasibility is concerned, but it can be considered separately on issues where a policy may not change whether or not the official gets re-elected.

Administrative Feasibility

Administrative feasibility means the level at which the department or agency assigned to carry out the policy is able to do so. A policy would be deemed feasible if the agency can incorporate it into costs, while also having the manpower able to meet the daunting task of implementing the policy. An additional tax could be considered administratively feasible as the department assigned would be the treasury which already administers the taxes. A policy increasing the minimum gas mileage on vehicles would be administratively feasible because the system for doing so is already in place and would come at a minimum cost. When a policy is being planned, part of the planning has to be which department will be tasked with putting it into play and enforcing it. Will these tasks be handled by the same agency or different agencies? A policy agenda aimed at keeping Americans safe after 9/11 was responsible for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Even then, it took some time for the policies to begin working as intended due to unsure roles other departments had such as where Federal Emergency Management Agency belonged and what they were tasked with doing as an agency.

Technical Feasibility

Technical feasibility has everything to do with having the technology available to complete the policy. The questions raised would be along the lines of whether the technology is available to complete the policy and whether the technology is reliable enough to do so. When setting a standard for emissions from vehicles, the technology had to not only be available or made to lower emissions, but it also had to be ready for enforcement. The equipment for testing emissions had to test for what they wanted to test, and also be reliable enough that it was testing accurately and testing what they wanted to test. If the technology was not available to test carbon emissions, or the equipment varied from test to test, there could be no implementation of standards set on emissions. To do so would violate one or more of the other evaluation criteria for policy.

Policy Analysis

Studying gun violence

When considering the study of gun violence, the majority of systems are already in place. The concern of cost is only in as much money may need to be spent on research. Considering much money is already given to research of other health concerns, it is likely that costs for this research would be similar. Typically research of this kind keeps costs low overall, and it would be implementation of any policy the research suggests that might have the higher costs financially. Due to the nature of research, there is no freedom being challenged in studying the effects and causes of gun violence. Again, the only challenge may come from suggestions provided by the research.

Considering that it is simply research, there is little possibility that politicians would face problems from the people in general. The biggest problem would be from any powerful gun lobbies which would view research of this kind as a step toward banning guns or promoting policy that would violate the second amendment. As mentioned before, this already led to the act in 1996 which banned Congress from providing money to research on gun violence. However, there is already a major call from the population to do something about gun violence and that starts with research.

For administrative feasibility and technical feasibility, there is already a system in place for the study of health concerns, and many colleges also do research. As such, it would not be a stretch for these universities and the Center for Disease Control, which already performs research on other health issues, to be the likely agencies to readily conduct such research. There are already reports on areas which need to be researched mentioned earlier, and a breakdown of what questions should be asked within each area of research. The technical feasibility is on whether we have the right tools to conduct research on gun violence. As with any other form of research, if the tools aren’t accurate enough, the right tools will be developed to do so.

Closing loopholes

The two biggest concerns for cost of closing loopholes are in bringing the databases up to par, and how much money is going to be lost from sales by those who were engaged in using those loopholes. Money lost from sales that exploit loopholes shouldn’t be of concern when weighed against the potential loss of life for not closing those loopholes. That leaves the cost in keeping databases maintained which is in manpower for both collection of data and oversight of the database, as well as oversight to make sure the system is working as it should.

Considering the loopholes allow for individuals who would otherwise not be allowed to have guns, there should be little change to the area of liberty or freedom. It is widely accepted that criminals, individuals with mental health issues, and others who could not be trusted with responsible use of a gun should not be allowed to own one and laws are in place to keep them from doing so already.

As with research, there has already been a major call from the population to shut the loopholes. This makes this both politically feasible and socially acceptable. The only cause for concern politically is the gun lobby. However, recently there has been acceptance by the gun lobby to close these loopholes as well. Also, the systems are already in place to work with these loopholes and close them. The central background check database is there, and when updated regularly and reported to by every state, can keep guns out of the hands of those who are more likely to do harm with them. For technical feasibility, there is nothing additional to consider as the database already exists, and systems are already in place, they just need to be used.

Banning guns

A complete ban on guns, especially considering how many guns are available and owned, would be extremely costly. How much the ban would cost monetarily depends on whether the ban is just on new guns, or also a complete eradication of guns already owned and available for purchase. This also does not account for the amount of money already spent on weapons and how profitable it is for companies and individuals who sell and make weapons and ammunition. Data suggests that weapon and ammunition sales account for 287,000 jobs and almost 50 billion dollars of sales and 6 billion dollars in taxes.18

Concerning personal liberty and freedom, a ban of guns clearly violates the second amendment, and plans to collect and destroy guns could violate other amendments concerning illegal search and seizure and rights to privacy afforded by other amendments of the Constitution. A federal ban on guns would also violate states’ rights. Due to this, a ban on guns would have massive political lashback from gun lobbies and also from a huge portion of the population. There would, more than likely, be massive amounts of revolt and potentially riots as the people feel their personal freedoms being violated, and also a good chance that states would secede the union again, leading to another civil war.

With regards to administrative feasibility, it would have to be decided which department(s) or agencies would have to be involved. This would include any monitoring on the manufacture and sale of weapons once banned, and also the collection and destruction of guns “in the wild”. This would be no small undertaking, and would likely stretch across multiple agencies, and would have to include local forces such as local police stations and national guard troops in various states. As for technical feasibility, the technology already exists to destroy the guns once collected, and there are databases, to an extent, which house the registry of guns in law-abiding citizens hands. A need to develop a way to track unlicensed and unregistered weapons would need to be developed.

Ammunition control

As with a complete ban on guns, a determination would need to be made whether this would only be held to new ammunition, or whether ammunition already made, sold, and in circulation would be included. The cost would vary based on this information with an increase in cost to any need to collect and destroy excessive ammunition. While these costs wouldn’t be as much as the cost to destroy all guns, they would be significant. Again, the cost also has to contain the idea of how much would be lost in sales of ammunition when it is limited how much ammo can be owned.

While there are some who might argue that ammunition control is a violation of one’s ability to protect themselves, there are others who would view it more clearly. As long as you are able to keep the gun, and have an amount of ammunition that allows for protection, safety, and continues to allow those who want to hunt to do so, there is no violation of constitutional rights. There has also been call to, at least control the amount of ammo guns can fire before needing to reload. This is one form of ammunition control that would not be costly and could save lives. There are many forms of ammunition control which would be seen as an attempt to do something by citizens and wouldn’t provide a large amount of political problems for politicians wishing for re-election. The only possible issue would be with the gun lobby which aided in lifting similar controls in 1986.

There are already databases in place for registry and implementation of ammunition control would not be a stretch for administrative duties. A few agencies of the United States government already handle such matters for banned assault rifles and armor-piercing ammunition, and several states also have agencies assigned to these matters. The biggest challenge technologically is the ability to register sales of ammunition, and potentially add registration on a per-bullet basis, if necessary. The technology to destroy ammunition safely already exists.

Table (Matrix)


Researching Gun Violence

Closing gun control loopholes

Complete ban on guns

Ammunition control


Grants provided for research.

Licensure, fix background system

Economic hit, gun collect/destruct

Administrative costs, collection


No hit to freedom directly

Only those who shouldn’t have

Violation of 2nd Amendment

Little effect on liberty/freedom

Political Feasibility

Potential hit from gun lobby

Potential hit from gun lobby

Major hit from citizens/lobbies

Potential hit from gun lobby

Social Acceptable

Major call for research

Major call for closing loopholes

Citizenship against completely

California set precedent

Admin Feasibility

Systems already in place

Systems already in place

Major concern on who would admin

Systems already in place

Tech Feasibility

Research to decide this

Nothing to consider

Destruction and collection

Destruction and registration

After breaking down each criteria and policy, it becomes very easy to see which policy should not be chosen. The ban on guns has the biggest hit to costs, is clearly a violation of freedoms, and would have the biggest hit to any political aspirations. While a ban may work in some other countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, and there were some issues when the ban started in Australia which have ceased in the years since, the United States have guns deep in the roots of the nation. It is no wonder, then, that a ban would have such a huge impact on our economy and would be difficult to even implement with many fights rising from doing so, beyond those fights that have already risen from mere contemplation of doing so.

Two policies show the most promise for the least cost, and those would be research, and closing loopholes. Both of these policy initiatives already garner public support, and while there is some trouble from the gun lobby, it may be worth the hit politicians would take from the gun lobby as the gain from the citizenship could offset that. This would be especially since the public in general already feels like the government is doing nothing about something they generally say needs attention. Any push for research or closing loopholes by politicians would be seen by the public as, at least, attempting to do something. For instance, the news reported several months ago following the mass shooting in Orlando that several Democrats staged a sit-in in attempt to at least vote on a bill they felt could affect change. The point isn’t whether or not it would, the point is that the Republican majority would not even vote on the bill. The sit-in, even if just as a stunt, showed the people that these politicians want to do something to address gun control.

These two policies also wouldn’t necessarily threaten any freedoms granted by the Constitution, either. One simply addresses finding out where the problems lie and how they can be addressed, making possession of guns safer for everyone. The other is closing loopholes to keep guns from individuals who most people agree shouldn’t have them already. If it was simply about freedom to keep and bear Arms, then there would be a fight to allow convicted criminals and those with mental health issues to have guns as well. The line for this has already been drawn and extending that line to include places where it wasn’t before is no more a violation of rights than the original laws drawing that line.

It is clear, as well, that the systems allowing for research, and those allowing for the registration and licensure of those who sell guns, who they are sold to, and the database for those who are not allowed to buy guns, are already in place. They need to be more accurately kept, and more consistently kept. Also, they must have an agreement across the board as to the criteria that puts a person on the list to not be able to purchase a gun. That being said, the agencies which take care of this already would be able to keep up with the work to make it better. The places which already do research in health threats could add to their research, though they would need the funding. These two policies clearly seem to be the best choices of those presented. This does not discount the idea of ammunition control, which already has some ground in certain states. It can be taken into consideration, as there are already places where they are doing this, that data be collected for research, and this be examined further once that data is collected.


America faces an existential crisis. There is fear of terrorism, fear of being harmed by criminals, and fear of the government. America has a history fighting against forces which would shackle our freedoms and ‘inalienable rights’ and a major part of that history is holding true to the Bill of Rights signed by our forefathers which states that we have the right to defend ourselves. Recent events have brought to national attention the need to protect the innocent from those who wish to do harm, and have found a way to inflict that harm to the most amount of people possible. There is great call from the citizens of America to keep these mass shootings from happening, but little movement by the federal government to do so. However, these mass shootings are not the only problem when it comes to gun violence. As examined, gun homicides and gun suicides as well as accidental shootings which result in the deaths of the young are greater in America than they are in other countries with, perhaps, stricter or better administered gun control laws.

It has also been shown that where the federal government has done nothing, some states and cities are taking matters into their own hands to attempt to quell the gun violence issue. However, in order for any laws to work fully, the issue must be taken care of across the board. The federal government must issue some form of change to address gun violence in America. After examination, the first and foremost recommendation would be to fund studies on gun violence which would help to understand the true problem so policies could be put into place with maximum impact for the least amount of freedom lost. Meanwhile, closing several loopholes would be a cheap addition to this initiative which could lower the amount of individuals being able to obtain guns which shouldn’t be allowed guns. Perhaps, then, the identity of America could hold true to the second amendment while protecting those in the crosshairs of people who seek to do harm.

2 Heather Whipps., “How Gunpowder Changed the World,” Published April 6, 2008: http://www.lifescience.com/7476-gunpowder-changed-world.html

3 Ibid.

4 Louis Jacobson. More Americans Killed by guns since 1968 than in all U.S. wars, columnist Nicholas Kristoff writes published August 27, 2015. http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/aug/27/nicholas-kristof/more-americans-killed-guns-1968-all-wars-says-colu/

5 Alexia Cooper and Erica Smith “Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008; Annual Trends 2009 and 2010” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2011.

6 Peter Holley, “‘Guns don’t kill people, toddlers do’: The shocking new gun control PSA focused on children,” The Washington Post. October 17, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/10/17/guns-dont-kill-people-toddlers-do-the-shocking-new-gun-control-psa-focused-on-children/?utm_term=.fd0d92e41d93

7 Robert Preidt. “How U.S. gun deaths compare to other countries” CBSNews: Healthday. Published February 3, 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-u-s-gun-deaths-compare-to-other-countries/

8 Sandro Galea. “Studying gun violence is the only way to stop it – but we don’t”. The Conversation. Published December 14, 2015. https://theconversation.com/studying-gun-violence-is-the-only-way-to-figure-out-how-to-stop-it-but-we-dont-52182

9 IOM (Institute of Medicine) and NRC (National Research Council). 2013. Priorities for research to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

11 UC Davis report exposes loopholes in gun-control laws. UC Davis Health System. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090923_gun_study/

12 Editorial Board.Close loopholes on existing gun background checks. The Boston Globe. Published August 7, 2015. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/08/07/fixing-gun-control-loopholes/TScTBU56NRmm9uUzmgSkvI/story.html

13 John Donahue. Ban guns, end shootings? How evidence stacks up around the world. CNN, Published August 27, 2015.

14 Ibid.

15 Federal Law on Ammunition Regulation. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/federal-law/classes-of-weapons-ammunition/ammunition-regulation/

16 Ibid.

17 Beth Schwartzapfel. Gun control is one thing, but what about bullets? The Marshall Project. Published January 7, 2016; Molly Reilly. Los Angeles takes a big stand on guns. Huffington Post. Published July 29, 2015.

18 Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report 2016. National Shooting Sports Foundation. http://nssf.org/impact/

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