Paper Example on Effects of Gun Laws on the Criminal Justice System

Published: 2023-05-01
Paper Example on Effects of Gun Laws on the Criminal Justice System
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Gun control Gun violence Criminal justice Social issue
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1463 words
13 min read

Over the past decades, public opinions and government officials have been handling the occurrence of public shootings. The congressional research service in the United States estimated that more than 78 public mass shooting was experienced between 1983 and 2012 (Gabor 56). As a result of the violent incidents, about 480 injured persons and 540 casualties were reported. Over time, there is no indication of mass shootings experienced within the country. Over the years, the incidents have accelerated, displaying a sharp positive trend after every ten years since the millennium (Carter 52). Although there is still overwhelming and gruesome impacts, mass shootings have sparked various debates on new national law to be implemented to curb these heinous acts.

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In the early 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States enacted two national firearms into effect. From that time, only a handful of gun laws have been signed at the U.S. federal level (Gabor 66). However, at the national stage, people can still experience different challenges. Gun laws continue to spark various challenges not only in the United but in other nations across the globe. The demand for better gun laws is needed to reduce cases such as mass shootings, homicides, accidents, terrorists, and suicides (Carter 62). Even the political parties have remained silent in solving these issues until the 2002 midterm election.

In the United States, the gun policy lies at local and state levels. Most interestingly, in California, a tax on firearm ammunition was proposed. However, the courts and legislators have a battle about gun carrying, which was orchestrated by states such as Utah, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, and Alaska (McDowall et al. 537). In Boston, law enforcement is disrupting the running of illegal guns. In New York City, police offer $ 100 to people who turn in a handgun voluntarily.

The clash in gun laws opinions has led to the emergence of divergent policy approaches in various jurisdictions and the criminal justice system. In the past years, Chicago and Washington, D.C. banned handguns from responding to crime problems in their cities. Likewise, Georgia signed an ordinance that stated that every home should have at least a gun. In the 1990s, the New York City Police Department prioritized keeping guns away from the street. In essence, most of the states by that time permitted almost all adults to have a concealed handgun legal at public forums.

One of the challenges of having these guns is the differing beliefs that are reflected in individuals' private behaviors. Research suggests that approximately 36% of American households possess a gun (Morral 65). Some of households are uncomfortable with handguns and do not see the need of having the gun. The household that keeps the gun has the belief that they can use the firearm as a means of self-protection. Women perceive owning a gun as a hazardous gadget.

The difference in opinion over the firearm law is orchestrated partly based on inadequate sound evidence that may be cut via conflicting assertions. If the quality of the evidence were to be improved in reducing any kind of gun violence, then there is a need for scholars to focus on the relevant issues keenly.

Guns and Violence

If the United States is compared with developed nations, the figures display that the country is unique because of the high rates of murder and gun ownership. Imperatively, the larger figure of gun ownership does not contribute hugely to the overall crime rates. In other words, gun use do not steer any lethal violence (Morral 59). More importantly, ownership of a gun has a unique ability to terrorize the general public. The possession of guns has some recreational benefits, especially when used virtuously in forestalling and fending off criminal attacks.

Gun ownership

Research supports that about 200 million guns in private circulation are enough for every American adult to possess. However, only a quarter of the estimated adults have a gun, which is greatly dominated by men. People who have their own guns have many where three-quarters of the firearms are possessed by adults who have at least four guns totaling 10 percent.

About 65 million of the population have handguns, which are preferred over long guns to use for defense against any crime. About a third of the new gun in 1970 were pistols or revolvers, which are handguns. The figure increased in the early 1990s, which later declined to 40 percent. Although there was an increase in the long-term relative importance of handgun sales, only about 20 percent of gun owners had handguns (Morral 59). However, 44 percent still had long guns and pistols portraying the fact that the majority who had guns for self-protection were target shooters and hunters. At most, half of the gun-owning individuals argue that their primary motivation for owning these guns is for self-protection against any crime.

Based on other factors such as sport shooting and hunting, gun ownership is mainly conducted in small towns and rural areas (Gabor 65). The people who are mostly targeted are middle-income households. The attributes associated with these action entails relatively low participation in criminal violence (Gabor 66). Arguably, most of the guns are owned by people who can hardly misuse them. However, the cases of the people who are arrested for gun homicides are unlikely to be gun owners but instead are people with previous criminal records.

Gun Use

In 1999, about 28, 874 Americans died of gunfire, which corresponded to a mortality rate of 10.6 death per 100,000 heads. Ever since, the figure has substantially decreased in people's experiences, accidents, suicide, and homicide (McDowall et al. 537). In the last 50 years, America has experienced a secular decline in the number of intentional violence and death from injuries. In most instances, people are afraid to walk in corners because of gun violence. The mass shooting may lead to threats to public institutions, loss of loved ones, and private citizens (Lott 32). However, the gun can be used to commit suicide as compared to other public risks. Research also supports that the number of fatal gun accidents is exceedingly greater as compared to suicides and homicide (Lott 33). Although every person is affected by the gun violence cost, the victims are not part of the population. Having an effective gun law system will be of great benefit to the gun-owning individual and criminal justice systems by ensuring that firearms are used effectively in protecting human lives.


The unique feature that makes guns valuable in curbing criminal activities may prove to be useful in personal defense. However, the debate has sparked and has remained unclear on how people tend to use a gun for self-defense. Regardless of the number of firearms used for defensive purposes, the threat is always fueled by countering an armed individual. In most cases, it may lead to a deterrent effect on the criminal's behaviors. Research also supports that criminals are more sensitive to any can of punishment imposed to them (Gabor 66). Thus, the armed victim threat' may also affect the decision of the criminals. A survey conducted in prisons in the United States revealed that about 40% of prisoners committed a crime more than once (Morral 59. The idea was because of the fear that the victim may own a gun. In reality, possession of a gun may be ill or good. Therefore, in the United States, the ultimate goal of the gun policy was to reduce gun flows to the highest-risk groups to preserve access for people. However, the preservation done in the current system remains a topic for debate.

Policy response

Federal laws allow an individual to access as many types of firearms. Although the law is permissive, there are delineated exceptions. In essence, specific categories of people are deterred from possessing guns whereas other guns are tightly regulated and banned. Notably, federal law has created licensing systems that must be acquired by all gun dealers (Morral 59). The licensing system aims to regulate every record-keeping and transaction conducted by drug dealers. Penalties are charged to individuals for owning more guns as recommended at home.


In conclusion, gun laws pose various effects on criminal justice systems, such as handling cases of mass shootings, accidents, terrorism, suicide, and homicides. The clash in gun laws opinions has led to the emergence of divergent policy approaches in various jurisdictions and the criminal justice system. In the past years, Chicago and Washington, D.C. banned handguns from responding to crime problems in their cities.

Works Cited

Carter, G. L. Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. ABC-CLIO, 2012.

Gabor, T. Confronting Gun Violence in America. Springer, 2016.

Lott, J. R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

McDowall, D., et al. "A Comparative Study of the Preventive Effects of Mandatory Sentencing Laws for Gun Crimes*." Quantitative Methods in Criminology, 2017, pp. 521-537, doi:10.4324/9781315089256-21.

Morral, A. R. Scientific Evidence on the Effects of State Gun Laws. 2019.

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