Gun Control: A Policy on the Need to Institute Mandatory Civilian Gun Registration
The law in the United States does not explicitly require records of acquisition, possession and transfer of privately firearms be made in an official register. In case of a firearm related crime the law enforcement agents have to rely on tracing and tracking elements of the gun. Any changes in the mental stability of the firearm owner may go unnoticed until an unfortunate event occurs involving the gun in their possession.
There has been much debate about gun control versus gun rights whereby the arguments seem to favor the two sides depending on the prevailing circumstance. It has been noted that whenever there is a shooting that invokes the interest of the public, gun control policies gain much traction but after the interest dies down and people seem to forget at this point gun rights take center stage (PewResearchCenter, 2012). This can be exemplified by failure in the Senate to vote in the new gun control policy (Manchin-Toomey bill) that required expanded background checks in private gun sales and sales at gun shows (PewResearchCenter, 2013). After the shooting at a school in Newton, most people favored gun control than gun rights with those in support of controls accounting for 49% while those in support of rights accounting for 42% of those interviewed in a Pew research. A few months later the trend regressed back to an evenly divided opinion between gun control and gun rights similar to what has been experienced after the shootings in Columbine High School and the Colorado theater shootings among others (PewResearchCenter, 2012).
The right to bear arms is entrenched in the constitution and although there has been divided interpretation to what it entails, what remains clear is its purpose. The purpose of allowing citizens to bear arms is to ensure that they are able to protect themselves when exposed to intense danger especially, if it is emanating from an oppressive or tyrannical government. This ensures they remain free and have the ability to protect their freedom and basic rights as entrenched in the constitution from internal or external aggression.
Ideally, guns should be used for protection while also allowing secondary use in sports, hunting and even as collectables whether under possession of law enforcement agents or private civilians. However the reality is different, the citizens and legal institutions cannot ignore the fact that a gun can and has been used historically to perpetrate some of the worst crimes against mankind. Current legislations are not robust enough to guarantee that an individual who owns a gun remains mentally and emotionally stable especially after purchase of the gun. The gun owner may develop some psychological issues such as depression and the real impact of their situation may only be felt after they have committed suicide or homicide. The number of gun related suicides have been increasing over the years and so have gun related homicides (Gunpolicy, n.d.). Some of these events are avoidable if records of ownership are maintained and the stability of the owner can be confirmed through medical records to ensure guns don’t fall or remain in the wrong hands.
Gun related suicides and homicides have been on the rise because of insufficient gun registration records
Policy Development and Implementation Process
Before policies are enacted they go through a variety of processes and given that policies affect the public it is important to consult with the general public and their representatives in Congress. In a democracy the voice of the people is heard by voting on the policy before executive confirmation and actual implementation.
The policy proposed aims at setting up structures and systems that would involve gun traders in registering the firearm purchasers at point of sale through an online government system. The following steps may be followed when instituting the policy on gun controls as proposed.
Policy conceptualization-this involves the background research into the problem and understanding the need for policy to provide solution to the problem.
Policy analysis-during this stage alternative solutions are developed that are most suitable in addressing the prevailing problem or issue. This can be done through conducting case studies, surveys or statistical research.
Legislation- At this stage a bill may be introduced in Congress. A vote will then be conducted and if successful the bill becomes law with an organic statute under the responsibility of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) who will pursue the set goals.
Regulatory instruments-during this stage ATF may propose the most suitable solution by publishing it in the Federal Register.
Public notice and comment- during this stage the public gets an opportunity to comment on the proposed published regulation. The public can submit written comments at this stage.
Final rule- the amended proposed regulation is again published in the Federal Register. If no further action is taken by the public it is codified into the Code of Federal Regulations.
Effective date- At this stage the proposed regulation is implemented after the parties involved come into compliance.
Findings and Conclusions
The general public has been evenly divided on issues that revolve around gun control and gun rights with approximately half the population supporting gun control while the other half supporting gun rights (PewResearchCenter, 2012). This has made it difficult to institute reforms with regards to bearing arms. The opinions by the citizens only varies whenever there is a crisis such as school or mass shootings but these sentiments die down with time. Recent bills in the Senate that have proposed robust background checks of private purchases have failed due to criticism aimed at the laws, which people opposing state that implementation of such laws would erode their rights. However, apart from mass shootings in schools and other institutions general statistics point to a growing rate of gun related suicides, suicide attempts and homicides (Gunpolicy, n.d). Suicide and suicide attempts are a symptom of underlying mental or emotional instability. There is thus need to ascertain the psychological nature of those out to purchase firearms and those who already own them. Currently it is difficult to ascertain the psychological nature of the gun owner because most records are unavailable and in case they develops any psychological issues not much can be done in terms of repossessing the firearm since law enforcement agents may not know until the individual commits suicide or homicide.
GunPolicy. (n.d.). United States- Gun facts, figures and the law. Retrieved from http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states
Gun Policy Organization presents international research on firearm injury, prevention and policy. It further gives facts about countries in this case the United States the information published and used in this research paper include; gun numbers among civilians, death and injury due to guns and gun regulations in the United States. The research articles offer in depth information pertaining to the stated topics. Although research methods are not discussed the data is well presented.
PewResearchCenter. (2012). Public Attitudes toward gun control. Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/2012/12/14/public-attitudes-toward-gun-control/
In this research article presented by Pew Research Center, the institutions attempts to address the evenly divided opinion between gun control and gun rights. It establishes that opinions about gun control are highly divided depending on circumstances. Trends establish that supporters of gun control increase whenever the research is conducted just after mass shootings as seen after the Aurora movie theater shooting where supporters of gun control were 47% versus 46% supported gun rights.
PewResearchCenter. (2013). Broad support for renewed background checks bill, skepticism about its chances. Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/2013/05/23/broad-support-for renewed-background-checks-bill-skepticism-about-its-chances/
In this research article presented by Pew Research Center, the institutions attempts to ascertain whether the new bill (Manchin-Toomey) about expanding background checks is favored among the majority of the American population.
The research article took an in depth look at the NRA’s involvement and politics revolving around gun ownership. The article is well researched with assumptions clearly stated.
PewResearchCenter. (2013). Why own a gun? Protection is now top reason. Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/why-own-a-gun-protection-is-now-top-reason/
In this research article presented by Pew Research Center, the institutions attempts to ascertain the major reasons behind gun ownership. It establishes that most people believe that gun ownership provide a sense of security and enjoyment
The research article took an in depth analysis at the information presented by gun owners and those who don’t own firearms. The article is well researched with assumptions clearly stated.
PewResearchCenter. (2014). Growing public support for gun rights. Retrieved from http://www.people-press.org/2014/12/10/growing-public-support-for-gun-rights/
In this research article presented by Pew Research Center, the institutions attempts to address the evenly divided opinion between gun control and gun rights. It establishes that in 2014 there were more proponents of gun rights versus those supporting gun control in spite recent mass shootings.
The research article took an in depth analysis by gathering data about gun rights among different races, genders and political affiliations. The article is well researched with assumptions clearly stated.