Table of Contents
In the twenty first century, the subject of gun control has become a critical issue for the government of the United States of America. It has also turned into a highly debatable issue that divided all the participants into two groups, namely those who defend their right to keep arms and those who argue against the free circulation of guns. The representatives of the first group perceive guns as a source for a hobby in terms of collecting, hunting or participating in sports activities. In addition, they emphasize the significance of possessing a gun when it comes to self-defense issues. Meanwhile, there is a second group of people who have a considerably different opinion regarding the gun control issue. The reasons for such attitude can be the result of various cases connected with injuries or even deaths, whether the use of a gun was accidental or intentional. Thus, the representatives of the second group perceive guns as highly dangerous tools, possession and use of which need to be under the stringent control of the government (Eakins & Gatch, 2016).
In this regard, the public policy can be defined as a developed plan of consecutive actions that focus on solving of a certain issue and reaching desired goals. Whereas the criminal justice and public policy often intermingle, researchers seldom study both areas at once focusing on diverse peculiarities rather than essential intersections. However, different laws adopted by the government transform into the state policy regarding the subject. The public policy can be the result of appellate court decisions that influence the society (Porto, 2009). Therefore, the paper will document the overall process from the idea’s emergence and selection among various approaches towards the gun-related issue to the final implementation in the form of policy and its further evaluation. In addition, this research will outline and discuss the peculiarities of policy making process as it is crucial in terms of finding the most suitable and effective policy model that will be able to solve the gun control issue in the modern United States.
The Background of the Gun Control Issue
The issue of gun control is not a new one or characteristic of the United States. Different governments all over the world struggle with the problem on their national levels. There is no single or unified approach towards the topic as different countries choose distinct policies to regulate the gun control issue. According to Jacobs (2002), the possession of guns is increasing to a considerable degree in Europe. Local governments have a mild policy in this regard although the United Kingdom has rather strict gun control laws since their circulation in the black market has become critical. The United States follows the example and attempts to put the issue under control in a similar manner. However, a superficial approach should be avoided in this regard since a cross-cultural comparison reveals profound differences between both countries. Subsequently, it turns into a debatable issue as the “American culture is a gun culture” (Lott, 2010).
Since the beginning, the US government was distinct in promoting basic human rights and freedoms. The history itself revolves around the gun possession and its respective use. However, there is a notion that it is the people who should be blamed for using guns with vile intentions as they are responsible for the violence and crimes. Meanwhile, the attitude towards guns should be neutral (Franks, 2016). Nevertheless, gun control becomes one of the most essential aspects of the crime prevention.
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Policy Making Process
The crucial peculiarity in terms of the public policy and criminal justice is that both areas are inseparably linked although this connection rarely draws a considerable amount of attention. According to Marion and Oliver (2006), the primary focus of the public policy concerns such areas as economy, society and foreign relations while it often tends to omit the criminal justice. However, crime-related speculations have lately become the essential parts of politicians’ speeches and require a different approach that involves the evaluation of the overall efficiency of the public policy in this regard.
The reasons of crime occurrence are rarely the citizens’ interest while the preventive measures are of paramount significance for the society. Thus, the criminal justice policy making process involves various participants, namely government executives and various interest groups. The policy constituents are crucial as they possess a substantial power and influence (Marion & Oliver, 2006).
The task of the policy model is to provide a structure to the overall public policy making process that involves various participants (Ismaili, 2011). In terms of gun control, the most appropriate policy model is the issue network since it focuses on the groups of interests that oppose each other in their approach towards the issue. The composition of the network is unique and highly volatile; thus, there is a chance to attract more supporters for the bill to pass.
According to Krouse (2009), the efficacy and rationality of gun control have been argued in Congress for a substantial period. In addition, a number of these issue-related proposals have been introduced although just a small amount of those bills have resulted in the legislative actions. The reason for this is the opposition and constant arguing for and against the issue. Thus, in order to promote a strict gun control policy and succeed, it is essential to develop a potentially effective strategy and follow its stages precisely.
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Policy Making Steps
Previously, there have been attempts to influence the criminal justice public policy and make amendments that will regulate the possession of guns in a stricter manner. However, the results of the initiatives have not always been successful. President Obama has recently tried to introduce a new controlling approach, but the proposal did not receive a substantial support (Eakins & Gatch, 2016). With this experience in mind, it is crucial to attract a considerable amount of supporters that will help in overcoming the critical margin in the Senate.
In order for the policy recommendations to be accepted as the law, the President needs to develop strong arguments. The defined position and steps are based on certain facts and notions supported by the statistics and profound researches. Prior to defining a strategy, it is essential to outline the most critical points in this regard and establish steps that focus on solving the issue.
- Provide limitations in terms of the concealed carry policies. According to Lott (2010), there is a certain correlation between permissive gun laws and increases in the crime rates including injuries and suicides. Despite the fact that the increased access to guns can result in making citizens feel safer to a certain degree, it also encourages the uncontrolled distribution of the guns. Thus, it does not contribute towards deterring crime activities.
- Limit the use of firearms in self-defense to those who have undergone a specific training. The reason for this step consists in the lack of skills of those who want to use guns in self defense (Franks, 2016). At times, it can transform into a psychological issue as pointing at another person should not be perceived as a normal activity. Furthermore, even trained professionals face difficulties in mastering guns. Thus, it is a substantial problem for an ordinary citizen to use it correctly and not to harm others in critical situations. In addition, it is often the case that a potential victim is more likely to suffer than to receive advantage over the criminal as the latter is committing a crime with evil intentions from the start. Meanwhile, the victim can become confused and get into a panic.
- Toughen the medical inspection of applicants for the gun possession in terms of physical abilities and mental health. Taking into consideration that there are cases of successful gun use by civilians, it is also crucial to address the statistics of accidents and suicides, which substantially exceeds those rare cases (Jacobs, 2002). The approach towards the medical tests should change and become as detailed as possible. Each test is of paramount significance as it assesses the ability of a person to react in a proper manner in case of danger. However, if a person fails at the medical or psychological examination, it is necessary to allow the respective law-enforcement agencies to perform their duties. The government will focus on guaranteeing the necessary protection and safety to its citizens.
- Increase the amount and profoundness of the background check of applicants. The significance of this step consists in the ability of the police to track the gun circulation and avoid situations when criminals obtain firearms (Krouse, 2009). In this regard, the authorities will develop a notification system that will assist the licensed gun sellers in case of any issue.
Implementation and Evaluation of the Strategy
The overall strategy comprises of the abovementioned steps that are specifically designed to address various aspects of the gun control issue. There is number of the steps is limited to the four initiatives as it is of paramount significance to focus on the critical issues rather than create numerous steps that can be hardly followed.
In addition, this intentional limitation will allow evaluating the process of the strategy’s implementation. The result should appear immediately, whereas the proposed policy regulates the gun possession by all levels of the population. The goal of the policy is to establish a strict control and address the most crucial underlying causes of the issue.
Based on the latest events and accidental homicides of children in schools, the strategy aims at gaining a massive support. Furthermore, while the authorities will limit the gun possession, they will increase the protective measures to provide all the citizens with the desired peace and quiet. However, the strategy not only aims at improving regulations but also at fighting the illegal black market and its consequences in terms of the distribution of the illicit items. These additional background initiatives will support the implementation of the policy.
Gun manufacturers are among those who oppose the regulation of gun control. However, if the bill fails to overcome the necessary amount of votes, there is an option to address the appellate court since the decision of the latter can influence the strategy’s further implementation (Porto, 2009).
The gun control issue requires a specific and thorough approach involving the combination of various aspects pertaining to the spheres of the public policy and criminal justice. In terms of solving the issue, the most suitable and effective policy model is the issue network since it focuses on the establishment of groups that share the same interest. The crucial policy making process will comprise of the following steps:
- Provide limitations in terms of the concealed carry policies.
- Limit the use of firearms in self-defense to those who have undergone a specific training.
- Toughen the medical inspection of applicants for the gun possession in terms of physical abilities and mental health.
- Increase the amount and profoundness of the background check of applicants.
Although the possession of guns is going to be limited to a considerable degree, the government will guarantee high levels of security and protection of its citizens while also focusing on decreasing the crime rate and unauthorized gun circulation. The overall success of the criminal justice policy relies on the precise implementation of each step of the strategy.
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