What is the specific problem – define it
Firearms, especially handguns, are pervasive in our culture. They help proliferate crime and are responsible for billions of dollars’ worth of damage and countless loss of life. Current policy on gun control falls short of correcting this problem which is especially detrimental to those in minority communities. This paper will present a critical analysis of the issue of how lack of gun control more severely impacts minorities and attempt to provide research supporting the development of a defensible plan for the implementation of a new policy to attempt to control gun violence effecting these communities.
Provide the reader with background information about the social problem
The United State is inundated with firearms. Criminologist Samuel Walker (2015) found in his research that there are an estimated “270 Million firearms in circulation in the United States, or about 90 for every 100 people” (p. 257) of those 270 million firearms approximately “114 million are handguns” (p. 257) Walker contends that with continued production and importation of firearms that these numbers will lead to a further increase in these numbers in years to come. (Walker 2015)
Walker (2015) went onto argue that “Firearms, especially handguns, are the most serious part of the crime problem in the United States.” (p.252) Walker (2015) explains that of the weapons used in violent crimes such as homicide and robbery that firearms were used in about in about “70 percent of all homicides” and in “41 percent of all robberies according to the FBI” (p.252) of which “96 percent of the firearms used in robberies were handguns”. (as cited by Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in the United States 2012 (Washington DC: Department of Justice, 2013), Expanded Homicide Data, Table 8.)
Walker (2015) contends that statistics show that the people who suffer most at the hands of gun violence are African Americans and Latinos. These population groups by and large reside in economically depressed communities with a high crime rates. (Walker, 2015) Walker notes that homicide rates among African Americas were almost eight times that of White Americans with homicide being the leading cause of death among young men of color. (as cited by Bureau of Justice Statistics, Firearm Violence, 1993-2011 (Washington, DC: Department of Justice, 2013), p. 5, Figure 5 and 6; Appendix, 21, Table 8.) walker 252 )
What are the historical background issues related to this problem
While it’s obvious that gun violence is sweeping our impoverished communities Americans are slow to change as is gun policy. Americans, especially white Americans, are deeply rooted in the belief that firearm ownership is essential to their liberty and only seem to want to explore the issue of gun control when the relatively rare mass shooting occurs.
White Americans own firearms at a much higher rate than African Americans by a significant margin of 51 percent to 33 percent. (Walker, 2015, p.258.) With that being said “firearm ownership is fairly widespread, and there for proposals to restrict gun ownership directly affect a large number of people” (Walker, 2015, p. 256) few of which are directly affected by gun violence.
In broaching the subject of gun control we find that there exits significant confusion over what gun control means to different people and groups. “For some people, it means restrictions on the purchase of guns by people with criminal records, or who are mentally ill. For others, it means tougher penalties for criminals who use guns”. (Walker 2015, p. 257)
Why is it an important issue that needs to be addressed/ What evidence is there that suggest a change in policy is needed
This issue begs to be addressed as lives lost can’t be replaced. “In addition to the loss of lives and suffering for families and friends, the medical cost are estimated to be 2.3 billion a year, of which taxpayers pay 1.1 billion”. (Walker,2915, p.252) Common sense would dictate that that current programs and strategies are not going far enough to curtail this disparity of lives lost among minority communities. While lives have no dollar amount the billion dollar price tag that is associated with this issue would lead any reasonable fact finder to conclude that current policies are not adequately addressing the issue.
What are the major causes of the problem
What are the current policies/programs
Why haven’t those policies/programs solved, or alleviated the problem(s)
What are the major flaws or limitations of the current policy
Policy Recommendations/Action Plan
(In this section of your paper formulate an effective policy proposal that is practical and feasible – tell us why your proposal will work)
What are your specific policy recommendations
How does your policy solve the problem, better than current policies
What research/evidence can you offer that your proposal will work
What are the most critical obstacles to implementing your proposal – i.e., financial, ethical, or political
Why might policy makers oppose or embrace your proposal
What is the specific problem – define it