Gun Violence As a Continuous Nationwide Problem: Analytical Essay

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Gun control laws have been enforced in the United States for several years. Gun violence is becoming a continuous nationwide problem. The United States has the highest rate of gun deaths in the world. Japan and Australia are among the few countries who have the least gun violence due to the strict laws of prohibiting citizens from owning firearms. There has been an ongoing debate for years whether more gun control laws should be enforced and what needs to be put into action to resolve the situation. The majority of mass shootings have been caused by someone with an untreated mental illness. The tragic mass shootings in Parkland, Newton, and Aurora were all involving an offender who claimed to have a mental illness after the incident occurred. It is important to take appropriate measures when dealing with a criminal who has a mental illness, but it should not be an excuse for causing such mass chaos and the loss of lives. Many offenders purchased firearms illegally or did not have any medical diagnosis, so they were able to purchase one themselves. Therefore, enforcing more gun control laws is not the solution to reducing gun violence because gun control does not stop someone from causing a tragedy. Mental illnesses are treatable but there is a lack of access to mental health services. These illnesses affect a person’s mood, cognition, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Untreated psychosis can result in an individual indulging in uncontrollable violent behavior. The ideal strategy to reduce gun deaths and mass shootings in the United States is to allow mental health services to be more accessible while also conducting medical evaluations to determine if one is fit to purchase a firearm. Appropriate early intervention and identification must be available to help reduce gun violence along with proper treatment and support.

Medical evaluations need to be performed prior to purchasing a firearm. Claiming insanity to avoid harsh consequences is not an excuse for those whose lives were lost due to gun violence. Insanity should be tested prior to purchasing a firearm to prevent gun violence instead of after the incident occurred. Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Miguel Faria Jr. suggests, “investigation and further lethal developments in these three aforementioned incidents represent cases of criminal insanity associated with regrettable failures in the mental health system, rather than the assigned of blame with the easy cliché of too many guns in the hands of the people” (85). Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland school shooter, is an example of an individual with several mental disorders such as depression, ADHD, and autism but was able to legally purchase an AR-15 rifle. Cruz claimed insanity and underlying mental problems were the cause of his actions. If there was more funding for mental health services and more thorough medical history background checks, then the devastating loss of seventeen innocent lives could have possibly been prevented. Most people who own a firearm in America for safety purposes or for a hobby of theirs, use these weapons rightfully so it should not have to be taken away from them because of crazed individuals who used their weapon illegally and committed mass chaos or murders (86). The Second Amendment states that citizens have the right to bear arms and taking this right away from people will infringe the amendment. Also, it is not right for people to lose their accessibility to firearms who use them legally. This is an example showing that more medical evaluations must be enforced.

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Several mental disorders such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and bipolar disorder determine a higher risk for gun violence. Jordan Beardslee, doctor and psychology professor, and his colleagues confirmed “this study clearly indicates that boys with higher conduct problems and peer delinquency in early childhood are at heightened risk of carrying a gun in adolescence” (117). Individuals often behave based on who they surround themselves with and the area they grew up in. Children who associate with trouble making acquaintances and show violent behavior in grade school should be primary targets when trying to find solutions to prevent children from getting involved in gun-related violence (117). Jeffrey Swanson and multiple doctors acknowledge another cause of violence is “impulsive angry behavior conveys inherent risk of aggressive or violent acts” (200). It is important for parents to find symptoms of any mental disorder so the child can get treatment immediately and get the necessary therapy or medication. Anger can lead to violent behavior and show signs of underlying mental issues (200). This provides cause and effect by showing that children who grow up and are exposed early to violent or negative behavior can cause them to be violent when they grow up.

Many young people have a diagnosable mental illness. Therefore, increasing mental health services would help reduce gun violence. Rhonda Lewis and Mai Huynh, doctors in psychology, addressed “thus, there needs to be an analysis of the literature about what is really happening to people living with a mental illness instead of portraying them as being mass shooters” (757). The media is the key source that provides society with information on mass shootings which allows people to label and spread information. This causes people to automatically assume any future incident involving firearms is initiated by someone with a mental illness. Mental health services need to be available and a priority to everyone as health care is because an increase in these services could prohibit individuals with undiagnosed mental issues from causing potential chaos (757). More insurance companies must cover mental health services as most do health care because many people do not receive mental services due to not being able to afford it. This provides process and example as it explores ways to allow mental services to be more accessible and why it should be a priority to all.

Though some offenders may have purchased their firearms illegally, they did not receive a medical diagnosis until after the incident occurred. Professor of social welfare, Jason Matejkowski and colleagues note “educational programs aimed at family members and inmates of persons with SMI that provide information about mental illness, coping strategies, and how to manage aggressive behavior could be helpful in reducing the murder rates among close relations of persons with severe mental illness” (368). More knowledge of mental illnesses and how to properly cope with emotions and anger must be provided. Half of the criminals with severe mental illness (SMI) used a firearm when committing their crime so restricting firearms from the mentally ill overall and providing more mental health services is ideal to reduce the violent use of firearms (368). An example is provided by explaining that many criminals have a mental disorder and were still able to purchase a firearm.

There are many reasons why stricter gun laws regarding mental illness should be enforced along with an increase in mental health services to reduce the amount of gun violence occurrences. This will allow more individuals with undiagnosed mental disorders to seek proper treatment and or medication. Due to the majority of mass shootings being caused by someone who had or claimed to have a mental illness, stronger background checks of any possible mental health issues will reduce gun deaths. People suffering from a mental illness should not be viewed as dangerous. They are at heightened risk for violence due to suicidal thoughts, feelings of loneliness, and untreated mental illness. The people who finally receive diagnoses and treatment will not feel like outsiders if services are increased and more people receive them. Republicans have put forth action on this situation by providing a safe environment for developing minds. To do so, several republican governors have increased mental health training among teachers while also increasing student’s accessibility to school counseling. Mental health treatment will prevent gun violence. The lack of knowledge or care on the situation is the primary factor preventing these solutions to reduce the rate of gun violence. Stricter gun laws can go against the Second Amendment; thus, the stricter background checks should be focused on an individual’s mental state to determine if they are mentally stable enough to own a gun. Many people who are mentally stable purchase a firearm just for their sense of security. Gun owners believe they could stop possible mass chaos or protect themselves and for this reason gun restrictions should be primarily focused on one’s mental state.

Given these points, the slow increase of mental health services and gun laws will help reduce the rate of deaths to gun violence. Mental illness should be a priority to everyone, as many people suffer silently because they do not know what is wrong with them or want to admit something is wrong. Through further knowledge and studies, expectantly, mental health services will be more accessible while guns are being prevented from getting into the wrong hands. Enforcing this solution will allow individuals to get the proper mental health services they need. More educational programs must also be provided on the issue. Educational programs will teach individuals how to properly deal with anger and avoid violent acts. Providing treatment for all individuals suffering from a mental disorder should be a nationwide priority. People in society will also feel safer knowing some action is being taken. Working to make strong mental health is a goal everyone should strive for. Therefore, stricter gun laws must be enforced to ensure the safety of our nation. The reoccurring cycle of mass shooting is not going to decline without a change.

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Gun Violence As a Continuous Nationwide Problem: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
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