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Is Gun Violence a Social Issue: Critical Essay

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Throughout the last three years, there have been over 75 mass shootings in the United States. Gun violence has reduced the life expectancy of White Americans by 2.5 years and African Americans by 4.1 years. Gun control has been a big debate among political leaders because it creates a controversy over the Second Amendment, the “Right to Bear Arms.” However, every 4 days roughly about 147 people die. The gun control laws, currently in action, worry many citizens because the country’s violence has not been reduced. The gun control associations such as the National Rifle Association, Everytown for Gun Safety, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and many more organizations are fighting to ensure that the ones who hold political power help reduce gun violence. The fatalities from the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 to the Parkland shooting in 2018, have been the deadliest in U.S. history. The issue here is that it is causing individuals uncomfortable negative emotions towards the use of weapons. If it is seen from a social psychological point of view, it correlates to the cognitive dissonance theory. Cognitive Dissonance Theory explains that the inconsistencies in a person's beliefs, attitudes, and/or actions create an uncomfortable psychological or emotional tension, called dissonance, which leads to efforts to restore consistency. Gun control associations and research are trying to restore these inconsistencies by creating new beliefs, altering the importance of certain beliefs, and changing certain beliefs. The research obtained will be able to provide ideas on ways gun violence can be reduced. The experiences of individuals will express how they endure the emotional impact of the events of gun violence. However, it will bring to context why guns can be important to have. Even though the second amendment is controversial, legislation will put restrictions on gun use so it cannot deny citizens to fire weapons, but it will create a safer environment. Lastly, research shows that in some countries, they have enforced change in order to make the environment a better place without having to worry about the misuse of firearms.

One of the ways to restore inconsistencies of the negative emotional individuals that fear firearm is by the ideas in the theory of cognitive dissonance by adding a new belief. By adding a new belief, individuals who feel negative emotions will be able to think a little differently and not base it on the same belief of disappointment. Most people view these horrifying events as the worst possible because it causes the lives of many. However, if individuals would make a belief that prescribed medication has a lot to do a lot with shooting tragedies. Many of the individuals who commit these sort of tragedies have serious mental health issues due to prescribed medication that take effect in these individuals. The mental health of an individual is a cause of gun violence due to prescribed medications that affect behavior. For example, the shooting in Las Vegas left 58 killed and more than 400 injured. The assassinator, Stephen Paddock, premeditated the attack. He killed many and then killed himself. But why? The law enforcement questioned the motives of Paddock because he did not have a criminal history. However, the investigators did find out that he had bipolar disorder. In the article “Las Vegas Shooting Report Explores Gunman's Mental Health” Colton Lochhead wrote, “Someone who displayed little emotion. Paddock refused antidepressant medication, but he did accept prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs” (Lochhead Pg 1). Anti-anxiety drugs can trigger aggressive behavior and if used frequently it can lead to a psychotic experience. If Paddock hadn't taken his “medication” he wouldn't have been triggered to take the lives of many. Substance abuse is one of the reasons gun violence has risen over the years. The correlation between drugs and gun violence is high. The Addiction Center by Delphi Behavioral Health Group stated, “Many of the recent mass shooters in America were prescribed psychotropic drugs before going on their rampage; this type of medication has a well-documented history of causing hostility and homicidal ideation” (Delphi Behavioral Health Group Pg 1). This may be a reason why the majority of mass shooters commit suicide after their shooting spree. Any prescription medication taken by an individual should be supervised when a firearm is being bought. Gun violence could be reduced if supervised gun regulations were placed before the purchase of a firearm. This is one solution to prevent gun violence that is caused by prescription drugs. The Las Vegas shooter, the Orlando Nightclub shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Stockton shooter, and many more shooters had one thing in common, prescription drugs.

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Individuals tend to demand change in order to feel better about themselves or an event that causes them aches or pain due to emotional impact. Gun violence is one of them like those mentioned above. The second amendment is one of the laws that protect having firearms at home for protection. Many believe the weapons should be banned in general, however many protests that banning them would violate their rights. Gun regulations will, unfortunately, continue to be a political debate among those who believe their rights are being violated. People that disagree with regulating gun control often justify their acts or ownership of firearms with the second amendment. The second amendment states the rights of the people to keep and bear arms without being compromised. At that time the militia was required to have a gun in their home for safety reasons. It was created for citizens to defend themselves from dictators and military presence. Instead, people have abused the amendment for hate crimes. In the article “Gun Laws and What the Second Amendment Intended” Michael Waldman claimed, “They are quick to decry any gun laws as an assault on a core, sacred constitutional right. They waged a relentless constitutional campaign to change the way we see the amendment” (Waldman Pg 2). All of this means that the second amendment was intended for the safety of those who seized protection for themselves and their family. People who are against gun regulations attack groups that want to decrease gun violence because they don't want to take justification for their actions. The constitution did not take into account that mental disabilities which include emotional lashes such as anger, depression, and anxiety would appear later in the future.

According to the US census in 2017, there were 393 million firearms and 326 million people in the United States. However, by changing one or more areas, such as legislation, will create an opportunity for the country to become safer, even though it involves changing the belief. With all these guns, it explains why so much violence has risen throughout the states. For example, Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, had to look into this after the incident in Tasmania, Australia. Like other shooters, Martin Bryant looked like a normal man. Unfortunately, he killed 35 people and left 23 wounded. Malcolm Turnbull put a stop to this and his solution was to ban all semi-automatic and other military-style firearms in the country of Australia. With the help of elected officials, he made this happen with the procedure of a program. In the article “How Australia All but Ended Gun Violence” Clifton Leaf notes, “The federal government of Australia prohibited their import, and lawmakers introduced a generous nationwide gun buyback program, funded with a Medicare tax, to encourage Australians to freely give up their assault-style weapons” (Leaf Pg 1). With this program, many gave up their weapons which means that it can help reduce the violence that is caused by firearms. As a result, it worked to reduce crimes in Australia according to the Australian Prime Minister that later was interviewed by the Australian Police Department. Malcolm Turnbull stated, “The economy didn’t crash; Invaders never arrived. Violence, in many forms, went down across the country, not up. Somehow, lawmakers on either side of the gun debate managed to get along and legislate” (Turnbull). It comes to show that the theory that makes people feel uncomfortable can be reestablished by changing the belief of how people view firearms. If gun regulations here in the United States were made such as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did, it would change the way firearms are used now. Gun violence would be reduced if the firearms were turned in or banned from the country or at least from people who misuse them.

In conclusion, firearm handling supervision would help reduce gun violence. These supervisions include prescription drug testing, age restrictions, and the banning of higher maintenance weapons. If these regulations were implemented it would lower the use of weapons and it would lower the number of fatalities that are announced on the news every evening. A few days ago the news came on about potential threats in the California State University, Northridge. Letters behind serious threats that worry american citizens continuously. Those who hold political power should put effort into creating ways to reduce violence caused by firearms. It shouldn't take 500 more people to die for something to actually change. The amendments as well say free speech and liberty for all. But there is no liberty knowing that there can be a potential active shooter in the same place where people work, where people go to school, or where families gather in peace.

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Is Gun Violence a Social Issue: Critical Essay. (2023, September 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“Is Gun Violence a Social Issue: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 19 Sept. 2023,
Is Gun Violence a Social Issue: Critical Essay. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Nov. 2023].
Is Gun Violence a Social Issue: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Sept 19 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:
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