Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Gun Violence Prevention

On 15 March 2019, New Zealand experienced a horrific mass shooting that left at least 50 people dead and 50 others injured (Regan and Sidhu). The incident is one of a series of public mass shootings that have been experienced globally in schools, places of worship, public transport and public gatherings. Gun violence is prevalent in Brazil, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala. For instance, 2019 gun violence statistics by 22 March report 11,092 incidents, 3,025 deaths and 5,215 injuries in America. Also, there have been 87 mass shootings in America between 1990 and 2017 (Gun Violence Archive). Gun violence is an urgent, multifaceted problem that requires evidence-based solutions. Effective gun violence prevention should be performed at both individual and community levels, as well as through legislative procedures.

Gun violence can be confronted by dealing with individual problems that lead people into such crimes. Perpetrators of gun violence in the U.S. and beyond have majorly been males with a history of violent behavior (American Psychological Association). Gun violence has been linked to a confluent of individual, family, community, school and other sociocultural risk factors that influence a person since childhood. Mental illness has extensively featured in the examination of perpetrators of gun violence. There is need,therefore, for national programs to identify mentally ill persons in the community and provide effective treatment. Such measures would help control threats of violence and self-harm in the country.

At the community level, programs are required to help parents raise emotionally stable children to reduce cases of gun violence. These efforts should be followed by the identification and interventions for troubled youth who are likely to engage in violence. The American Psychological Association suggests that the mental health community should oversee the advocacy for community-based collaborative solutions to the prevention of gun violence. Programs involving police training in crisis intervention and the training of community members in mental illness first aid have proved effective (American Psychological Association). Such programs can be expanded in the community and include campaigns on safe gun storage. If implemented, this strategy would reduce the incidences of gun violence in the community.

Legislative policies are effective in controlling gun-related crimes. Gun ownership significantly increases the odds of gun violence and fatality. The Second Amendment protects the citizens’ right to bear arms and restricts legislative bodies from interfering with firearm possession. This “collective rights theory”, as referred to by scholars, has attributed to the growing cases of gun violence experienced across the country. Consequently, there is urgent need for controlling gun ownership among high-risk groups like mentally ill persons, domestic violence offenders and convicts of misdemeanor crimes among others (American Psychological Association). There should be strict laws that ensure vigor background checks before allowing gun purchases and close oversight of gun retailers to stop the sale of guns to criminals. After the New Zealand attack, for instance, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to change gun laws to prevent gun violence (Regan and Sidhu). The deep legal involvement in gun control would help combat gun violence nationwide.

As cases of gun violence escalate, prevention strategies should begin from the individual and community levels then the state level. There are specific characteristics of gun violence perpetrators including mental illness, which can be dealt with thorough the identification and treatment of mentally ill people. At the community level, programs can be established to help parents raise emotionally stable children. Lastly, policies should be enacted to control gun licensing and ensure extensive background checks for people who own or want to purchase guns. If implemented, these considerations would greatly help to reduce incidences of gun violence in the United States.



Works Cited

American Psychological Association. “Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy”. American Psychological Association. 2019. 22 March 2019.

Gun Violence Archive. “Gun Violence Archive 2019”. Gun Violence Archive. 2019. 22 March 2019.

Regan, Helen and Sidhu, Sandi. “49 Killed in Mass Shooting at Two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand”. CNN. 15 March 2019. 22 March 2019.