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Guns And Their Relationships To Crime

1773 words - 7 pages

Many of my personal views about crime have been changed by certain readings in criminology. One of the most important topics discussed is guns and their relationship to crime rates. In this paper, I will examine how my early views regarding guns and the gun control debate have been changed through criminology. The gun control debate has been swelling recently in the aftermaths of several mass shootings, notably Tuscon, Newtown, and Aurora. The argument about guns stems into more than just mass shootings, the large realm of the debate regards how guns affect crime rates, and whether more guns leads to more crimes or reduces crimes. One side of the argument is that guns lead to less crime, and the other side argues that guns do not lead to less crime, and likely cause crime. A second important aspect that I will touch on is the effect of public interest groups on firearm availability debates and public policy. Using multiple criminological reports, as well as class discussions, my view on firearms and crime, as well as firearms and politics, has evolved. Lastly, I will examine the effect criminology has had on how I examine empirical evidence.
Before college and highschool I was in favor of gun ownership, mostly because of my general fascination of firearms and firearms history. This was before I learned about the real damage that guns cause, and the effects that guns have on violence and crime rates. My views regarding guns coming into criminology were in favor of getting rid of all guns, because of different evidence I heard in high school. I based these views primarily on the study mentioned by Barkan in the criminology textbook, “The researchers found that households with guns were 2.7 times more likely to have someone in the house murdered” (Barkan 261). I learned about this study, as well as information about the history of the second amendment from a law course I took in high school. What this study led me to conclude is that having more guns leads to more crime. When I listened to gun debates in the wake of the several mass shootings that happened during my four years of high school, I was always baffled by how certain opponents of gun control argued in favor of unrestricted firearms, despite the one study I had heard about. One of the most vocal of these opponents is of course the National Rifle Association, who expend a lot of money lobbying Congress to ensure gun control laws are not enacted. My high school law course taught me to disregard a lot of what the NRA said as lies, but I was interested in why this group had so much power if they did not have any factual evidence backing up their claims. I discovered that criminology has greater empirical evidence for the effects of guns on crime, and even an explanation for why the NRA is adamantly against gun regulations.
Criminologists have made many more studies regarding the effect of guns on crime. One study that I have found through checking sources from pro-gun...

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