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According to Lott (2010), gun control is defined as attempts to limit or restrict the production, shipment, possession and private use of guns by individual citizens. Some individuals consider gun control as a crime issue while others consider it as a rights issue. According to this context, the guns that are referred to, include the personal firearms such as the long guns and handguns. More rigorous gun control laws result into an increased difficulty of acquiring guns (Lott, 2010). The issue of gun control raises questions such as: does gun control make it hard for law abiding citizens to own guns that they are unable to protect themselves? And, does gun control make it difficult to own a gun in order for the law abiding citizens not to feel threatened by armed criminals such as robbers?
Another question regarding the gun-control laws is whether or not the gun-control laws diminish crime rate. Lott (2010) asserts that the gun-control laws that ban the possession and use of handguns have been found to have no significant influence on reducing crime rates such as murders and robberies because of a tremendous number of guns in circulation irrespective of the bans. Efforts to outlaw the production and importation of guns have failed altogether because they bring about the existence of a black market just like for the case of illicit drugs such as marijuana (Lott, 2010). Laws that are aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of juveniles, mental defectives, and criminals have not yet successfully reduced crimes because most of the criminals own guns already as they may acquire them either by stealing buying them through the existing black market. I therefore propose that crime rates may be successfully achieved if guns are taken away from the criminals followed by proactive arrests.
Public policy and criminal justice
Public policy is defined as an effort by the government to deal with a public issue such as the issue of gun control, while criminal justice is defined as the system of governmental institutions and practices directed at maintaining social control, discontinuing and lessening crimes, or punishing those individuals who go against laws with rehabilitation efforts and criminal penalties (Lott, 2010). The government, either at the federal, state, or city level, develops public policy in form of laws, actions, decisions, and regulations which are then enforced through the criminal justice system for a better government. The public policy-making involves the issues to be addressed, the individuals who are determined in the formation of a plan that is needed to address the public issue in question, and the policy which is the final course of action that has been approved by the government. The policy is then incorporated in the criminal justice system where it will be strictly followed to ensure justice in a country (Lott, 2010).
Contribution to policy-making
My contribution to public policy-making is that gun control laws should allow citizens to acquire and possess firearms for their own security. This should happen after the citizens are thoroughly trained on the appropriate use of firearms. Thorough training ensures that those individuals who own guns are responsible and cannot cause crimes but use the guns for their own protection (Lott, 2010). The government should then put an effort to collect all the guns from criminals and arrest them proactively. This can possibly diminish crime rates in the United States more than when the government can enact very strict laws aimed at making it hard for citizens to possess and use handguns. Even when the gun control laws are very stringent, criminals, mental defectives, and juveniles can obtain guns illegally from the black markets or by stealing them from other individuals who obtained them legally (Lott, 2010). My social change of urging the government to allow citizens to possess guns is relevant to criminal justice because the citizens will also have an opportunity to fight against their robberies and murders. The criminals will not be very confident to attack anybody because the victims may be possessing guns. This can therefore reduces crime rates just as the criminal justice system can do. If the illegally obtained guns are taken out of criminals’ hands, the black market can gradually disappear and the citizens will remain safe (Lott, 2010). My policy will therefore help to foster change and improvement in the criminal justice system. My hypothesis is as follows:
Gun control laws should allow citizens to acquire and possess firearms for their own security.
According to Lott (2010), the policy process involves; problem definition, policy options and objectives, and policy implementation. Starting with problem definition, a policy is developed as a reaction to the presence of a perceived issue or problem. In this case, I developed my policy in response to increased crime rate even when the government has enforced stringent laws that govern gun possession and gun use among citizens. The problem is usually identified by American society as they personally encounter various crimes associated with armed criminals. This is a pressing issue and the government should respond as earlier as possible. Establishment of policy options and objectives is the second step during the policy making process. For the policy to be successful, clear goals need to be established. The objectives include: to identify the present situation and conditions regarding the crime rate associated with illegal guns; to identify the barriers to accomplishing the goals; and to identify the necessary steps to accomplish success. With my case, the final step is to implement the policy which is fundamental in the policy making process. The implementation will be successful without insuperable external constraints, possibility of adequate resources and time frame, and adequate staff. Gun registry will cost about 15 million dollars in the United States (Lott, 2010).
According toLott (2010), in the United States the number of murders and robberies are very high every year because many citizens do not possess guns due to the stringent gun control laws. It has also been found that criminals, juveniles, and mental defectives acquire guns from the black market. Unless the guns are taken away from the criminals’ and the gun control laws allow many citizens to possess guns after thorough training, crime rates will continue to rise year after another.
Gun control is a serious issue in the United States because it has been found to be associated with high crime rates. The gun control laws are very strict and therefore make it hard for citizens to possess and use guns for their own security. Criminals, juveniles, and mental defectives illegally acquire guns from the black markets and steal from other people. Gun control laws should allow citizens to acquire guns easily after they have been thoroughly trained. The criminal justice system should make efforts to get guns out of the criminals’ hands and arrest then proactively. This will reduce the existence of black markets for firearms and diminish crimes rates in return.
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