Guns: the Root of all Violence?

Gun violence has aroused disputable controversies, both about the causes and solutions surrounding firearms. As time has progressed, the occurrence of mass shootings have become a dominant topic in the media, resulting in the question: should we outlaw guns? The second amendment, created in 1789, vocalizes man’s right to bear arms. However, the escalating deaths originating from firearms displays the irreversible impacts these weapons have. Prominent examples include the Sandy Hook, Pulse Nightclub, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and the Texas Church Shootings, all occurring within a ten year time period. The definition of a mass shooting described by the FBI is an incident where four or more people are wounded or killed, the United States holding one third of these events. The Brady Bill, implemented in 1993 became a large stepping stone for gun control, leading to 976,000 denials of licenses in 2003. While some people argue that mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and societal illness like toxic masculinity contribute to the detrimental effects of gun violence, others argue that mental illnesses do not contribute to the effects of gun violence; possible solutions to correct this issue would be extensive background checks and the ban of bumper stocks.

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Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and problematic stigmas surrounding the definition of masculinity, consisting of the glorification of violence and hostile behavior, contribute to gun violence. People with mental illnesses are a hazard to the public, as 60% of perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States since 1970 displayed symptoms including acute paranoia, delusions, and depression before committing their crimes (Ruddell). The 60% of those who possessed a mental illness had access to firearms, allowing the tragic deaths of children, mothers, and innocent bystanders to occur. Patients with spontaneous and aggressive impulses should not have access to hazardous weapons, since one consequence could be communities that are haunted with gruesome memories of the casualties. Those with mental illnesses should be restricted from accessing firearms due to their unawareness of wrong and right, potentially leading to permanent misfortunes. Specific mental illnesses in conjunction with fatal weapons jeopardize the safety of communities and lead to destruction, all of which are easily preventable with meticulous background checks. Additionally, toxic masculinity has contributed to gun violence. Many boys from a young age are bombarded with the constant exposure of gore and violence, induced by brutal video games, inappropriate toys, and war. Many are expected to push aside their natural instinct of fear and face grave conditions with a brave face. If they falter, they would be perceived as fragile and unworthy of the title as a man. Myritten states, men with weapons have the power, men are often expected by tradition to be either warriors and/or protectors, and failure to live up to these expectations leads to violence. Society assumes that dominance is tethered to the perfect image of a man, as boys from a young age have been embedded with the expectation to obtain leadership positions. If the expectations of a man are not fulfilled, these consisting of being emotionless, courageous, and the breadwinners of the household, they are considered less of a one. The perpetual cycle that men encounter because of society’s’ suffocating guidelines of what actions men are allowed to perform, contribute to men’s desensitization of violence. The cycle that was forged on boys by society at a tender age causes men to become bound to their accustomed habits of normalizing war and violence. Mental illnesses such a schizophrenia and destructive social stigmas are one of the causes for gun violence.

The notion that mental illnesses are the cause of gun violence largely categorizes a vast number of people as unstable, ruthless characters. The media is one of the culprits, as they frame those with mental illnesses to be belligerent patients. Siegel displays the influence social media has, as news stories describing acts of gun violence by persons with SMI (Severe mental illnesses) may exacerbate negative attitudes about an already stigmatized population. The phrase mental illness already holds a negative connotation and is a topic that is often submerged. Often, the media depicts those suffering from mental illnesses as corrupt citizens, resulting in the sway of public opinion to restrict firearms from patients instead of banning the weapons themselves. Large social media platforms do not specify each condition such a paranoia, schizophrenia, severe depression and anxiety. Instead, the media largely categorizes a vast, diverse population to depict a stereotypical hostile individual. Additionally, civilians with the intent to harm others are difficult to detect as we lack tools capable of accurately identifying persons with SMI (severe mental illnesses) who are at heightened risk of committing future violence (McGinty). The media sheds an unflattering light on those with mental illnesses and presents them all as dangerous criminals; however, these mental illnesses are difficult to read and examine. Mental illness is a complex subject and has varying causes, the inaccuracy exhibited by social media to group them all in the same category displays ignorance. Although research has shown that those with mental illnesses have attributed to gun violence, detecting and predicting a pattern in patients is difficult. There is not a specific guideline or rubric to follow when one is attempting to predict a patient’s intent to proceed with a mass shooting. Therefore, mental illnesses do not contribute to gun violence and its attention should be refocused to banning guns as a whole.

Extensive background checks should be continued, eliminating the mentally ill from retrieving these firearms. Rigorous checks should be implemented instead of hasty glances at a candidates’ background. Research has shown a positive impact involving how background check rates are associated with…significant decreases in the rate of gun accidents, and insignificant increases in firearm suicide (Friedman). The data shown enforces that background checks have decreased the rate of gun activity, concluding that the mentally ill should be restricted from retrieving weapons. Communities would transform into safer atmospheres, void of criminal activity and gruesome scenes of murders. The rate of activity would continue to drop if extensive checkups were placed along with routine monthly checks. If suspicious activity is found or reported, authoritative figures could delve into the situation and resolve the problem. As a result, the candidate would become cleared or have their gun privileges revoked. Moreover, those with certain mental illnesses are reported to have erratic tendencies and are difficult to restrain. Lang emphasizes the importance of discussion involving mental illnesses as there was a link with aggressiveness and those possessing a mental illness, as those with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder ” were two to three times as likely as people without such an illness to be assaultive. The author does not generalize the entire population of those with mental illnesses, but specifies those that have the potential to be harmful. The rate of aggressiveness stemming from those with specific mental illnesses provides a statistical view as to how they could wreak havoc on communities. Disorders such as schizophrenia and depression retain sporadic impulses that can increase aggressiveness, leading to violence. The startling probability that those with mental illnesses are two to three times more likely to perform assaults should be alarming and cause a response for action. If in depth background checks were practiced, candidates that raised warning signals would promptly be denied. Extensive background checks would be a safety precaution to eliminate impulsive, unfit candidates. Countless lives could be saved if frequent background checks are installed.

A bumper stock is an accessory that enables consumers to fire bullets faster, shortening the time it takes for a gun to recoil after a shot is fired. These attachments should be banned to decrease the number of potential bullets fired from those suffering from mental illnesses and those without. The accessory should not be permitted, as it transforms a regular firearm to a perilous automatic weapon used in war. Many influential figures have spoken, one being Bill Flores as he expressed there’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic (Elis). The representative of Texas, a republican state, has contradicted the routine view of guns. Bill Flores, a credible source and a representative of a pro firearm state displays the problematic impacts of firearms. The disasters that have been afflicted by bumper stocks outweighs what might be described as the benefits of these accessories. The conversion of firing a few to hundreds of bullets in minutes is a dramatic and alarming change. The action should be prohibited, as many citizens, including those with mental illnesses could abuse its ability. Hunters have excused the casualties caused by bumper stocks by describing the enjoyment of ruthlessly hunting animals using the accessory. Hunting meek innocent animals compared to the anarchy that guns have caused in the United States displays Americans absurd priorities. Bumper stocks have been the cause of tragedies in the United States have included the use of bumper stocks, one being the gunman who killed 59 people at a Las Vegas concert Sunday (Bolton). The Las Vegas mass shooting is the most detrimental event in United States history involving guns. The heightened impact of bumper stocks is displayed in this instance, as the accessory was abused for malicious intent. Stephen Paddock, the perpetrator, was documented using the a bumper stock that accelerates the recoiling of a gun. Easily, Paddock fired hundreds of bullets into what was once a peaceful crowd. By banning bumper stocks, a dramatic decline in the death tolls involving gun activities would occur. This would result in safer environments for future generations to enjoy, without the lurking threats of mass shootings in unexpected settings.

Firearms should be regulated due to its irreversible impacts on American citizens and U.S. history. These weapons of war have subjected our children, friends, and loved ones in a constant state of unexpected peril. Families fear to send their children to school, in hopes that they safely return without a bullet wound. A lack of gun education, background checks, and stricter firearm laws have made locations such as churches, schools, and the movie theaters targets for horrific massacres. Firearms are the culprit for the robbing of thousands of innocent lives every year and the need to banish these weapons become more and more apparent. The United States has confronted traumatic experiences due to firearms, as these weapons have imprinted images of bloodshed in citizens minds. If these weapons were abolished or regulated strictly, the United States could have the opportunity to reconcile and heal from the countless lives lost. News broadcasting another mournful mass shooting would become nonexistent to upcoming generations contrasting to how citizens today have been desensitized because of its frequency. If these weapons were banned or closely regulated, a state of harmony could be reached due to the silencing the sound of bullets, the cries of innocent victims, and the protests of the concerned.

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Guns: The Root Of All Violence?. (2019, Mar 20). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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