The recent school shooting of Rob Elementary School in Texas has again brought into question the gun control policy in the USA. Under the existing law, disparity exists among states and cities across the USA in terms of enforcing background checks on the sales of guns and as a result, many states like Texas do not apply stringent requirement of background checks on private sellers. Therefore, enhancing the gun safety laws by implementing universal background checks on the sales of all types of guns across all the states and cities in the USA is necessary so that potential criminals and people with questionable histories of violence or mental disability cannot misuse the legal loopholes to kill people. The following EssayWriter research paper will be about this issue.
Introduction and Background
In the wake of the school shooting at the Rob Elementary School in Texas, one of the controversial debates that have gripped the nation of the USA is the pressing need for gun control to prevent another school shooting occurrence. Gun violence is one of the primary reasons for mortality and morbidity in the USA. Between 2013 and 2017, 36,383 deaths and 100,120 injuries on average took place annually (Brownstein and Reis, 2020). The Texas shooting again highlighted the necessity of performing background checks before selling a gun. The Texas school shooter, Salvador Ramos, had visible mental health issues observed by his friends and people in his community but still he did not face any trouble in buying two guns with the capacity of killing a large number of people. This brings into question the policies related to gun ownership and their enforcement. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prevented individuals aged below 18 years, the mentally disabled, convicted criminals, military personnel who were discharged dishonorably from the service, and others from buying guns (Masters, 2021). The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 made it mandatory for all unlicensed individuals to go through background checks before being allowed to purchase a gun from a federally authorized dealer (Masters, 2021). However, even though federal law provides that background for gun regulation in the USA, states, and cities across the country are allowed to impose their own restrictions. As a result, there are discrepancies in terms of gun regulation across the states. For example, Kansas, Idaho, and Alaska passed different laws trying to invalidate federal government regulations (Masters, 2021). In Texas, only federally authorized dealers are required to perform background checks before selling a gun, while private sellers do not need to follow such mandates (TGS, n.d.). Texas does not apply stringent requirements for more comprehensive background checks before one can buy a gun. As a result, people who, under the Gun Control Act of 1968, should be prevented from purchasing guns can easily buy a gun at a gun show, on the Internet, or from a private seller. Therefore, in states like Texas where no mandatory background check is applied by the state authority, 57% of guns sold by private sellers were done without any background check (TGS, n.d.).
This research paper will highlight the importance of implementing a universal background check for all the states across the USA so that the legal loopholes cannot be misused by potential criminals to take the lives of innocent victims. Universal background checks are the very foundation for the formulation of gun control policies and when there remains a legal loophole in the enforcement of background checks across all the states, guns end up in the hands of people, who can use the weapons to cause mass destruction. When background checks are properly enforced, they prohibit the sale of illegal guns and keep mass-killing weapons out of the hands of people with visible mental health issues and questionable history of irresponsible or violent behavior. Since the adoption of federal background checks in 1994, more than 3 million people who met the criteria of legal prohibition of gun ownership were prevented from buying a gun or denied the purchase permit (GLC, n.d.). Over 35% of these denials were made to people charged with felony offenses (GLC, n.d.). Background checks also help in the prevention of guns from ending up in the illegal black gone market. States that do not implement universal background check laws experience the transfer of crime guns at a 30% higher rate than states mandating background checks on the sales of all guns (GLC, n.d.). Since there are not many research papers that have investigated the issue of the significance of implementing a universal background check and how the implementation of universal background check can enhance the safety of gun ownership, the researcher of this study wants to emphasize the importance of mandating universal background checks for all the gun sales for all the states across the USA by comparing the rates of homicides involving gun violence among states with or without universal background checks.
Research Aim and Objectives
The recent school shooting of Rob Elementary School in Texas has again brought into question the gun control policy in the USA. Even though federal law prohibits the sales of guns to people who meet some specific criteria listed under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and mandates the background checks on gun sales from federally authorized dealers, states and cities across the USA are allowed to impose their own gun restriction laws and as a result, many states like Texas do not apply stringent requirement of background checks on private sellers. Consequently, deadly guns end up in the hands of people who should be prohibited from gun ownership. Therefore, it is about time to enhance the gun safety laws by implementing universal background checks on the sales of all types of guns across all the states and cities in the USA so that potential criminals and people with questionable histories of violence or mental disability cannot misuse the legal loopholes to kill people. The research aim of this research paper is to draw the attention of the authorities to the importance of mandating universal background checks for all gun sales in all the states across the USA. The objectives of the research paper include the following:
- Highlight the necessity of universal background checks on the sales of all guns.
- Highlighting the problems associated with background check loopholes and disparity in gun laws across the states and cities.
- Highlighting the necessity of mandating universal background checks uniformly on the sales of all guns across all the states and cities in the USA.
- Compare the rates of homicides involving gun violence among states with or without universal background checks.
The researcher will adopt a mixed research approach combining both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative research study aims at describing and interpreting collected non-numerical data. Qualitative research study relies on observations, exploration of existing literature, surveys, and interviews to develop a subjective viewpoint on the issue of research (Williams, 2007). On the other hand, quantitative research involves collecting data that can be quantified and can be subjected to analysis through a statistical tool. The reason why the researcher will adopt a mixed-method approach is that the researcher wants to utilize the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses associated with qualitative and quantitative research approaches Williams, 2007). The strength of qualitative research is that it provides a good understanding on the issue of research but it provides only subjective viewpoints, and therefore, this weakness can be mitigated with the use of quantitative research methods.
The researcher will first perform a qualitative research study by collecting and analyzing non-numerical data from existing literature on the issue of gun violence, gun safety laws, and universal background checks to develop a subjective understanding of the topic and highlight various findings provided by existing literature on the issue of background checks on the sales of guns and state to state comparison on the rates of homicides based on the implementation of universal background checks. Since a quantitative research study can strengthen the credibility of research findings by quantifying the data, the researcher plans to conduct a quantitative analysis through the use of a statistical tool, such as regression analysis, on the numerical data collected on the rates of homicides involving gun violence across states with or without universal background checks. The purpose of performing the regression analysis will be to find a correlation between the rates of homicide involving gun violence among states that have implemented universal background checks versus states that have not implemented universal background checks.
Expected Contribution of the Research Study
At present, there are not many research papers that have investigated the issue of how gun violence can be mitigated by implementing a universal background check and how a uniform implementation of universal background check across all the states and cities in the USA can enhance the safety of gun ownership, and therefore, the researcher of this study believes that this research paper will be a great contribution to the existing literature as it will highlight the importance of mandating universal background checks uniformly across all the states within the USA on all types of gun sales by comparing the rates of homicides involving gun violence among states that have implemented universal background checks and states that have not implemented universal background checks. The researcher expects that the findings of this research study will showcase the benefits of implementing universal background checks uniformly across all the states within the USA, thereby drawing the attention of the authorities to undertake measures towards reforming the existing policies to remove the legal loopholes of the disparity that exists in the enforcement of background checks across the states.
Below is highlighted the chart describing the activity plan of the researcher for the next 12 months to complete the research study.
As can be seen in the chart above, the researcher submits the proposal to the professor in June and awaits the feedback. Based on the feedback, the researcher will work on modifying the research proposal if needed.
By July, the researcher expects to have the proposal approved by the professor so that the researcher can start working towards the research goals.
The researcher would like to dedicate between 3 to 4 months from July to October to the data collection. The data collection involves the collection of both numerical and non-numerical data. The researcher plans to gather as much information as possible by exploring different search databases, such as Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, and NCBI, among others, in search of peer-reviewed journals. As highlighted within the body of the paper, there are not many research papers that have investigated the issue of implementing universal background checks on the sales of guns, and therefore, aside from peer-reviewed journals, the researcher plans to incorporate articles published by newspapers, legitimate agencies, and experts on the field for the data collection. The researcher will include both old and latest journals to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the issue.
During the same time frame that research will also work towards collecting non-numerical data on the statistics of homicides involving gun violence across different states within the USA. Both the collected numerical and non-numerical data will be used for data analysis in the next course of action.
November-December- The researcher will then work towards analyzing the collected data. The researcher will jot down any important observations from the collected data in an organized manner in a notebook for future reference when the researcher will start writing the research study. The researcher plans to dedicate two months November and December to the data analysis process.
January-February: The researcher wants to dedicate up to two months to performing the regression analysis on the collected non-numerical data and recording the findings in an organized manner in an online notebook.
March-May: The researcher will dedicate the next three months to writing the research paper based on the data gathered and data analyzed. The research writing process will involve repeated proofreading efforts to improve the structure, organization, and syntax of the paper. If required, the researcher will take the help of the university writing assistance to obtain feedback on the paper so that the researcher can work on improving the quality of the paper based on the feedback.
June: The researcher plans to submit the completed paper to the professor for final review.
Brownstein, J. S., Nahari, A. D., & Reis, B. Y. (2020). Internet search patterns reveal firearm sales, policies, and deaths. NPJ digital medicine, 3(1), 152. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-020-00356-6
Giffords Law Center (GLC). (n.d.). Universal Background Checks. Retrieved from <https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/universal-background-checks/>
Masters, J. (2021). U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Retrieved from <https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons>
Texas Gun Sense (TGS). (n.d.). Keeping Guns out of Dangerous Hands: Background Checks. Retrieved from <https://www.txgunsense.org/articles/universal-background-check>
Williams, C. (2007). Research Methods. Journal of Business and Economic Research, 5(3), pp. 65-72, Retrieved from <https://clutejournals.com/index.php/JBER/article/download/2532/2578/10126>