Psychology and Gun Control

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Passion | 0 comments

After reading and commenting on the controversial topic of gun control in an online forum, I started to take a more psychological perspective on gun control. I began to wonder what drives people to submit themselves to gun violence, how we handle mentally ill Americans with guns, and much more. I had so many questions on gun control that I couldn’t help but to do a little research.

The first thing I thought about when I started to think of these questions was our culture. I knew that the culture that we live in has a lot to do with the answer to my questions. When researching, I came across an article titled, “Guns Don’t Kill People, Gun Culture Does,” And I immediately began to question how our society in general feels about guns. Our country has the highest gun ownership in the world and with that, a homicide rate about seven times higher than the rates of other high income countries like our own. On top of that we have gun sales that are regulated lightly. What is it about guns here?

What I found from this article and other sources is that guns are highly tolerated in America. Gun laws are also less strict than they could be. And when other people are using their guns, people feel it’s okay to use and buy their own guns. Sure, it’s okay when we’re using them for recreational purposes such as hunting. And it’s okay when we keep them around for protection. But what about when people use guns for violent purposes?

Gun violence is a serious problem anywhere, but it’s also topic that is being talked about often these days in our country. Why do people commit gun violence? It is said that people shoot because they lack social connection or that they are taught to resort to violence to solve their problems. A great deal of violence comes into play not for the death or injury of the victim, but for other things that give the perpetrator pleasure such as money, sexual gratification, respect, attention, or for solely terrorizing humiliating or dominating the victim.

As far as guns and mentally ill patients Americans go, many people say that those people should be screened from access to guns but no real research indicates that people who are mentally ill have a higher likelihood of committing gun violence and mentally ill people only commit about 5 percent of gun crimes. Without much real reason to be excluded from the gun owner population, mentally ill Americans aren’t being targeted by gun law the way some might think. But federal law does apply to those who have been institutionalized or deemed by authorities as dangerous. Federal law does disallow some people with mental illnesses to purchase guns but this only applies to those who buy from licensed dealers. All in all, no effective system prevents mentally ill Americans from getting possession of deadly weapons.

I just hope that one day in the near future, I can stop running into articles describing America as a gun culture.


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