The Gun Control Issues Raised in “Lethal Passage” by Erik Larsen

Gun Control: Background and History

Gun control is a system of rules or guidelines that govern the manufacture, commercialization, distribution, ownership, alteration, or use of weapons by civilians. Many countries have stringent gun-control rules, with only a few exceptions deemed permissive. In the United States, gun regulations pressed for the passage of the National Firearms Act. The National Firearms Act of 1934 was the first major federal gun bill enacted in the twentieth century. It was implemented after Prohibition-era gangsters reached their height with the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929. Later in 1968, the federal government reviewed the gun control act on regulating social commerce of guns by generally barring interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers, and shippers. Research shows that in America approximately 22% of the population own one or more guns (Lott 52). The gun culture possession backdates from the colonial history, revolutionary roots and frontier expansion. Gun control laws need be made stricter through more comprehensive criminal background checks and in-depth talks of people buying a high capacity gun, thus preventing gun sales by those with a mental problem, criminal records, and those who have an ill motive. According to Larson’s Lethal Passage (1995), 16-year-old Nicholas Elliot was able to buy a gun to school and murdered a teacher, wounded another, and would have caused far more killings had it not his very first weapon clip because the boy was carrying hundreds of rounds in his pocket (Larson 10). This all narrows down to the ease of the availability of the guns.

Main Problems in Gun Control Measures on Possession of Guns

Ever since the 1990s, there have been efforts to audit and create arms-exchange standards and implicit rules to guarantee that arms are not sold to human rights violators. With the ever-growing number of people owning guns illegally creating a major factor in conflicts. In which over 80% of casualties in modern conflicts being civilians. That is mostly fueled by the possession of small arms.

Most criminals depend on the self-defense motive to execute their motives. There are several thousand attacks that happen every single year, but out of these cases about one percent of the individuals applied a firearm to safeguard themselves. The reason that somebody claims a firearm might be out of self-protection. However, it is much over and over again utilized for different things, similar to misconducts. For example, it is said in Lethal Passage (1995), that “the Old West myth and other self-defense myths” (Larson 120) also play a part in the increase of crime as they contributed to more gun possession by civilians.

Fewer Suicides, a huge part of suicides that happen in the United States are completed using a gun. These weapons are legitimately purchased and claimed. If any longer sitting fixed period for obtaining weapons were implemented, most suicide cases could be avoided. These grounds of devastation influence many people to hold that the deaths can be avoided if gun control was stricter with its implementation.

Most of the mass murders in the country have been associated with legal guns. Fast short guns and large capacity magazines make it very simple for somebody to exact large quantities of damage to mass groups of people. This brings about horrible damage, which most individuals feel that it can be evaded if the gun regulators were harsher in implementation.

Holdbacks in the Strictness of Weapon Control

Lawbreakers will still break the Law as illegal trade is a big business fortune in most parts of the world. Moreover, even though gun control regulations were made extra severe, the lawbreakers will still be capable of getting the guns and use them for their ill motives. The only change would be that the ordinary individuals would not have the capability to protect themselves.

The control of guns also creates hostility in society, as some hostility exists between citizens and the government. The hostility is a result of the government’s efforts to keep trying to get more control, by making more gun control regulations, which is against the will of the people. Moreover, when tension mounts, it will finally break out in the most unfriendly way. This is evident from the Lethal passage by Larsen (1995), where politics also influenced the widespread of guns.

The implementation takes control from the people, as it is a legal right to have some weapons to defend oneself, which to some extent includes guns. While some limitations should, without a doubt, be in place, if the administration is allowed too much control over this kind of matters it would be easier for them to try and take all weapons from people. This would leave the citizens prone to manipulation from the regime and leave them defenseless for an entire police state.

Gun ownership to some extent helps prevent misconduct; the principal aim is to support and reduce the degree of crimes that happen, where gun control regulations will not do at all. Instead, it will be permitting regular, law-abiding citizens to possess guns. If a thief, for example, recognizes that an individual has a weapon, they are less expected to pursue a crime. If lawbreakers get to know that people never have guns, then the crime rates would significantly intensify.

Reforms on Gun Control Measures

In order to maintain a safe environment, the gun control reforms have to be implemented effectively. As most of these gun owners come from very violent environments, and one reason as to why they own a gun survivor is always a motive (Larson 505). Follow-ups should also be made so as to make sure that everyone complies with the reforms in place. Over time there have been proposals from one government to another, each having a different view on how to solve the crises. Though with all the promises and suggestions, the implementations never seem to yield any positive outcome, or even to some extent, the implementations never take place.

Examples of the reforms are:

  • Taking on the gun lobby by eliminating the industry’s full legal security for illegal and reckless actions which makes it more or less difficult for the general public to hold them responsible for their shortcomings and revoking licenses from the dealers who break the law (Cook 101)

  • Ensuring that weapons are out of the hands of domestic users, dangerous criminals, and mentally ill people. The government will have controlled the number of guns in the hands of local persons through strengthening legislation that halts domestic users from purchasing guns and making it a federal crime for anybody to intentionally buy a gun for a person prohibited from owning one. The reform will also support work to retain military-style arms off the streets

  • Allowing Importation of Firearms that can be validated and historical data maintained. This kind of reform will block the importation of historically significant firearms provided to allies after the Second World War through executive orders. The Collectible Firearms Protection Act will permit the importation of M1 Garand’s, M1 Carbines, and M1911 Pistols, to name but a few

  • Expanding background checks to more gun trades which include terminating the gun show and all the internet sales that criminals use as gateway means. Also improving the background check system by eliminating the current so-called “Charleston Loophole” (Larson 202)

Constrict Restrictions on Gun Sales

With all the recommended proposals in most nations, everything narrows down to the illegal accessibility of the weapons. Moreover, this tight restriction on gun sale is the best reform to major in and factor out the gun control problem, this is because escape clauses now exist out of sight check framework that makes it possible for individuals with criminal records or emotional well-being issues to acquire weapons (Roberts and Loretta 73). For example, a firearm bought over the Internet or from a private individual at a weapon show is not subject to a personal investigation because neither one of the instances includes authorized weapon vendors. This consideration will account for areas like:

  • Stricter codes to prohibit certain self-loading guns, which won't, under any situation, be permitted to be held by private people, regardless of the possibility that they have been forever deactivated

  • Tighter guidelines on the online securing of guns, to stay away from obtaining guns, key parts, or ammunition through the Internet

  • Full consideration on stamping of guns to enhance the traceability of weapons

  • Regular criteria concerning alert arms, for example, trouble bursts and starter pistols in request to keep their change into completely working guns

  • Better conditions for the dissemination of neutralized guns

  • Improved and affordable conditions for authorities to confine the danger of offer to offenders

Benefits of Tight Restrictions on Gun Sales

The United Kingdom and Japan passed regulations on Handguns stating that they are illegal for private people to own. This helped to reduce evils hat were caused by guns and related weapons. The rates of the crimes reduced significantly. Though the United Kingdom was more violent than the United States, the implementation of this reform has seen the crime rates fluctuate constantly.

Prohibiting firearm control laws decrease killing rates in the nation: According to weapon control advocates, nations with extremely restrictive weapon control laws do not have the same number of murder rates compared to nations that don't have these laws. For instance, in the United Kingdom, getting a permit for a weapon is a standout amongst the most troublesome things to accomplish if not a farmer, a police officer, or an officer (Goss 69). The murder rate is hugely lower than that of the United States where it is so natural for an ordinary citizen to lay his or her hands on a weapon. When one thinks about the murder rate in the United States versus that of the United Kingdom, it is straightforward why restrictive firearm control laws are required. On the off chance that weapon control laws are working successfully in keeping a load of manslaughters in the United Kingdom, it is given that it could likewise do the same in a place like the United States.

Also, a series of research and policy recommendations are accessible. The Canadian situation on gangs, drugs, and guns gives unique chances and challenges, particularly in comparison to the U.S. current state. On the positive side of the record, Canadian gun policy provides an excellent example of how effective the gun control reform is. The policy entails a procedure of requiring all gun owners to register their weapons, which provides a better dataset that empowers law enforcement to identify the previous legal owner of a weapon used in a crime. This can increase cooperation between government agencies that are concerned with the firearm regulatory law and it can also allow for the identification of firearms originating from the United States.


Notwithstanding protected capacity laws, everything as of now specified would constructively affect weapon violence. The best confirmation of date proposes that opportunity to convey laws increment firearm savagery, so endeavors to dispose of or fix those laws and to contradict their reception in the states that do have them would be reasonable as of now. When all is said and done, authoritative fixing of those permitted to have weapons minus all potential limitations degree that the Constitution permits is unmistakably worth exploring. Of course, various measures outside firearm ability to control could decrease crime as a rule, despite the fact that at different levels of cost: sanctioning medications, enhancements in the number and nature of police, pre-school improvement programs to avoid cases like the Nicholas Elliot tragedy, encouraging family arranging, and so on. Take note that private citizens injury through billions of dollars every year to buy firearms for self-preservation when far more importance reduction in crime could be accomplished if those assets were rather committed to the most profitable and productive crime battling measures in the country.

Works Cited

Cook, Philip J., & James A. Leitzel. “Perversity, futility, jeopardy”: An economic analysis of the attack on gun control”. Law and Contemporary Problems, no. 59, 1996, pp. 91-118.

Goss, Kristin A. Disarmed: The missing movement for gun control in America. Princeton University Press, 2010.

Larson, Erik. Lethal passage: the story of a gun. Vintage Books, 1995.

Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Roberts, Julian V., & Loretta Jane Stalans. Public opinion, crime, and criminal justice. Westview Press, 1997.

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