Americahas a unique problem with guns because the Constitution protectspeople’s right to carry firearms, and yet they cause many deathsthrough homicides and violence. Hence, policymakers have tried toenact laws that can reduce the death rate thus, many theorists haveattempted to explain the reason behind gun violence. The socialstructure theory explains that the key determinants of gun violenceare economic and social influences. Evidence proves that most peoplefrom poor neighborhoods own firearms for self-defense. However, itincreases the risk of violence because guns are viewed as an easy wayto solve conflicts, especially among gang members or criminals.Moreover, the presence of firearms at homes or in social gatheringsmeans a higher likelihood of aggressive behavior.
Consequently,the proponents of gun control use such evidence to advocate forlimited sales of firearms to reduce violent acts. Then again, theinefficiencies in these neighborhoods such as lack of highereducation make it difficult for most people to find well-paying jobshence, they tend to result in crime. Besides, evidence has shown thatgun trading in such areas is greater than those regions with lowerlevels of firearm violence. Such trades attract a lot of peoplebecause they do not necessarily follow the required procedures suchas conducting background checks to ensure that guns are not sold to acriminal or a person with mental illness.
Onthe other hand, differential association theory explains that aperson’s involvement in violence is determined by theirparticipation in different social institutions. Evidence shows that aperson tends to learn various behaviors depending on the people theyassociate with in their community. Therefore, neighborhoods that havehigh rates of criminal behavior means that almost everyone in thecommunity interacts with a delinquent at one point in their life.According to the theory, a person may learn how to use guns forsafety purposes or just for fun. For example, an individual whoseclose associates carry firearms will be inclined to carry a gun forprotection or because they think it is exciting.
Accordingly,people use firearms to commit suicide or homicide because they lackgood influences in their life. For example, guns are often consideredas an extension of a person’s safety, which creates a positiveattitude towards firearms. Thus, people tend to ignore the negativeconsequences associated with gun ownership. Although some evidenceshows that exposure to violence does not necessarily lead to gunviolence, it does not challenge the fact that exposure to gunsaffects the likelihood of using firearms in criminal activities. Forinstance, evidence shows that an adult male offender who used guns tocommit crimes will most likely have had prior exposure to firearms intheir childhood home. Furthermore, statistics show that the citiesthat have more guns have a high number of gun-related deaths. Assuch, the evidence used to support this theory can predict the peoplewho are most likely to engage in gun-related criminal behaviorsthus, put in place measures to control the violence even before itoccurs.
Inconclusion, the social structure and differential associationtheories explain why people engage in gun violence to commit suicideor homicide. The social structure theory indicates that the socialand economic influences determine if a person is likely to usefirearms. Similarly, differential association explains thatindividuals who live in neighborhoods with high rates of gunownership are more likely to commit a crime using a firearm. Theseideas have been supported by empirical data, which proves that peopleuse guns for self-defense and safety purposes hence, it increasesthe risk of violence. These concepts have influenced various policingthat seek to put in place stricter measures for gun control thus,reduce homicide and suicide rates in the country.