Criminal Law: Gun Control Overview

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In his article Defying the odds on gun regulation: The passage of bipartisan mental health laws across the states, Goss addresses the issue of mental health in relation to gun control, stating that the current gun control regulations may suffer drastic changes due to the effects that the statements made by gun rights groups will have on the current state policies. According to Goss, the current gun control regulations have left a lot of loopholes for the owners of guns to abuse: “The United States has far more gun violence, including mass shootings, than do other advanced industrial democracies” (Goss, 2015, p. 203). As Goss explains, the fact that the problem of gun control is often related to the issue of human rights complicates the process of restricting gun use among the U.S. citizens and creates the environment, in which a consistent threat to people’s well-being is nurtured: “most lawmaking in this area has bucked the national trends and tightened access” (Goss, 2015, p. 205).

Key Findings

Goss’ study indicates that the present-day state policies invite a discussion of the reasonability of creating a set of more rigid rules regarding gun control and mental health concerns among the U.S. population: “One of the more interesting findings about the politics of mental health and firearms laws is that they were relatively bipartisan” (Goss, 2015, p. 209). Therefore, Goss makes it clear that the present-day approach adopted by the U.S. government to address the issue may leave certain loopholes, which later on may become the premises for a more vast conflict.


The author makes it quite evident that further enhancement of the existing gun policy needs to be performed. Particularly, Goss is willing to marry the concepts of equal rights and the current gun control policies to level out the current inconsistencies (Goss, 2015). However, the author warns that addressing the current issues regarding the gun control policies and the rights of mentally challenged is inevitable, a the further development of the problem will inevitably lead to setting less stringent laws and, therefore, increasing the related risks significantly (Goss, 2015).

Criminal Justice Policy

The subject matter is related directly to the gun control related legislation in the United States, the public safety laws and the policies regarding the rights of mentally disabled people. Therefore, the subject matter requires a threefold analysis. First and most obvious, the concern regarding the gun control legislation needs to be addressed.

It should be noted, though, that gun control laws are state-specific in the United States. For instance, the citizens of Alabama are permitted to carry guns openly, whereas the residents of New York are not. The map below displays the recent changes made to the gun-related policies in the United States

Gun Policies in the U.S. (NRA surge: 99 laws rolling back gun restrictions, 2015)
Picture 1. Gun Policies in the U.S. (NRA surge: 99 laws rolling back gun restrictions, 2015)

According to the map provided above, the recent laws regarding carrying weapons, in general, and guns, in particular, have been quite lenient to the idea of most denizens of the U.S. population possessing guns. Indeed, the recent changes to the corresponding legislation show that there has been a strong inclination towards promoting more liberties to the residents of the United States in terms of gun regulation. Specifically, the fact that the recent change to the specified regulation allows carrying guns in most states deserves to be brought up: “Concealed carry generally refers to handguns, and is permitted in most states through various permits, requirements and local discretion” (Gun laws in the US, state by state – interactive, 2015, par. 2).

The above-mentioned alteration to the course of the American policy regarding gun control is already a reason for concern since it may jeopardize the well-being of the citizens. In the light of the fact that mentally disadvantaged people have been provided with an opportunity to exercise their rights in most domains only recently, the issue of gun legislation is becoming increasingly significant and is most likely to turn into a reason for major concerns.

For instance, it was not up until recently that the disabled gained an opportunity to receive proper health care. Additionally, the fact that the disabled have only recently started being viewed as the possible victims of hate crimes should be brought up. Consequently, the rights of the disabled have been restored lately; it is, therefore, expected that mentally challenged patients may be granted with an opportunity to bear arms.

The collision of opinions, which the rise of the pro-rights movement and the concept of reinforcing the current gun regulations are likely to trigger, will doubtlessly have a significant effect on the U.S. legislation. Therefore, it can be expected that the laws on gun possession and use will be reconsidered in favor of the specified denizens of the American population. However, the provision of the target population with the rights to possess weapons will inevitably trigger the need to reconsider laws on the circumstances allowing one to carry and use a gun. As a result, the instances of possible threats to people’s lives will be reduced significantly.

Reference List

Goss, K. A. (2015). Defying the odds on gun regulation: The passage of bipartisan mental health laws across the states. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(3), 203–210.

Gun laws in the US, state by state – interactive. (2015). Web.

NRA surge: 99 laws rolling back gun restrictions. (2015). Web.

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