“Annotated Bibliography – The Status of Gun Control in the US,” Sarah Marcum (2015) — Inquiry 3

Inquiry III Annotated Bibliography

“A Factual Look at Guns in America.” American Gun Facts. Vici Media, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://americangunfacts.com>.

This website is an infographic on gun use in America. It addresses how often guns are used for self defense vs. homicides, accidents, and suicides, the relationship between gun ownership rates and crime rates internationally, includes a close up of the United Kingdom (the most violent country in the European Union, despite the fact that they have incredibly strict gun laws and are even looking at possibly banning long, pointed kitchen knives, as they are used in over half of all stabbings in the UK), the effects of concealed carry laws, relationships between mass shooting locations (and their gun laws), and a particular law in Kennesaw, Georgia, which requires heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house (and how the violent crime rate subsequently dropped by 89%, and even today is 85% lower than Georgia’s and the national averages). Also included is a comparison of police officers vs. citizens in total population count, error rates, criminals killed each year, and the average death count of stopped shooting rampages.

I plan on using this source for its statistics, as it provides a lot that support my viewpoint on gun control and gun rights. The source also helps to prove that making gun control laws more stringent won’t solve anything, as the United Kingdom has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, yet are still the most violent country in the European Union. All of the statistics found on this source are beneficial to my argument. For example, the law requiring citizens in Kennesaw, Georgia to have at least one firearm in each house. With this law requiring citizens to own guns, the violent crime rate dropped by 89%, and is still 85% lower than the national average and Georgia’s state average a decade later. I believe this is because criminals are deterred from violent crimes, knowing that their victims are also armed. They know the tables could be turned on them, and aren’t willing to risk their lives. There are also far more citizens in the United States than there are those who are police officers, yet citizens with firearms have a lower error rate, a higher count of criminals killed each year, and a lower average death count in stopped shooting rampages than police officers.


Birnbaum, Robert. “Ready, Fire, Aim: The College Campus Gun Fight.” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 45.5 (2013): 6-14. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00091383.2013.812462 >.

There is as many as 300 million guns in the US, one for every citizen. A study conducted jointly between the Secret Service, Office of Education, and FBI studied 272 different cases of targeted violence on college campuses between 1900 and 2008, and guns were used in 54% of cases. Total handgun bans or requirements that make it impossible for citizens to use firearms as self-defense violate the second amendment, and almost anyone in the US can get a gun if they want one. Guns are completely prohibited on college campuses in 24 states. Additionally, the violent crime rate per 100,000 people has been steadily declining from 1997 to 2010, along with the violent campus crime rate per 100,000 students. The groups advocating for guns to be allowed on campus and the group advocating for the law to remain the same are at an impasse – they each look at information in order to fulfill different goals. Each event that occurs can be beneficial to both campaigns, by looking at the event through different viewpoints. For example, a school shooting may not have happened if other students had guns to fight back, but if guns were banned on campus the shooting never would have happened at all.

While some would argue that the fact regarding the 272 cases of targeted violence calls for a overall ban of firearms on college campuses, I feel that it does the opposite. Personally, I think that because there were so many cases of targeted violence, campuses could benefit from allowing weapons on campus. While it would be easier for potential shooters to bring weapons on the campus, many more students would also have guns, enabling them to fight back against the shooter. Shooters are already illegally bringing guns onto campuses, so allowing guns to be carried wouldn’t make a difference in the amount of potential shooters. Unless, of course, potential shooters, knowing that every other student in the vicinity could possibly have a firearm to fight back with, deters the crime from happening in the first place. In the long run, I believe that this would lead to fewer lives being lost and less blood being spilled in school shootings.


Devi, Sharmila. “Researchers Call for Reform of US Gun Policies.” World Report 380 (2012): 1545. The Lancet. Elsevier Science, 3 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. <http://journals.ohiolink.edu/ejc/article.cgi?issn=01406736&issue=v380i9853&article=1545_rcfrougcp>.

In most states, people convicted of violent misdemeanors with retraining orders issued by a court for domestic violence, or a serious history of mental illness and/or substance abuse can still legally own a firearm. Private firearm sellers aren’t required to perform a background check on buyers, and 82% of gun owners feel this is a serious problem. All mass shootings in the United States only account for a small portion of gun violence that occurs every day, and guns were used to kill 31,000 people in 2010. The US homicide rate was seven times higher than the average of all comparable countries, due to the fact that the US firearm homicide rate was 22 times higher. At the time the article was written, only 16 states in the United States required background checks to purchase firearms. Also at the time the article was written, 3035 Americans had died since the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in which 12 people were killed and 58 were left injured.

While I agree that strenuous background checks are needed to purchase any and all guns (private seller or not), I believe that guns are not the true problem. People are the problem. Two years ago, in the United States, only 16 states required background checks to purchase firearms. I feel that if you have ever had a mental illness (at least within the past five years), you should not legally be able to own a firearm. Also, anyone with a court-issued restraining order has it for a reason. There has obviously been a problem there, and the person is at risk of using a firearm for violence against the person(s) to whom the restraining order was issued. For example, my uncle has a restraining order against his ex-wife, because she has threatened him and their children several times and has attempted suicide twice (her family also has a history of mental illness). The thought of her being able to legally own a gun makes me sick and terrified for the safety of my uncle and cousins. Something needs to change there, but guns should not be banned entirely. I would feel much safer if my uncle had a gun to protect him and my cousins. I plan on using this source to address possible arguments against my viewpoint, but also to further define my personal opinion on the matter.


Kates, Don B., and Carlisle Moody. “HELLER, MCDONALD, AND MURDER: TESTING THE MORE GUNS = MORE MURDER THESIS.” Fordham Urban Law Journal (2012): 1424-427. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. <http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=14&sid=61e944a1-c7e5-41b9-ac8f-81946605cd3f%40sessionmgr4001&hid=4213>.

Most people involved with life-threatening violence have a prior criminal record and problems with the justice system in the past. There is also no correlation to gun ownership and crime, because guns are used for other things as well, such as hunting. For example, Norway has Western Europe’s highest proportion of gun ownership, yet also the area’s lowest murder rate. Saying that guns cause crime is like saying that insulin causes diabetes just because many diabetics use it. Furthermore, more crime leads to more guns, not the opposite, as many people purchase and acquire guns in order to protect themselves from crime. Also, guns can deter and cause crime equally, so the net effect of guns on crime is zero. This article also makes a very good point; outlawing guns in a society doesn’t eradicate them, it just drives them underground. Another statement made in the article states that although Britain has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, anyone who wants to purchase or acquire a gun illegally would have little trouble in doing so.

This source is reliable because it is from an academic journal, and I will use it to help support my argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I fully support background and fingerprint checks when purchasing guns, but I disagree with banning them entirely. This article helped support my opinion that ordinary people, those that acquire guns legally, don’t use them to murder people with the fact that most people who commit life-threatening violence have a prior criminal record and previous run-ins with the US Justice System. It also supports my statement and viewpoint that banning guns won’t solve anything, and will only serve to strip protection from law-abiding citizens wishing to protect themselves from the very criminals that purchase guns illegally. I also don’t believe that stricter gun laws will benefit anyone but criminals, a fact that is addressed with a closer look at Britain. Despite having some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, it wouldn’t be difficult to purchase a gun illegally (what most criminals do).


M, Morris. “10 Arguments for Gun Control.” Listverse. Listverse Ltd., 21 Apr. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http://listverse.com/2013/04/21/10-arguments-for-gun-control/>.

If citizens have guns, they’re more likely to kill you than if they don’t. Additionally, states with high gun ownership rates also have a suicide rate almost twice that of states with low gun ownership rates. Also, people who committed suicide were seventeen times more likely to live with guns at their home than they were to live with no guns. Between 1982 and 2012, there were approximately 62 mass shootings, 49 of which were done with legal weapons. In 1996, a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Australia was responsible for the deaths of 35 people, and two weeks later the Prime Minister launched one of the most aggressive counterstrikes in history. 650,000 automatic and semi-automatic weapons were destroyed, and within a decade there was a 59% drop in Australian gun-related homicides. From 1986-1996, Australia had 11 mass shootings. After the crack down in 1996, that number dropped to zero.

I plan on using this source to strengthen my argument by addressing the potential issues listed, and providing solutions. I feel that, despite the statistic concerning suicides in states with high gun ownership rates, if someone wants to commit suicide, they will find a way to do it – regardless of whether or not they own a gun. Even if guns were banned entirely, they would still be attainable through illegal means, which I feel that someone desperate enough to commit suicide would have no problem breaking a law to attain a gun. I believe that the measures utilized by the Australian Prime Minister would not be effective in the United States (given that the United States has a population of roughly 319 million, and Australia has a population of only 23.6 million). Any destruction of weapons (like what was done in Australia) would have to be possible on a much larger scale, which I, frankly, don’t think is feasible.


Smith, Guy. “Guns and Crime Prevention.” Gun Facts. Gun Facts, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://www.gunfacts.info/gun-control-myths/guns-and-crime-prevention/>.

People in the United States use guns for self-defense 2,500,000 times a year, 15.7% of which believe they saved their lives by doing so, and the rate of defensive gun use is six times that of criminal gun use, and for every accidental death, suicide, or homicide with a firearm, a firearm saves thirteen lives through self-defense. Also, while 11% of police shootings kill an innocent person, only 2% of civilian shootings kill an innocent person. 32% of attempted rapes are completed against unarmed women, while only 3% are completed if the woman is armed with a knife or firearm. Per a governmental estimate, civilians defend themselves with a firearm approximately 235,700 times per year, and utilize firearms to deter home invasions around 498,000 times every year. When a gun is used as self defense, not a single shot is fired 91.1% of the time.

I plan on utilizing this source to strengthen my position that guns are more beneficial than detrimental to the country, and that they should not be banned. While guns are used for criminal purposes, sadly, they are used far more in defensive situations. Civilian shooters are also less likely to kill an innocent person than a police officer. My point is, gun control advocates focus only on the criminal statistics of gun use, and disregard the statistics concerning how many lives they have potentially saved. Also, most of the instances where guns are used for self-defense, they are used only for show and not a single bullet is fired 91.1% of the time. Criminals are less likely to carry out their intended action/offense if their victim is armed (or there’s a good chance that they are). This is also the most recent source I was able to find, so the statistics are very reliable, and even more current.


Yu, Annie Z. “Gun Control: Five Reasons Why It Won’t Work.” The Clause. DW Focus, 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http://www.theclause.org/2013/02/gun-control-five-reasons-why-it-wont-work/>.

There has been talk of banning “assault weapons” for years, but there’s no set definition on what that encompasses. Talks about reducing gun violence and promoting gun safety are only undermining our second amendment right to bear arms. There are 300 million privately owned guns in America (nine guns for about every ten people), so there isn’t really a possibility of a massive buy-back movement like there was in Australia in 1996. Many people also fear that the infringement upon their second amendment rights is the first step to the government stripping citizens’ rights bit by bit. Also, mass shooters most often don’t buy guns legally – they are stolen or acquired through underground purchases. The culprit of the Newtown shooting, Adam Lanza, lived in Connecticut, a state with some of the most strict gun laws in the country; you must be 21 or older, apply for a local permit, use your fingerprint for a background check, wait 14 days, and take a course on gun safety. But that didn’t stop Lanza from stealing firearms and brutally murdering 20 children and six adults in Newtown.

If the adults in the Newtown massacre had been armed as well, I feel as if there wouldn’t have been as many casualties – Lanza would have been stopped sooner, in my opinion. Also, the fact that Adam Lanza acquired the firearms he used illegally proves that banning guns entirely won’t be as effective as gun control advocates would like to believe. It would only stop law-abiding citizens from being able to purchase guns to protect themselves from situations such as this, among others. If guns are banned outright, our second amendment from the Constitution would be infringed, as we are given the right to bear arms. Removing this ability would be stripping us of that constitutional right. Strict gun laws won’t stop mass shootings – Adam Lanza was from Connecticut, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. They didn’t stop him from brutally killing twenty children and six adults in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting December 14, 2012.