The Politics of Gun Control

By Roberst J. Spitzer | Go to book overview
Save to active project

ited warning signs of depression, suicidal tendencies, or alienation, and they were often picked on by others. And, most pertinent to the subject of this book, they all had ready access to guns. It would be unrealistic to suggest that no harm would have been done had these boys not been able to arm themselves easily, but the degree of death and injury would undoubtedly have been reduced if they had had less firepower. Typical is the case of fifteen-year-old Kip Kinkel, who fired fifty-one shots in his school cafeteria in Springfield, Oregon--a state with higher gun ownership rates than the national average--with a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic rifle, killing two and injuring twenty-two others. Kinkel was subdued only when he stopped to reload. Kinkel's weapon increased the "lethality" of the attack when compared to, say, an attack with a knife, or even compared to guns that hold fewer rounds of ammunition or to single-loading, bolt-action models.

While adults commit similar crimes, such school incidents heighten public concern because they involve the young. Society controls or restricts children's access to many products, from alcohol to automobiles, precisely because of the inherent dangers attendant on their use and the resulting need for adult judgment. (Most of the child assailants, including Kinkel, were trained in the proper handling of firearms.) By their nature, children are more likely to respond on impulse and less likely to understand the consequences of their actions, facts of great importance in understanding the link between young people and suicide, as discussed earlier. As argued in this chapter, tighter control of guns would not eliminate violence, but it would render many criminal acts less lethal and also increase the degree of difficulty in committing crimes--observations borne out in the schoolyard attacks. 92


What does this survey of the criminological consequences of guns lead us to conclude about the regulation of guns in the United States? Without question, guns are inextricably linked to violence in America. The available evidence does not, however, answer the causal question of whether guns cause violence or whether the violence-prone simply turn to guns. The most likely answer to this riddle is probably a combination of both conclusions. If guns disappeared tomorrow, violence would surely continue. But it would probably be less devastating, especially for such at-risk groups as the young and African Americans.

Beyond this, we can reasonably come to the following conclusions:


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Politics of Gun Control


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 210

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?