Tighter gun laws will help reduce violence in low-income communities
There is a correlation between poverty and gun violence. Better regulation of how and to whom firearms are issued would reduce gun based violence.
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Studies have concluded that in neighbourhoods with higher levels of resident poverty have 27% higher gun homicide rates. Conversely, where there was greater social mobility, there was a 25% reduction in gun homicides and a 19% reduction where there was greater trust in government. It conveys that gun violence does not only relate to financial inequality but also the fear of survival amongst these communities. It is contended that in addition to community-based incentives, such as better education, creating community-based programmes that discourage gun violence to change attitudes, better legislative measures. This includes regulation of how the firearms are licensed, are necessary, taking into consideration the psychological health of the persons the firearms are issued to, as well as their propensity for committing criminal acts.
Tighter gun laws in isolation will not assist in reducing gun violence in low-income communities. There is a significant racial disparity in gun violence. For example, in 2018, 288 of 309 victims of gun crime were African American in Baltimore, yet the focus seems to be on white, middle class, suburban teenagers. Racism against minority communities exists as evident in the Baltimore Police Department after the death of Freddie Gray. Communities are suspicious of the police, and in return, as more police officers are killed in states where there are more guns, the reaction from the police is to use their firearms quickly. Long term solutions cannot merely focus on legislative measures, but in putting the spotlight on low-income communities, where there is racial disparity in gun use. Efforts need to be made to reduce the lack of trust that these communities have with the police. Investments need to be made to provide those impressionable members within these communities with alternatives to resorting to street-level violence such as illegal drug trade. There needs to be better access to psychological health services for those affected by gun violence, as younger members affected by it in their communities are likely to develop more aggressive behaviours.
Rejecting the premises