Recent gun violence prevention legislation is failing in the United States Congress. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Barack Obama attempted to use the political and emotional momentum to pass meaningful gun reform. On August 29th, with the proposed reform bill failed in the Senate, the President pushed through two executive orders as a last resort. One prevented people prohibited from buying firearms to register them with a corporation or trust. The other targeted and banned the practice of re-importing military-grade weapons used overseas. Both these executive orders attempted to limit the ways in which illegal guns can be obtained, but access to guns is only one of the problems.
To understand why the gun control bill failed, just look to the second amendment and the intrinsic American gun culture that defy the values of many other developed nations. Countries like the United Kingdom and Australia have stringent gun bans and the lowest gun violence rates in the world. Alternatively, in Switzerland, rates of gun-related deaths are very high. This is due to conscription, or compulsory enlistment, of an armed militia of men between the ages of 18 and 34.
Despite an evident correlation between the strictness of gun control and the incidence of gun violence, the United States has consistently upheld gun possession as a federal right.
Issues of geography in the United States often influences gun control reform. Rural, and traditionally conservative states vehemently oppose legislation that benefits major U.S. cities facing higher crime rates than less populated areas.
As gun-related deaths reach record highs in Baltimore this summer, the convoluted web of moralistic arguments surrounding gun control seem superfluous to the problem at hand. Policy changes are not easily changed and enforced. Furthermore, they do not seek to change social issues that lead to violence.
For now, Baltimore and the United States have to focus on the human component of gun violence. As a result, citizens are taking action. Community mediation and conferencing initiatives seek to resolve conflicts before they become violent. The program “Safe Streets Baltimore” uses former gang members to do outreach and serve as positive role models for youth in high-risk areas. The 300 Men March in July sought to encourage Baltimore’s men to take action in their own neighborhoods in order to stop the cycle of violence.