It has now been four years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since that time, the Second Amendment and the issue of gun control has been a constant topic in the news.
A multitude of research paper topics can deal with this controversial issue, from legal precedents that support the right to bear arms to mass shootings in the United States to bills that prevent research into gun violence.
Gun control—positive or negative changes?
In the four years since the fatal shooting of 20 elementary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook, there have been more mass shootings but no real changes in gun control in the country. Many believed that the deaths of so many young children would change legislation about background checks and assault rifles. But none of this has come to pass. A research paper could examine previous gun law restrictions, such as the Assault Weapons Ban, the 10-year ban passed in 1994 that Congress allowed to expire.
In “Colorado school district votes to allow employees to carry guns” posted at Reuters.com December 15, 2016, Dan Whitcomb wrote about the latest legal changes in terms of gun control. Whitcomb reported, “A tiny school district in central Colorado has voted to allow teachers or other employees at its two schools to carry concealed handguns on the job.” The concealed carry allowance is dependent on the teachers volunteering to serve double duty as security officers in case of an emergency. The law was in direct response to the mass shootings that have happened with greater frequency in the four years since Sandy Hook.
Congress and the Second Amendment
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, Sandy Hook’s principal killed four years ago, posted on TheHill.com in “NH voters hold Ayotte accountable for gun control votes” November 16, 2016, about how New Hampshire voted out a senator for her support of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. After voting against a bill that supported gun control background checks, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) met with constituents in her office and explained her vote. “Ayotte told me that expanded background checks would be a burden on gun store owners,” Lafferty wrote. Lafferty added that despite all this, Ayotte did not receive support from the NRA in her failed re-election bid.
A research paper could examine the impact of nonprofit groups, such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and lobbyists, such as the NRA, on legislative policy.
Bills prevent research on gun violence
In “Misfires in the Gun Control Debate: Researchers Face Roadblocks and a Dearth of Informative Data” in Science News on May 14, 2016, Meghan Rosen detailed two bills that have inhibited research on gun control. The first, the 1996 Dickey Amendment, “barred the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] from using funds to ‘advocate or promote gun control.’ According to a 2013 commentary in JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association], that meant almost any research on guns,” Rosen wrote. Later, the Tiahrt amendment part of a 2003 bill limited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from sharing any of its data on guns and crime.
Another research paper topic is to explore the lack of research about potential links between gun availability and gun suicide, or if gun control laws could do anything to slow or decrease gun violence.
Do you think that there will ever come a time when gun control and the Second Amendment will be a less divisive topic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.