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The Controversies Around Gun Control in American States

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In recent years the topic of guns and gun control has been discussed all across the news and media. It has started a lot of controversy between different political parties due to the increase in mass shootings and terrorist attacks on popular events. Many people are disagreeing about how to deal with this problem and come to a solution to end these horrific acts from occurring on innocent people. This issue has caused a divide within the United States of America between the liberals and the conservatives. Many liberals are fighting for more gun control and the ban on military grade assault weapons, such as the infamous AR-15 semi automatic rifle. They also want to have stronger background checks and longer waiting periods to prevent the risk of more shootings from occurring. While on the other hand many conservatives claim that it is not the guns that are causing the problems but the people. They fight against liberals saying that we are punishing those who have done everything correctly and deserve to follow their constitutional right to bear arms. This disagreement has caused a lot of tension throughout the country which has led to many political debates. As a result the various political parties can not agree on a solution for all these problems. Different states have put in their own set of laws to prevent gun related problems, however some states such as Alaska and Illinois governments have very conflicting views on how to safely manage guns.

Many drastic events that have taken place over the years have led to the idea of implementing more gun control. Many gun rights advocates were left livid believing that their constitutional rights were being taken away and was limiting their ability to continue practicing the 2nd amendment. The advocates also find it unfair that they are being unreasonably confined to their right to bear arms when it comes to protecting themselves and their property. However the influx of mass shootings throughout the years has created fear within a number of people leading to the fight for more gun control. Gun control is laid out in the form that it limits certain people from legally obtaining firearms who are believed to not be suitable to own a weapon such as a handgun or rifle. This is on the basis of their own protection and importantly the protection of others. It is believed that by having these gun control laws we would be able to prevent the mentally unstable people from commiting suicide or murder. While in contrast many conservatives believe that having gun control can not limit those people from illegally obtaining a gun and having this control would be useless. Moreover, the fight for gun control has become much more vigorous within recent years. Due to many attacks, one debate among many liberals that has occured is whether or not a person or ordinary civilian should be allowed to obtain a military grade assault weapon, such as the AR-15 semi automatic rifle. This gun has become well known for its uses in many recent mass shootings such as the attack on Parkland High School in which 17 people died and 17 people were highly injured. This attack sprung up many protests across the country such as the well known movement “March For Our Lives”. Many High School students participated by having a walkout during school to draw attention to the issue of lack of gun control. The attack created fear nationwide especially among young students. Another deadly terrorist attack where the AR-15 was used was in the Las Vegas shooting in 2017. During this attack 59 people were left dead and 413 were left severely injured. However the gun used in the Las Vegas shooting was altered making it a fully automatic rifle with the addition of a bump stock. This explains how so many people were killed in a short period of time. People became very fearful of bump stocks because of the amount of power the modification can give a gun and the damage it is capable of causing. Given, very quickly after the attack bump stocks were made federally illegal for most civilians under the Trump administration. However the AR-15 still remains federally legal although some states now limit it and even have placed some bans on the gun. Previously though, assault weapons were illegal starting in 1994 all the way till 2004 when the ban expired and was never resigned.

In the year 2019 there were 15,208 deaths due to gun violence across the United States of America, which has slightly increased over the past years. There were also 418 mass shootings, and 31 were mass murders. As a result the number of deaths has slightly increased from previous years. Due to the rising fatality rate many states have implemented more gun control. Throughout the country the state that has the strictest gun laws is Illinois. In Illinois they take more precautions than the rest of the country when it comes to gun laws especially for the well-known amount of violence and gang related crime within the city of Chicago. In particular they require a Firearm Owners Identification card, also known as the acronym FOID. This allows someone to own and operate firearms as well as purchase ammunition, which in comparison many other states such as Alaska do not require this. In Illinois they also have a 72 hour waiting period set before acquiring the gun after purchase. The state government has this law in place to prevent someone who is in blind rage or experiencing extreme unstable emotions to calm down before receiving their gun. To be able to conceal and carry a firearm you must apply for a license or permit through the state police department and undergo an intensive 16 hour training course. Being required to have a permit and training course will help teach gun safety and make sure a person is qualified to handle a gun. You also have to be over the age of 21 to acquire a concealed carry license.

While on the complete other side, Alaska has some of the weakest gun laws in the United States of America. In Alaska you do not need to register a gun or even get a permit. There is also no background check needed when purchasing a gun at a gunshow or from a private party. This is referred to as the “gun show loophole” which many liberals are trying to put an end to. Liberals argue that the state of Alaska is too loose with gun laws and the government does to have enough control over who receives guns. This is especially because it is not always required for the gun to be registered. Open carry laws in Alaska also conflict with federal laws being that someone can open carry as young as the age of 16 years old. While in contrast, Federally the minimum age to open carry is 18 years old. However similarly to Illinois, a person must have a permit to conceal carry, as well as participate in a training course. They as well must be over the age of 21 to receive this permit.

At first glance many people assume the city that has the highest amount of gun related deaths and murders is Chicago Illinois, however that is not true. The place that actually has the highest murder rate per capata is shockingly the state of Alaska. As of 2017 in Alaska they rank 1st with the highest number of violent crime rate coming in at “829.0 per 100,000 residents” and 6th in murder rate with “8.4 per 100,000 residents”. While in contrast Illinois has the 17th highest viloent crime rate with “438.8 per 100,000 residents” and the 10th highest in murder rate which is “ 7.8 per 100,000 residents”. Another large aspect in gun related deaths is suicide. As of 2016 in Alaska there were 177 firearm deaths and 113 of those were suicides.. While in Illinois out of 1,490 firearm deaths 506 were suicides. Making Alaska top Illinois in the percentage of suicides.

However in comparison to both the states of Alaska and Illinois, Maine has some of the least amount of violent gun related deaths in the United States of America. In Maine they are more lenient when it comes to gun laws unlike Illinois but not as loose as Alaska. When in Maine you are allowed to open carry a handgun in certain places without a license. However to conceal carry you do need to obtain a license and meet different criterias upon receiving your CCW, also known as concealed carry permit. You must “be at least 21 years old, have knowledge of handgun safety, not engaged in the past 5years of reckless or negligent conduct that has been subject to investigation by a government entity, or convicted in a Maine court in the past 5 years of any drug crime.” These specific qualifications are put in place so.As well in Maine if you are a resident of 5 years you must wait only 30 days upon receiving your concealed carry permit and 50 days if you have not been a resident for more than 5 years. With consideration to their gun laws in the state of Maine as of 2017 has the lowest violent crime rate with “121.0 per 100,000 residents” and the 3rd lowest in murder rate at “1.7 per 100,000 residents”.

With consideration to the high numbers of gun deaths in Alaska the leading cause is suicide. Suicide comes in taking 72% of the number of gun related deaths through out the entire state. “In Alaska, 72% of gun deaths are suicides and 21% are homicides. This is compared to 61% and 35% respectively, nationwide.” Within the number of suicides, 64% are children and teens. Many people believe the high number of suicides in children and teens is due to the easy access they have to guns. The understanding is also centered around the fact that Alaska has such long winters and limited amounts of daytime that it leaves people feeling depressed. Sucide by gun is most likely due to the abundance of guns people own within the state.

Unlike Alaska, Illinois has a much higher amount of homicide rates than suicides rates. “In Illinois, 40% of gun deaths are suicides and 57% are homicides. This is compared to 61% and 35% respectively, nationwide”. With regards to children and teens the use of firearms during homicides is the 2nd leading cause of death. Given out of those children and teens, black kids are 13 times more likely to die from guns than any other race. Within Illinois most gun related deaths are known to be in the city of Chicago. Many people consider this violence to be an epidemic within Chicago and causing a large sum of fear among residents as well as tourists. People oftentimes blame the high numbers of gangs and drug trafficking in the city as well as the high poverty rate in certain areas. Since drug distribution and trafficking is so prominent within Chicago, especially among low income areas, oftentimes more issues arise between gangs and gang members which leads to a higher rate of homicides related to firearms. However many of those firearms and guns were found to be illegal and illegally obtained in which they go against Illinois strict gun control laws. Oftentimes people argue that the gun laws do not work any way and should not be as heavily implemented.

In Alaska they have the “Stand Your Ground Law” which allows a person to use a firearm for self-defense in which they felt their life or property was threatened in a given situation. “Between 2005 and 2010, 18 states passed legislation — also known as Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws — to allow their citizens to use force, including lethal force, in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without having any duty to retreat first”. The stand your ground laws have grown a decent amount of controversy within the years saying it causes a lot more issues and can lead to a higher number of deaths given the belief that “self-defense laws does not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault”. “One particular incident happened in February 2012, when Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old teenager, was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a community watch coordinator for a gated community in Florida in the United States”. This incident has had people in rage fighting against what they believed to be injustice. While as a result George Zimmerman was not charged on the account that his actions were labeled as purely self defense. Despite the conflict most states continue to support and follow the stand your ground laws, such as Alaska. Many people believe this law is very important for self defense when protecting yourself, your family, and your property. It allows people to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from harm and out of danger. In particular because of this law many people choose to buy a gun with the purpose of home protection against intruders. While on the other side Illinois does not have the Stand Your Ground Laws so they do not have the right to practice self defense with regards to possessing a firearm and other different weapons. They do not deem it neacersry in many given situtions to kill or murder someone with fear of their life and wellbeing.

Overall, both political parties make compelling arguments on the basis on how to deem gun control and how to prevent more deaths among innocent people. In general most people want what is best to prevent gun violence and others lives. However everyone has a different way of going about it. Whether it be banning military grade assault weapons, implementing more gun control, or having the right to stand your ground for self defense. There is always going to be different ways to handle laws on guns and certain firearms and there will always be disagreements but ultimately the intentions are based around the well-being of everyone. As well it will be based around the hope for protecting others and keeping innocent people out of danger and harm’s way. With the government evolving and the people in the United States of America evolving many things will change in years to come being centered around the well being of others.


  1. “Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive,
  2. Forrester, James, et al. “Illinois Gun Laws: GunsToCarry Guide.” GunsToCarry, 19 Feb. 2020,
  3. “Alaska Concealed Carry Gun Laws & CHP: USCCA CCW Reciprocity Map.” USCCA,
  4. “Top 30 Highest Murder Rate Cities in the U.S. in 2019.” NeighborhoodScout, 10 Mar. 2020,
  5. Stebbins, Samuel. “America’s Most Violent State? Louisiana. What’s the Most Peaceful One?” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 16 July 2019,
  6. Frohlich, Thomas C., and John Harrington. “States with the Most (and Least) Gun Violence. See Where Your State Stacks up.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 21 Feb. 2018,
  7. Higgins, Paul, et al. “Maine Gun Laws: GunsToCarry Guide.” GunsToCarry, 19 Feb. 2020,
  8. “Every State Fact Sheet Alaska .” Every Town Research ,
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  10. Mcclellan, Chandler, and Erdal Tekin. “Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries.” 2012, doi:10.3386/w18187. 

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