One a special interest standpoint. LaPierre does

One of
the most controversial topics over the last few decades is the need for stricter
gun control. There have been numerous events such as Columbine and Sandy Hook
school shootings, along with others, that often prompt the difficult decision for
policy makers to take a closer look at the gun policies or lack thereof.
However, it is very rare that a policy surrounding guns is successfully passed
into legislation due to the special interest group of the National Rifle
Association, otherwise known as the NRA. “Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA” documents
the history of the NRA, alternative policy issues, and provides firsthand interviews
from individuals who have been victimized or who have lost a loved one as a
result of gun violence.   

                Many experts throughout the film provide their input
on the issues surrounding gun control.  Wayne
LaPierre represents the special interest group known as the NRA and is the
Executive Vice President of the NRA. Throughout the film LaPierre analyzes potential
policies surrounding gun control from a special interest standpoint. LaPierre
does not hold back and firmly believes that the number one way to control violence
resulting from guns is to have more guns not to restrict guns. For example, LaPierre
states “the only way — to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be
personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only
thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” (Kirk &
Wiser, 2015).

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                Another expert, Matthew Bennet who is a former
advisor to President Clinton, provides his professional input on the ability to
pass any policies regarding gun control. Bennet appears to address the issues
of gun control from a public interest standpoint. Although Bennet appears to
support the need for gun control policies he also understands that the NRA is
an extremely powerful special interest group. Therefore, the NRA often dictate
what policies are passed and which one’s come up short for votes.

                Paul Barrett, who is a political analyst, also makes
a valid point in the film when he states “The degree of fury over this really
can’t be captured in words, but it was never— he was never going to do it” (Kirk
& Wiser, 2015). Barrett is referring to President Obama’s speech following
the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford. President Obama does not make
one reference to the word “gun” during his speech and Barrett’s analysis was accurate.
Obama was not going to focus on the policy of gun control because the cost of
taking on the NRA is suicide in the political world. Paul Barrett addresses the
gun control issue from a public interest stand point. Paul Barrett understands
the need for politicians to look into the issue of gun control; however, he also
has an understanding that special interest groups make it difficult for gun
control policies to be passed in Congress. Regardless of the experts views
there have been policy alternatives that have successfully been implemented and
others that have come up short of votes.

Throughout
the video there are numerous gun policy alternatives that are discussed such as
the gun show loop hole, the 2nd amendment, 1968 Gun Control Bill and
the Brady Bill of 1994. The unfortunate issue surrounding the gun show loop
hole is that any individual can purchase a gun at a gun show and does not have
to undergo a background check. Only a handful of states have passed policies
that have closed the gun show loop hole; however, in many states this policy
issue still remains an uphill battle. Another policy alternative that this film
discusses is the 1968 Gun Control Bill which “banned all mail order sales of
firearms and restricted certain gun purchases” (Kirk & Wiser, 2015).  Then we have the Brady Bill of 1994. This
policy resulted in the “requirement of background checks for all gun purchases
from licensed dealer” (Kirk & Wiser, 2015). Although the government has not
been able to create a policy that puts an end to gun violence, some individuals
would say they have made progress in the right direction and others would
disagree.

In conclusion,
the policy alternatives that I feel will help end the issue of gun control would
be to focus on the importance of passing policies that close the gun show loop
hole in all states and to focus on the importance of not only enforcing stricter
background checks, but also taking into consideration any mental health conditions
an individual purchasing a gun may be diagnosed with. For example, there are
many individuals in the United States that can pass a criminal background check
with flying colors, deeming them appropriate to own a firearm. However, if we took
a look at their mental health history we may not have the same opinion.
Therefore, stricter background checks and taking an individual’s mental health
status into consideration would best address the problem in this debate. Unfortunately,
human behavior is unpredictable and there will never be a policy passed that
will completely solve the gun control issue, but there are steps we can take to
possibly lower the chances of firearms reaching the hands of wrong people.

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