The belief that guns are key contributors of violence is not new. The United States is deeply entrenched in a history of uncertainty regarding the efficacy of gun control. The related battles between the proponents and opponents of gun control has limited gun reforms and induced the need for faith-based moderation. Americans, in particular, have been trying to get rid of gun ownership for decades, and they have significant reasons for their calls. In agreement with Yamane, the United States is swamped in the sea of firearms and religion. Individuals advocating gun control have presented various arguments to assert their belief that the restriction of guns availability can reduce violence. In line with this proposition, this paper asserts that the availability of more guns in the public correlates to increased violent crimes. Additionally, gun control measures such as firearm identification and background checks for both gun and ammunition purchases are inadequate to address this problem. Yamane acknowledges that despite criminologists and sociologists seeking to understand the key predictors of gun ownership in the US since the 1970s, social scientist of religion are yet to significantly take part in this conversation. In other words, there is a gap in literature regarding the connection between faith and gun ownership, in turn, the relationship between religion and gun related violence.
Gun ownership and the availability of illegal firearms in the streets are negatively correlated with the violent crimes. Despite the gun control measures put in place to address this social problem, the incidences of gun violence are still high. The facts outlined in the background of this research compel Americans to rise beyond historically entrenched uncertainty of gun control and consider the efficacy of the faith-based moderation prevention of firearm violence. Therefore, there is a need to go beyond gun control debates and initiatives to curb gun-related violence. Faith (religion) can moderate the gun-ownership and related culture in the United States.
This paper proposes an investigation of the relationship between faith (religion) and the availability of firearms responsible for high incidences of homicides and gun-related violence in the United States.
The central research question pertains to the efficacy of religion and gun-control as moderators of gun-related homicide and violence in the United States. This general question will be addressed effectively through specific research questions that will guide the research.
- Do the availability and ownership of firearms contribute to gun-related violence?
- Do gun-control laws reduce gun-related violence in the United States?
- Does religion moderate the gun-culture and gun-related violence in the United States?
Significance of the Proposed Research
The findings of the proposed research will support the advocacy of either faith-based moderation or gun-control initiatives aimed at preventing and reducing gun-related violence in the United States. In addition, the research finding will bridge the gap in extant literature covering the efficacy of faith-based moderation of gun ownership and the related violence in the United States. Furthermore, the findings should support future research within the same context. From the researchers perspective, the study will serve as an avenue for practicing theories pertaining to research methods. Most importantly, the findings will influence policies and initiatives focusing on the reduction of gun-related violence.
American citizens own more guns than citizens in other developed countries, and gun-related fatalities is the United States is among the highest globally. According to Ludwig, the United States has a large number of gun-related violence and deaths compared to other developed countries. In the same line, Richardson and Hemenway reported that firearm-based homicides in the United States were 19.5 times higher than other developed countries. While firearm-related murders declined from 18,253 to 11, 101 between 1993 and 2011, gun violence still accounted for 70% of homicides in within the same period. Furthermore, males were more likely to be victims of gun violence.
States with more restrictive gun policies in the United States seems to have low rates of gun-related violence and deaths. For example, as of 2017, California and Connecticut were among the states with strict gun laws in the United States. According to Rienzi, the states had more restriction, harsher penalties and better gun-sale regulations. As of consequence, there was a 40% reduction in homicides and. In addition, the presence of more restrictive gin policies in the two states led to a reduction of the number of law enforcement personnel being shot in the line of duty.
Despite the high rates of gun-related violence and widespread support for gun reform, gun control remains elusive. Yamane utilized data from the 2016-2004 General Social Survey and logistic regression models to illustrate that there are significant effect of religious involvement, and theological affiliation on personal handgun ownership. In the same light, the Baylor Religion Survey showed that religious individuals were less attached to their guns. The implications of the extant study is that faith-based moderation can be used to compliment gun reforms in addressing gun ownership and gun-related violence.
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The ensuing subsections outline the anticipated research population, sampling strategy, research design, data collection instruments, and data analysis techniques.
Research Population, Sample, and Setting
The research population will entail Americans both males and females of all raced between 18 and 40 years of age. The choice of this age bracket is based on the notion that they are more likely to acquire, own and use guns, either legally or illegally. The research will also target the state of California where gun control is active. Participants will be recruited from various faith groups.
Personnel contacted from various faith-based groups (religions) will be used to recruit prospective participants. An online-based training session will used to improve the validity of the research data, which will be provided by a consistent participants recruitment process. The researcher will also devise an inclusion/exclusion criterion to arrive at eligible participants. For instance, participants must be Americans within the aforementioned age bracket. In addition, they must be California residents.
A mixed method design will be used to plan and structure the research. As the name suggests, the design will incorporate quantitative and qualitative methods into the research in order to address the outlined research questions. In this context, the term methods refer to tools, techniques and instruments used to conduct research. Considering the gap in literature about the efficacy of faith-based moderation of gun ownership, availability and related violence, it is imperative to leverage the strengths and weakness of qualitative and quantitative methods. Additionally, the mixed methods design will enable the researcher to address both confirmatory and exploratory questions. Most importantly, the design will provide explanation for any potential variation in results. While the mixed methods design give the researcher options pertaining to the priority of the methods usage, special emphasis will be placed on quantitative research because secondary data from extant literature is available both in print and electronic forms.
Data Collection and Analysis
After getting approval and recruiting participants, electronic questionnaires will be sent to the volunteering ones. The adoption of questionnaires is grounded on the fact that they can effectively collect huge volumes of data, irrespective of the sample size. The use of the semi-structured interviews was avoided because they will need more resources and time in order to collect primary qualitative data. The collected data will be analyzed using statistical analyses, particularly one-way ANOVA, to test the null hypothesis. The research hypothesis is that faith-based moderation is effective in mitigating gun-related violence in the United States. More specifically, the researcher will employ the popular statistical software SPSS from IBM for data analysis.
Limitations and Assumptions
The proposed study will not have a pilot study to test the effectiveness of the data collection instrument questionnaire. Furthermore, the research will rely on online responses lack of face-to-face contact limited to one state. One of the main assumptions is that the collected data will be a significant representative of the United States population.
In acknowledging a need for confidentiality and privacy, the research will exploit the anonymity of unique codes rather than using the actual names of the participants. In the same line, the research will avoid collecting any type of information that might expose the identity of potential participants. Additionally, the researcher will secure approval from the Institution and consent of the potential participants before commencing the research and collecting data respectively. Before participating voluntarily, a consent letter outlining the research process, its benefits and risk involved will be sent prior to recruitment and data collection.
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Consistent with the background information and problem statement above, it is clear that gun-based violence is increasingly a national concern in the United State. In the same line, few researches have shown the potential of religion to moderate gun-culture, and in turn, gun-related violence. The proposed study intends to survey 100 randomly chosen Americans of ages between 18 and 50 years in California. Questionnaires will be used to collect quantitative data. Extant literature will provide qualitative data needed to supplement the primary data collected through the questionnaires. The adoption of a mixed-methods design is motivated by the need to triangulate the collected data. As aforementioned, the findings from the research will influence regulations, policies, and conversations related to gun ownership and availability, especially among people with criminal backgrounds.