Gun Violence as Social Deviation

The PBS videos and the Washington Post article have changed my reaction to the gun control laws demanded by some U.S. groups. Current research evidence suggests that weapon availability is positively linked with the risks of gun violence incidents (Thebault et al.). However, the cause-effect relationship between the variables has not been proven yet, which makes me skeptical about stricter gun control laws’ ability to cause an end to mass shootings (Thebault et al.).

To start with, due to the population’s heterogeneity in terms of norms, what is deviant to some subgroups is not necessarily considered deviant to all people (Henslin 154). Among those who already possess guns legally or illegally, there can be individuals who treat violence as “vengeance” as a norm. Taking these weapons away does not remove their intention to kill and can just motivate them to find more accessible alternatives to shooting, such as improvised explosive devices. Therefore, I believe that stricter gun control laws should be considered as part of a more complex solution, including improved safety measures in public places and reporting concerning behaviors to identify potential mass shooters beforehand.

Out of the three sociological theories, the functional analysis perspective could explain the causes of gun violence in the U.S. As per the strain theory, people are socialized to desire certain cultural goals but can be denied the means of reaching them effectively (Henslin 163). Mass shooters in the U.S. have different intentions to engage in crime. However, it can be assumed that gun violence, especially in the form of mass shootings, is promoted by a sense of hopelessness and hostility towards peers that seem to be more successful (Henslin 163). For example, the inability to find a mate, a steady and well-paid job, or gain social and financial success can cause deviant responses, including the use of weapons to increase one’s power over others.

Works Cited

Henslin, Jim M. “Deviance and Social Control.” Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed., Pearson, 2012, pp. 152-181.

Thebault, Reis, et al. “2020 Was the Deadliest Gun Violence Year in Decades. So Far, 2021 Is Worse.Washington Post. 2021. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Gun Violence as Social Deviation." January 25, 2023.