The University of Southern Mississippi
Article Two: A Critical Reflection
Exploring a different perspective on gun violence by adolescents, Richard E. Redding and Sarah M. Shalf explore the legal approaches for curbing student’s use of guns in their article The Legal Context of School Violence: The Effectiveness of Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence in Schools. This article not only examines both federal and state laws, but also their enforcements, and related programs or alternatives from appropriate resources covering a wide variety of bases. The authors then analyze the data and offer their conclusion. Inner-City vs. Suburban Youth
In our previous Critical Reflection the authors identified key distinctions between incidences of Inner-City and Suburban gun violence. They also compared data sets and how the importance of these differences should be considered when selecting specific criteria within studies to avoid distortion of results. In instances where trends overlapped, or data could be shared those areas of similarity were highlighted. In this Critical Review the authors, Redding and Shalf, also cover differences and the few common characteristics between inner-city and suburban youth offenses involving firearms, which supports the findings of the previous article. However, the overall focus of the article is towards laws and programs in schools that target prevention of these kinds of incidents all together. As such, the authors only discuss these topics briefly. Differences
Initially, the authors point out that inner-city kids usually carry handguns. Redding and Shalf readily note that factors such as gangs and drugs influence youths to carry guns, and increase the likelihood that they may use them in disputes and to commit crimes. On the other hand rifles and shotguns are much more common in suburban youth shootings. These types of shootings are more directly influenced by individual factors such as bullying, mental disturbance or suicidal tendencies instead of environmental factors that usually drive inner-city adolescents to resort to gun violence. Similarities
There are a few important similarities between inner-city vs. suburban youth violence involving guns. Research has shown that the kids in both groups that carry guns do so primarily as a means of protection from peers or perceived bullies or enemies. Both groups also acquire weapons from within the home or from family members, usually without direct consent, but with overall ease. Laws Regarding Gun Control
Redding and Shalf start their research on laws by discussing gun control laws in general. They suggest that since schools are part of a community and not isolated, the violence occurring in the schools reflect the violence in the community as a whole. Therefore it is the author’s belief that solutions, including laws instituted to regulate these offenses, must extend to include the community the school is in. From their findings, they propose that legal restrictions by themselves are not enough and supporting programs are essential to be effective. Before exploring details about specific federal and state laws though, the authors explain there are multiple types of laws in place regarding gun control. Both federal and state laws are a means of controlling who, and for what purpose weapons can be possessed and approach this issue from many angles including but not limited to: permits to carry concealed weapons, restrictions on ammunition, people and places guns are prohibited from completely, as well as how weapons must be registered when bought and sold.
Federal Laws Pertaining to Adolescents
In the article the authors list a few federal laws pertaining to gun control among adolescents such prohibiting the sale of firearms and ammunition by licensed dealers to kids and the Gun-Free School Zones Act. They also mention a...