Gun control has been a big issue for a long time. According to the second amendment, we have the right to bear arms but, according to the law, what does that really mean? Gun control can be looked at through a structural functionalist perspective. A structural functionalist perspective is defined as the “theoretical perspective that posits that social institutions are structured to maintain stability and order in society.” (Newman 2011:18). A social institution is defined as a “stable set of roles, statuses, groups and organizations…that provides a foundation for behavior in some major area of social life.” (Newman 2011:15). In this photo, I am shooting a gun for the first time at a shooting range. Through a structural functionalist perspective, guns can either help maintain stability and order in society by being available for protection, or guns can hinder stability and order by causing violence.
The main course theme is social control. Gun laws can be seen as social control. Guns can represent violence, or the threat there of, or can represent protection. The lawmakers, voters, and the justice system are the main agents of this social control. The laws for accessibility to guns and who can and cannot use them are products of social control. Guns and violence can be related by two phenomena’s, correlation and causation. The correlation between guns and violence is that they change at the same time, meaning as guns increase, violence also increases but correlation does not imply causation. Causation entails that because of guns, violence occurs. People have started seeing the relationship between guns and violence as causation due to an increase in fear as a society. According to Glassner, “We compound our worries beyond all reason” (Glassner 1999). It is a known fact by sociologists that violence has decreased over the years but with the help of the media and globalization, our society has come to fear more and more. “The more things improve the more pessimistic we become.” (Glassner 1999). The media brings about fear through their focus on single stories to increase ratings. Sympathetic stories that feel “close to home” are very powerful. The media covers stories about young people and violence intensively. Most people will either disregard the statistics about violence. But the statistics can also be inaccurate based off of bias questions asked in surveys. “Answers to survey questions always depend on the form in which a question is asked.” (Schuman 2002). In Michael Moors documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moor opens up a banking account and receives a rifle with the opening of the account. The documentary makes it seem like the bank stores rifles in their facility and hands them out without much care but according to a documentary by Michael Wilson Michael Moore Hates America the bank accuses Michael Moore of manipulating them into giving him his gun on camera at the bank. (Wikipedia). There are many ways that people manipulate things and convince others to believe certain things. People are biased and want others to agree with them.
Society has begun to associate guns only with deviant people. Deviance is “behavior, ideas, or attributes of an individual or group that some people in society find offensive.” (Newman 2011:120). Many people have a relative approach to deviance. Relativism is the “approach to defining deviance that rests on the assumption that deviance is socially created by collective human judgments and ideas.” Society decides what makes a person deviant but according to Babbie, deviance/delinquency are variables studied by social scientists, which are hard variables to discover a definite right answer of what defines a person as deviant or delinquent. (Babbie 1986).
Overall, my picture covers these points. In my picture, I am 19 and able to shoot a gun. Due to the affects of the media and the increased fear in society, guns tend to be linked as the cause of violence and the cause of young people to turn into deviant adults. The media tends to focus on very emotional and specific stories about terrible shootings, like the Columbine High School shooting and create fear. At my University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, people who are 21 and older who have a valid Colorado Concealed-Carry permit can carry a weapon on the CU-Boulder campus. The law is the agent of social control and decides who can and cannot have a concealed weapon