Date of Publication


Degree Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Leslie, Professor, History


Gun control is one of today’s most controversial topics, bringing about two different, yet passionate arguments. Those who are “pro-gun” argue that firearms are a basic fundamental right given to American citizens by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Advocates for gun control argue that firearms lead to more deaths, and should be restricted to avoid shooting tragedies. Regardless of one’s personal stance on this issue, it is undeniable that gun control is one of the United States’ most debated topics. This paper will take a historical approach to gun control in the United States, and will be broken down into four sections. The first is solely on gun control and the Second Amendment. This section will show the historical background of the Second Amendment, and the legality of gun control legislation. The second section takes a look into America’s most influential gun control movements since 1980, showing the effects they have had on the American public. Have shooting tragedies increased the number of Americans in favor of gun control? The third and fourth sections takes a very different approach to gun control. These sections will seek to assess the potential effects of gun control legislation. The third is a state-by-state approach, looking at different states across the U.S., to see if there is a correlation between the number of guns, and homicides committed by firearms. The fourth section takes the same analysis on guns, as the third, but at the international level. The third and fourth parts to this paper will reveal whether or not there is a strong correlation between the number of guns, and homicides committed by firearms. After reading all four sections of this paper, my opinions on this controversial topic will be clear, and be backed up by cold hard facts.