Date of this Version
Schaub, Daniel R. “Why Gun Violence Continues Its Rampage Across America: A Comparison of American and Australian Firearm Policies.” pp. 1–56. Digital Commons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 9 Mar. 2018.
This thesis is a comparative case study between US and Australian firearm policies and gun culture. I ask, given the large number of injuries and mass shootings due to firearms, why has the United States not implemented stronger firearm regulations? I conduct a comprehensive literature review of American gun culture throughout history and modern firearm violence in both the United States and Australia. By utilizing the framework of historical institutionalism and the concept path dependency, I explain why and how institutions in the United States are unique and how they differ from similar institutions in Australia. I find that the most crucial element preventing the United States from adopting more stringent gun control laws is the National Rifle Association (NRA). I specifically focus on the 1970’s, when the NRA experienced a major shift in philosophy, which I define as a critical juncture, which caused it to become radically uncompromising in the gun debate. Thus, I contend that the NRA’s influence on policymakers is the most powerful variable preventing the implementation of gun control reforms in the United States today.