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Running head: POLICY ANALYSIS
1
Policy Analysis: U.S. Gun Policy
Pol 491
Policy Analysis: U.S. Gun Policy
POLICY ANALYSIS
2
Overview of the Gun Problem in the United States
The United States has a law that allows gun ownership among particular citizens, which has
increased the rate of people owning different types of guns. According to Enrin and Hemenway (2016),
“the United States has the world’s highest rate of gun ownership among civilians, sixty percent. The
statistics translate to nine guns for every ten people including teenagers and adults.” The high possession
of firearms has contributed to increased cases of gun-related crimes in the country such as suicide,
homicides during robberies and disagreements, and mass shootings in public places and within schools.
Other issues associated with guns in the United States include accidental and negligent injuries, as well as
deaths. Gun ownership in the United States can be linked to many problems.
A study conducted by Enrin and Hemenway (2016) found that the rates of homicide are six times
higher in the United States than in other developed countries, and an increased number of the killings are
connected to handguns. Despite the fact America does not have higher-than-average suicide rates,
approximately 60% of all adult firearm deaths are by suicide. America has also experienced increased
rates of mass shooting such as the 2012 killing of the twenty school children in Newton, Connecticut and
the recent 2017 mass shooting in a music festival in Las Vegas among other cases. Accidental or
negligence firearm deaths are also a problem in the country because they are six times higher than in
comparison to other developed countries such as Canada (Enrin & Hemenway, 2016). Accidental firearm
deaths or injuries occur when guns go off unexpectedly or when children access weapons that are not
stored properly and end up injuring or killing themselves or others. Apparently, gun ownership in the
United States has contributed to the increased violence leading to injuries and deaths of many people. The
death rates associated with guns, shows that there is a gun problem in the United States.
Summary of the Gun Control Policy in the United States
The Second Amendment of the Constitution allows gun ownership in the United States because it
states the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be invaded. Nevertheless, because of the
increased cases of gun-related violence, injuries, suicides, homicides, and accidents among other
problems connected to firearms, the United States has established a gun policy directed at minimizing the
POLICY ANALYSIS
3
high rates of problems in the country. According to Masters (2017), the policy regulates gun ownership
through the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The Act requires citizens and legal residents to be at least
18 years-old to purchase guns such as shotguns, rifles, and ammunition. All other firearms under the law
including handguns can only be sold to people from 21 years-old and above. Governments at state or local
levels have the right to implement higher age restrictions but are prohibited to lower the national
minimum.
Apart from the age limit, the U.S gun policy has also established specific people that should not
purchase or own a gun. They include outlaws, or the people deemed a danger to society due to their
criminal history and patients that have been or are omitted to mental institutions who could commit
accidental firearm suicides, injuries, and homicides. Further, individuals with a history of felony
convictions that entail a prison sentence of more than one year, or delinquencies with sentences of over
two years are also prohibited from purchasing firearms (Masters, 2017). Federal laws also restrict the sale
or ownership of guns to people that have been found guilty of unlawfully possessing or using controlled
substances within the past year. These regulations are implemented on people that are most likely to use
firearms with the intention of causing harm to others or themselves. Regulations have currently played an
essential role in minimizing the rate of gun violence in the United States compared to past years.
Nevertheless, despite the regulation of gun use among United States citizens based on age and
criminal history among other factors, other people that are not prohibited have access to guns, which
contributes to gun-related issues. According to Masters (2017), America has a less than five percent of the
world’s population but has about thirty to fifty percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. With the high
levels of gun ownership, criminals, drug dealers, teenagers, and children can access weapons; which
increase gun-related violence, accidents, and criminal activities in the United States.
Recommendations
POLICY ANALYSIS
4
The United States Constitution has established gun ownership as a right to civilians. Therefore,
the government cannot prohibit gun ownership unless the regulation in the Constitution is amended. The
government should implement significant efforts to ensure gun safety and reduce gun-related violence in
the country. One of the best solutions to the gun-related problem is to enforce strict and sensible gun laws
that minimize easy access to dangerous weapons. For example, the government should ban the selling and
purchasing of high capacity guns such as assault weapons, handguns, and military grade weapons.
Further, register gun owners and carry out universal background checks without loopholes to review the
people that are purchasing firearms. Waiting periods or delay to provide firearms to civilians should be
extended to about a month to allow the review of potential buyers including their history of violence.
Second, gun owners must be educated on the best ways to store guns at home. The selling companies
must be mandated with the obligation to ensure that their customers have safes to store their weapons to
minimize access by unauthorized people such as children or teenagers at home. Third, the gun industry
must be held accountable for the sales of firearms and ammunition. They must ensure a code of conduct
by refraining from selling guns used in crimes. The state can also implement laws that require sellers to
gain state licenses, maintain records of sales, work with the law enforcement to run background checks
for their buyers, and submit to inspections.
These recommendations can be implemented through the establishment of law or Act for gun
regulations by the government listing the requirements for gun sellers, gun access prohibition, and
background checks. Implementation of the law may cost the government an average of $700. The positive
results of the regulations may be viewed after three years of application, which will include minimized
gun-related crime, homicides, suicides, and injuries among others.
References
POLICY ANALYSIS
Erin, G & Hemenway, D. (2016). Violent death rates: The US compared with other high-income OECD
countries, 2010. American Journal of Medicine, 129(3), 266–273.
Masters, J. (2017). U.S. gun policy: Global comparisons. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from,
https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-gun-policy-global-comparisons
5
The
Tongue and Quill
AFH 33-337
27 MAY 2015
Incorporating Change 1, 19 November 2015
Certified Current 27 July 2016
Air Force Core Values
Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.
Acknowledgement
The Tongue and Quill has been a valued Air Force resource for decades and many Airmen from
our Total Force of uniformed and civilian members have contributed their talents to various
editions over the years. This revision is built upon the foundation of governing directives and
user’s inputs from the unit level all the way up to Headquarters Air Force. A small team of Total
Force Airmen from the Air University, the United States Air Force Academy, Headquarters Air
Education and Training Command (AETC), the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), Air
National Guard (ANG), and Headquarters Air Force compiled inputs from the field and rebuilt
The Tongue and Quill to meet the needs of today’s Airmen. The team put many hours into this
effort over a span of almost two years to improve the content, relevance, and organization of
material throughout this handbook. As the final files go to press it is the desire of The Tongue
and Quill team to say thank you to every Airman who assisted in making this edition better; you
have our sincere appreciation!
–The Tongue and Quill Team
BY ORDER OF THE
SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE
AIR FORCE HANDBOOK 33-337
27 MAY 2015
Incorporating Change 1, 19 November 2015
Communications and Information
THE TONGUE AND QUILL
ACCESSIBILITY: Publications and forms are available for downloading or ordering on the
e-Publishing website at http://www.e-publishing.af.mil.
RELEASABILITY: There are no releasability restrictions on this publication.
OPR: SAF/CIO A6SS
Supersedes: AFH33-337, 1 August 2004
Certified by: SAF/CIO A6SS
(Col Heather L. McGee)
Pages: 370
The men and women of the United States Air Force must communicate clearly and effectively to
carry out our missions. Although we live in an era of rapid personal and mass communication
that was barely imagined just a few years ago, our Air Force still requires face-to-face briefings,
background papers, and staff packages to keep the mission moving forward. This handbook,
together with Air Force Manual (AFMAN) 33-326, Preparing Official Communications,
provides the information to ensure clear communications—written or spoken.
Send recommended changes or comments using AF Form 847, Recommendation for Change of
Publication, to the Air Force Cyberspace Strategy & Policy Division (SAF/CIO A6SS) at
USAF.pentagon.saf-cio-a6.mbx.a6ss-workflow@mail.mil. Ensure that all records created as a
result of processes prescribed in this publication are maintained IAW AFMAN 33-363,
Management of Records, and disposed of IAW the Air Force Records Disposition Schedule
(RDS) in the Air Force Records Information Management System (AFRIMS). The use of the
name or mark of any specific manufacturer, commercial product, commodity, or service in this
publication does not imply endorsement by the Air Force.
SUMMARY OF CHANGES
This edition has been substantially revised to 1) standardize the format and layout for readability;
2) improve the organization of chapters and content within each chapter; 3) provide additional
material on preparing to write and speak, writing with focus, communicating to persuade,
research, meetings, briefings and listening; 4) clarify guidance for Air Force written products
with formatted examples for each product; and 5) update guidance for electronic
communications. A margin bar (|) indicates newly revised material
The Tongue and Quill
AFH 33-337, 27 MAY 2015
Table of Contents
PART I: COMMUNICATION BASICS ……………………………………………………………………….. 1
Plain Language Requirement: It’s the Law ………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Plain Language in the Air Force: Be Clear, Concise and Specific …………………………………………………. 2
CHAPTER 1: A Basic Philosophy of Communication ……………………………………………………. 3
What Do We Mean by Communication? ……………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Communication, Teamwork and Leadership……………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Principles of Effective Communication ……………………………………………………………………………………… 5
CHAPTER 2: Seven Steps to Effective Communication (Overview) ………………………………. 8
Preparing to Write and Speak (Steps 1-4) …………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Drafting, Editing, and Feedback (Steps 5-7) ……………………………………………………………………………… 11
Seven Steps to Effective Communication: Quick Reference List ………………………………………………… 13
PART II: PREPARING TO WRITE AND SPEAK ……………………………………………………… 14
CHAPTER 3: Step 1 (Analyze Purpose and Audience) ………………………………………………… 15
Key Questions ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
What Is My Purpose? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16
Drafting a Purpose Statement ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Analyzing Purpose: Other Issues …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Audience Analysis: The Human Factor……………………………………………………………………………………. 18
Tips for Success…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
CHAPTER 4: Step 2 (Research Your Topic) ……………………………………………………………….. 23
Start Smart ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24
Getting Data………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
Search Engines and Databases ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
Evaluate Your Sources …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 30
Useful Online Resources ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 31
CHAPTER 5: Step 3 (Support Your Ideas) …………………………………………………………………. 41
The Logic of Arguments: Fundamentals ………………………………………………………………………………….. 42
Evidence: Proving Your Point ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 44
Characteristics of Good Supporting Evidence……………………………………………………………………………. 45
Logical Errors: Flawed Arguments …………………………………………………………………………………………. 46
Arguments, Truth and Persuasion ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 52
CHAPTER 6: Step 4 (Organize and Outline) ………………………………………………………………. 53
Organizing: Finalizing Your Purpose Statement and Bottom Line ………………………………………………. 54
The Outline: Why Do I Need One? …………………………………………………………………………………………. 55
Outlining the Body: Pick a Pattern ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 59
– ii –
The Tongue and Quill
AFH 33-337, 27 MAY 2015
PART III: WRITING WITH FOCUS …………………………………………………………………………. 63
CHAPTER 7: Step 5 (Draft) ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 65
Drafting: Basic Philosophy…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 66
Drafting Effective Paragraphs …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 69
Drafting Effective Sentences …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 73
Overcoming Writer’s Block ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 90
CHAPTER 8: Step 6 (Edit) …………………………………………………………………………………………. 91
Editing vs. Feedback ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 92
Editing Fundamentals …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 92
Editing Efficiently: A Three-Step Approach …………………………………………………………………………….. 93
Drafting Basics: Did You Apply Them? ………………………………………………………………………………….. 96
Common Grammar Traps ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 97
Common Writing Errors ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 101
CHAPTER 9: Step 7 (Fight for Feedback and Get Approval) ……………………………………. 103
Fighting For Feedback ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 104
Getting Approval: Staff Coordination ……………………………………………………………………………………. 106
PART IV: SPEAKING AND LISTENING ………………………………………………………………… 110
CHAPTER 10: Air Force Speaking …………………………………………………………………………… 111
Verbal Communication ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 112
Non-Verbal Communication …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 113
Overcoming Anxiety: Some Simple Steps ……………………………………………………………………………… 114
Common Nonverbal Quirks ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 115
Delivery Formats: Impromptu, Prepared and Manuscript …………………………………………………………. 115
Preparing Your Slides…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 118
CHAPTER 11: Effective Listening Strategies …………………………………………………………….. 123
Understanding Hearing and Listening …………………………………………………………………………………….. 123
Informative, Critical and Empathic Listening ………………………………………………………………………….. 124
Better Listening …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 129
Overcoming Barriers to Listening ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 130
PART V: WORKPLACE CHALLENGES ………………………………………………………………… 132
CHAPTER 12: Electronic Communications and Social Media …………………………………… 133
Electronic Mail (E-Mail) …………………………………………………………………………………………………. …
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