Social Justice Issue being discussed in the documentary
The major issue is gun control and the influence of the National Rifle Association-NRA in framing gun policies and regulations in the United States. The issue has been on the frontline of America’s gun debate. The filmmaker, Michael, investigates National Rifle Association, its influence, political evolution, and how it has defeated the new gun control laws. In the documentary, there are tragic gunshots, such as that which involves a congresswoman Gabby Gifford. It thus examines how NRA uses its political power to prevent such gun control measures from being signed into law.
Why it is a Social Justice Issue
Social justice is based on the idea that all individuals should have equal treatment, rights, and opportunities. These issues arise due to unfair treatment by individuals or regulation by unequal government. Social justice thus advocates for an equitable share of societal resources and privileges. It aims to solve systemic inequalities or injustices in society (Rodriguez & Morrison, 2019). The issue in the documentary is a social justice issue since it is an intersection of rights, power, and the well-being of individuals and society at large. NRA’s influence brings about balancing gun owners’ rights with the security and safety of civilians. The gun control debate revolves around equality questions since some stipulate that gun laws immensely affect the marginalized individual in society, such as African Americans, who frequently experience high rates of gun violence. The lack of firm regulations and the ease of accessing firearms will likely conserve cycles of oppression and violence among these communities and thus becomes a social justice concern.
One of the possible solutions to addressing the NRA’s influence and enhancing social justice in this context is to promote comprehensive gun control measures that cater to public safety and, at the same time, respect the rights granted to responsible gun owners. For example, stricter regulations and serious background checks for all firearms purchases should exist. There should be a screening of individuals purchasing these arms to ensure all the purchasers are mentally fit. This will aid in reducing uncontrolled gun shootings among the vulnerable population. There should also be support for evidence-based policies such as the permit-to-purchase laws (Pizarro et al., 2022). These laws require anyone interested in a firearm to apply to law-enforcement agencies. These agencies conduct a detailed background check to ensure that a person is mentally fit and has no criminal background.
Another solution is expanding and reinforcing community-based violence prevention programs, which may assist in addressing the root causes of gun violence and support marginalized communities. There may be the perfect use of the red-flag laws (Branas et al., 2021). The law allows law enforcement personnel or a family member to petition in a court of law to have one firearm taken from an individual found to pose a danger to themselves or others.
One issue towards the highlighted possible solution is that there could be political resistance from pro-gun groups who feel that stricter regulations on gun controls will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of individuals, which grant people the right to bear arms. This can cause political challenges in passing comprehensive gun control laws. Some individuals also may feel that these stricter rules will affect the potential to protect themselves and, to some extent, expose vulnerable populations to violence. As such, balancing public safety and individual rights remains a complex issue.
Feelings Experienced Watching this Documentary
I experienced a mixed reaction of emotions. In some parts, I felt shocked and sad due to the tragic incidents of gun shootings shown in the film. In others, I felt angered and frustrated by the discussion of the NRA’s political influence and lack of progress in implementing stronger gun control measures. I also felt empathy for the victims of the shootings. Ultimately, I got the desire for change through a comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence in society.
Branas, C. C., Reeping, P. M., & Rudolph, K. E. (2021). Beyond gun laws—innovative interventions to reduce gun violence in the United States. JAMA psychiatry, 78(3), 243-244. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2493
Pizarro, J. M., Pelletier, K. R., Zeoli, A. M., & Corbin, A. M. (2022). Using Evidence-Based Practices to Prevent Firearm Violence. Transforming Criminal Justice: An Evidence-Based Agenda for Reform, 221. https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9781479818839.003.0012
Rodriguez, A. J., & Morrison, D. (2019). Expanding and enacting transformative meanings of equity, diversity, and social justice in science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14, 265-281. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-019-09938-7