Problem Statement

Text Box: Figure 1. Nonmarital Share of Births, by Race, Women Ages 15-44 
Source: Social Capital Project, 2018
The ongoing debate over Second Amendment rights is ineffective at combating gun violence.  Arguing about gun laws is using the Constitution as a means of deflecting attention from the real issue of how to reduce maiming and killing with firearms.  The absence of root cause analysis makes effective policy development difficult.  Children born into single-parent families are more likely than children of intact families to fall into poverty. While the link between illegitimacy and chronic welfare dependency is understood, the link between illegitimacy and violent crime must be examined more closely.  Children deprived of care at an early age have a reduced capacity for empathetic interactions with society. (APA, 2013; Fagan, 1995) Without addressing the root causes of criminal behavior, legislators cannot hope to come to grips with the fact that entire sectors of society are being ravaged by crime. (Fagan, 1995)


Encourage responsible reproductive decisions and effective parenting through passage of Put A Ring On It (PARONT) legislation.  Promote delaying having children until the prospective parent(s) are in a position to adequately provide for their children.  Postponing childbearing until parents are equipped to care for children provides the highest likelihood that children’s basic needs will be met.  The policy will provide funding for public information campaigns, provide women’s empowerment programs, address reproductive health, and financial literacy.  Directly controlling sexual decisions and reproductive choices is unconstitutional.  However, highlighting the benefits of sound decision making and providing information, encouragement, and resources directed toward family centric parenting supports the goal of reducing gun violence.


Text Box: Figure 2: Children in households with history of substance abuse, mental health condition, or incarceration, by family structure
US, 2011-2012 
Source: Zill, 2015
Moral shortcomings, an absence of personal responsibility, and the inability or refusal to enter personal relationships founded on love, attachment, and respect for peers, neighbors, and family members are ignored in debates about the gun violence.  Criminal offenders reliably have a chaotic, unstable family life.  Professional literature directly links adolescent and early adulthood criminal behavior to habitual deprivation of parental love and affection going back to early infancy.  Children deprived of parental love and supervision at an early age have difficulty forming friendships with normal children, are disruptive in school, and have limited success in later life. (Fagan, 1995)

Returning to a family centric reproductive model supports the attachment, support, and parental involvement that results in well adjusted children.  In turn, those children are less predisposed to use guns in the commission of crimes later in life.  In addition to implementation of this new initiative, existing reproductive, child welfare, and social support policies should be reexamined to assess the extent to which such policies incentivize women to have children they have no means to provide for.


Proponents or detractors of gun control, regardless of the validity of their constitutional claims are, from a policy perspective, missing the mark.  Arguing about gun laws is using the Constitution as a means of deflecting attention from the real issue of how to reduce injury and death by firearms.  Gun violence is most prevalent in poverty stricken, urban areas.  Administrators would be best served by focusing implementation of new policy initiatives in those areas.  Levels of gun violence can be directly linked to a lack of parental involvement and associated phenomena such as poverty, a lack of educational attainment, absence of empathetic interactions, and failure to establish familial bonds. (Fagan, 1995) Policy interventions to support more stable family environments will focus resources on impacting gun violence at its source.


American Psychological Association. (2013). Gun violence: Prediction, prevention, and policy.             Retrieved from reports/gun-violence-prevention.aspx.             Accessed 04/21/2020

Fagan, Patrick. (1995/). The Real Root Causes of Violent Crime: The Breakdown of Marriage,        Family, and Community.            root-causes-violent-crime-the-breakdown-marriage-family-and. Accessed 04/21/2020.

Social Capital Project. (2018) United States Congress.  Joint Economic Committee.  Accessed         04/21/2020

Zill, Nicholas (2015). Substance Abuse, Mental Illness, and Crime More Common in Disrupted             Families.    common-in-disrupted-families. Accessed 04/21/2020

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