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Crime Control Policies

The responsibility for the control of criminal activities in America is placed on all states and federal agencies as well as on the public. The responsibility, besides being well stated in the Constitution, is elaborated in the various laws that the legislators, both at the state and federal levels have put in place to provide the policy framework for crime control. Among these laws is The National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act (2007) (Doeden, 2012). This paper will explore this act based on the key issues it seeks to address as well the politics and stakeholders involvement in its enactment and implementation.

The Key Issues in the Policy

This policy is an extension and amendment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 which seeks to provide governmental control of firearms possession and use. It is also an amendment to a similar policy enacted in 1998. The policy seeks to provide financial power to states and security agencies to conduct an adequate background check on individuals who seek to purchase firearms from a registered and licensed dealer. The policy was based on the background realization that in less than ten years (1998 to 2005) almost one million individuals had failed the preliminary checks and hence prohibited from purchasing and handling a firearm (Doeden, 2012).

Based on the increasing incidences of the mass shooting in schools and institutions, the Congress in 2008 saw it imperative to amend the existing laws on the background checks to financially facilitate the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the states security departments. This facilitation was aimed at speeding up and enhancing the quality of the background checks to ensure that firearm purchase was only allowed when enough accountability is ensured (Cole, Smith &DeJong, 2014). This would protect the public from criminals who take advantage of the lack of a meticulous program to purchase and register firearms. The states that would provide regularly updated information on issues such as mental health adjudications so as to assist in the check system would be eligible for grants from the Attorney General’s office(Cole, Smith &DeJong, 2014).

The Political Process

Politically, the issue of illegal processes in the ownership, and use of firearms had sparked a great deal of debate in the country. In more than three states, cases of the mass shooting had been reported. Investigations into these cases indicated that the culprits had been issued with firearms and registered as licensed holders. However, background checks had indicated that two out of three of these shooters were mentally disturbed and had been admitted or institutionalized at one time in their recent history. Although the law prohibits the sale of firearms to these individuals, the background check during the sale did not capture the crucial information (Hagan, 2012). The political question was therefore whether the information was deliberately unavailable or the system lacked the ability to capture and make such data available. A political observation was therefore made that the system was poorly funded, and the states lacked the incentive to periodically provide data that would improve the quality of the background checks(Lott, 2010).

Role of Federal Government in Crime Prevention

Traditionally, the responsibility to control criminal activities and hence provide policy legislations towards this is placed on the state governments. The legislatures at the state levels are therefore supposed to provide policies that govern the crime control activities in their areas of jurisdiction. The Federal Government, however, has the mandate to oversee these policies and their implementation as well as to enact laws that are of nationwide interest especially when a problem that relates to multiple states arises(Carter, 2012).

The Federal government works through its agencies such as the FBI to ensure that the federal policies are well implemented and that the states are I support and compliance. Crime control policies that relate to international crimes and those that are of nationwide interest such as drug abuse, serial murder, and mass shootings are a responsibility of the federal government due to the gravity of the matter and the expenses that are necessary (Lott, 2010).

The US Congress and Crime Control Policies

The US Congress consists of representatives from all states who have the mandate to enact laws that govern issues on a nationwide perspective. On issues that relate to security of the people in different states and are of nationwide interest, the Congress intervenes to formulate policies that become a guide to the states legislators(Hagan, 2012). The Congress also ensures that the states have local laws that are in-line with the federal laws as relate to crime control and that the state security agencies are compliant with the law and are facilitated to ensure crime control is effective (Carter, 2012). Further, the Congress also influences the relationship that exists between the federal agencies such as FBI and the states policing departments.

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