Enforcement of Gun Control Laws and Minority Communities: Finding the Right Balance Between Public Safety and Limiting Mass Incarceration


This thesis is on the enforcement of gun control laws on minorities, and whether the enforcement of those laws discriminate against them. My research question is, “Does gun control still discriminate against non-white people?” I compared New York City and South Carolina. I wanted a liberal area with strict gun laws and a conservative area with loose gun laws. Those areas provided the necessary racial breakdown. I researched the statistics of people in prison for firearm violations in these areas and other crimes. I looked at the SAFE Act that was passed in NYC, and whether minority populations in prison increased after it was passed. I analyzed data from the NYPD, the SC Law Enforcement Division, and the SC Department of Public Safety. I used data from the NRA to see which gun control laws NYC and SC have. I predicted minority populations incarcerated would increase after the SAFE Act was passed, and there would be less minority populations incarcerated for gun crimes in SC than NYC. My findings were not what I expected. There were less Black people in prison for gun crimes after the SAFE Act was passed, and about the same for other minorities. There were lots of Black people arrested in SC for gun crimes, which was much higher than other crimes. This indicates 1) the SAFE Act is not discriminatory towards minorities, and 2) minorities are discriminated against with gun laws, including loose gun laws

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