Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy & Law

First Advisor

Adrienne Fulco

Second Advisor

Rachel Moskowitz


In my thesis, I investigate the factors that contribute to the seeming lack of federal legislative response to gun control to determine how and if there is a way forward to pass more effective gun laws on the federal level in the future. Chapter One explains three of the most substantive federal gun control policies: The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Law, which was signed into law in 1993, and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. These three laws are instructive if one wishes to understand why federal gun control policy emerges from Congress without many of the provisions that the American public supports. Chapter Two identifies prominent interest groups on both the pro-gun-control and pro-gun-rights side of the debate and the factors behind their influence, or lack thereof, on gun control policy on the federal level. Chapter Two also explains certain theories in public policy that contribute to the difficulty of enacting strong gun control legislation on the federal level. Chapter Three examines public opinion polling and how it may be interpreted. Although the majority of the American public supports a considerable number of mild to moderate gun control measures, as public opinion polling can attest, this is often a silent majority. Chapter Three provides an in-depth explanation for why public opinion polling might not be reflective of who is the most concerned about the issue of gun control. Lastly, Chapter Four summarizes recent policy initiatives regarding gun control. In January 2016, President Obama announced an executive order that took some steps to combat gun violence, but this executive order has met with backlash from Congress. Chapter Four also details potential policy solutions that could work around the stasis seen in Congress on gun control.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.

Included in

Public Policy Commons