Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 75, University of Reading (Department of Politics), course: American Government and Politics, 14 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The question why gun control has become such a contentious issue in American politics has to be lighted up from different perspectives, both historically and politically. America is undoubtedly one of the countries with the largest private firearms arsenals, and very likely the leading one worldwide. Periodic assassinations and assassination attempts as well as mass shootings like the Columbine High School massacre in April, 1999, focused national attention and have pushed the debate and governmental regulations over gun control. A close look on America's gun history is needed in order to understand why firearms play such an important role in America's history which distinctly diverges from the rest of the world. Nevertheless, American citizens and their views on the gun control issue are split into the policies of gun control proponents and their opponents which are resembled in interest groups who play an important role in the United States political procedure. Thus, it is of interest in how far the policies of both sides diverge and how successful they are in influencing the legislative process.