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NCJ Number: 153748 Find in a Library
Title: Hold Your Fire: The Violence of Gun Control
Journal: Policy Review  Issue:63  Dated:(Winter 1993)  Pages:complete issue
Author(s): D B Kopel
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of gun control concludes that it will not stop increasing violence, but it will violate constitutional rights.
Abstract: A comprehensive review of research for the National Institute of Justice in 1982 concluded that no persuasive evidence existed that the 20,000 gun control laws in the United States had reduced criminal violence. Other research has revealed that waiting periods, various licensing systems, and registration have no statistically discernible impact. A survey of felons also revealed that the ownership of firearms by half of all households provides a general deterrent to crime that benefits the entire population. Consistent with the reports of criminals, ordinary citizens also report that gun ownership has an important role in preventing crime. Furthermore, banning assault weapons would be ineffective because these weapons cannot easily be converted to fire automatically. Although a waiting period can theoretically save lives, even a short waiting period will inevitably prevent people from protecting themselves against criminal attack during the wait. Nevertheless, a background check on retail handgun sales could be appropriate if it were handled instantly using the same technology that allows a store to receive verification of credit card validity. However, the available evidence suggests that laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms may be costing innocent lives, as indicated by the 1991 mass murder in Killeen, Texas. Finally, gun control should focus on gun safety, as the National Rifle Association is promoting through its programs. Such efforts enhance not only the rights of the 50 percent of families who own guns but also the safety of the 50 percent who do not. Photographs
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Citizen gun ownership; Firearm-crime relationships; Gun Control; Gun control legislation
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