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NCJ Number: 203339 Find in a Library
Title: Pragmatic Gun Policy (From Evaluating Gun Policy: Effects on Crime and Violence, P 1-37, 2003, Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, eds. -- See NCJ-203338)
Author(s): Philip J. Cook; Jens Ludwig
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: Brookings Institution
Washington, DC 20036
Sale Source: Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines national gun policy issues in the United States as it relates to the regulation of gun commerce, possession and use through a review of guns and violence, policy responses, the prevalence of gun ownership, gun acquisitions, and gun carrying.
Abstract: In examining realistic and practical gun policy in the United States, this chapter begins with a look into the issue of guns and violence, specifically gun ownership, gun use, instrumentality, and self-defense. It continues in an attempt to provide an understanding or justification for the need to regulate gun design, gun transactions or acquisitions, and gun carrying. Crucial to a variety of regulations is the fundamental assumption of whether the number of guns in private hands would lead to more or less violence and crime. It seems logical that if guns are more lethal than other means of violence, then keeping guns away from those at high risk of criminal activity may save lives. The paper moves on to examine the prevalence of gun ownership and specifically gun availability and violent crime, gun availability and suicide, and gun availability and residential burglary. The research suggests that in the United States higher gun-prevalence is associated with more homicides and suicides, and potentially even more residential burglaries. In practice, most firearm regulation in the United States is not intended to have much effect on the overall prevalence of guns but rather reduce criminal and reckless use of guns. The overall goal should not be the disarming of law-abiding citizens, but to reduce the number of people who carry guns unlawfully. The effects of permissive gun-carrying regulation are mixed. While there is no evidence to suggest that States should repeal the laws that are already in effect, there is no reliable evidence that enacting laws will save lives or reduce street crime. Some guidance is provided in this paper for a pragmatic approach to gun policy. However, good empirical research should serve as an important check on other means by which policymakers form opinions and choose available options. References
Main Term(s): Gun Control
Index Term(s): Citizen gun ownership; Crime prevention measures; Firearm-crime relationships; Gun control legislation; Policy analysis
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