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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 168622 Find in a Library
Title: Firearms and Crime
Author(s): D D Polsby
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: Independent Institute
Oakland, CA 94603
Publication Number: ISBN 0-945999-59-3
Sale Source: Independent Institute
134 Ninety-Eighth Avenue
Oakland, CA 94603
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on an analysis of the effectiveness of gun control legislation, this study concludes that current gun-control laws have little if any effect on the rate of violent crime and are more likely to do harm than good.
Abstract: The core of the gun-control problem lies in three related issues: compliance with current gun laws; the relationships between the availability of firearms on the one hand and various social pathologies, such as violent crime and suicide, on the other; and how the patterns of actual private firearms possession affect rates of crime and suicide. Compliance with gun-control laws will be directly proportional to what gun owners believe to be their rights in the matter. By any reasonable measure of availability, guns have become far less available to members of the general public than they were a generation ago; however, the violent crime rate is greater under more restrictive gun laws than under previous less restrictive gun laws. Legal barriers affect availability differently for different people, depending on the compliance factors. This study reviews five widely cited papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine that have become the standard authorities for the proposition that guns hurt and gun control laws help. The analysis of these studies concludes that they weakly support the propositions for which they are so often cited in support of the effectiveness of gun control. The consequences of efforts to suppress the abuse of drugs show the futility of attempting to regulate a product for which there is high demand. Further, increasing gun control is more likely to keep law-abiding citizens from having guns than to reduce significantly their possession by criminals. 66 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Citizen gun ownership; Firearm-crime relationships; Gun Control; Gun control legislation
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