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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200179 Find in a Library
Title: Firearm Deaths, Gun Availability, and Legal Regulatory Changes: Suggestions From the Data
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:92  Issue:3/4  Dated:Spring/Summer 2002  Pages:823-842
Author(s): Greg S. Weaver
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 20
Type: Historical Overview; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explores Chicago gun homicides between 1879 and 1930, outlines significant developments in firearm laws in the city, and identifies possible factors that influenced changes in the increased availability of firearms.
Abstract: Gun homicides during this period are examined in the context of significant events such as civil unrest, and the period of Prohibition. The discussion of gun homicide in Chicago between 1870 and 1930 is based on analysis of the victim file of the Chicago Homicide dataset. Total and gun homicide counts were identified and then aggregated by year. Rates for total and gun homicide for each year were calculated by using population data derived from "Chicago Since 1840: A Time Series Data Handbook." Overall, the gun homicide rates followed the same general pattern as the total rate, i.e., an increase that included a substantial upturn following 1918. Prior to 1898, the gun homicide rate exceeded 3 per 100,000 persons during the years 1882-1894, at which time the gun homicide rate fell below that level in only 1 year (1910) during the remainder of the period. Following 1918, however, the upswing in the gun homicide rate reappeared. The rate of 7.46 for 1919 dropped to 6.07 in 1920, but increased during the following 8 years, peaking at 11.51 in 1928, the highest gun homicide rate of any year during the period between 1870 and 1930. Restrictions on firearms implemented prior to 1870 increased during and after the period, but the effectiveness of these statutes is still questioned. Restrictions on firearms, particularly handguns, increased during the 1880's and 1920's. The 1880's is best characterized as a time of civil unrest that included a number of incidents of labor disputes and strikes. The 1920's included the Prohibition era, when gun violence was prevalent in battles over control of the illegal liquor market. Suggestions are offered for future research, including a more detailed analysis of how particular incidents of civil unrest affected firearm possession, firearm homicides, and gun law enforcement. A second area of research suggested would involve specifically identifying sources of firearms and determining the extent to which availability increased. 84 footnotes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Firearms; Firearms deaths; Gun Control; Gun control legislation; Homicide; Homicide causes; Homicide trends; Illinois
Note: For other documents related to this study, see NCJ-200171-78 and NCJ-200180-82.
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