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NCJ Number: 228932 Find in a Library
Title: Why Do People Support Gun Control?: Alternative Explanations of Support for Handgun Bans
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:37  Issue:5  Dated:September-October 2009  Pages:496-504
Author(s): Gary Kleck; Marc Gertz; Jason Bratton
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 9
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: In order to test competing theories about why people support handgun bans, data were analyzed from a 2005 national telephone survey.
Abstract: The survey found that 30 percent of American adults supported a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by police and security guards. Support for gun control derived partly from a belief that gun control is an effective method for reducing violence, but this explanation had only limited power in explaining positions on this issue. Many people favored gun control measures even though they believed it would not reduce crime, and others opposed gun controls even though they believed that they would reduce crime. In addition, support for gun control did not generally derive from personal experiences of crime; robbery and burglary victims were no more likely than nonvictims to favor banning handguns; and the experience of being an assault victim reduced support for banning handguns. These findings indicate that a rising crime rate will not produce increased support for handgun bans, and support for handgun bans will not wane if crime goes down. This suggests that positions on gun control continue to be driven by the same cultural conflict and antipathies that have divided the Nation for decades. Those who have faith that police can adequately protect them from criminals support gun control; and those who believe that they cannot rely on the police believe private citizens must be armed to protect themselves adequately. Data were obtained in a national telephone survey of 450 adults resident of the United States who were interviewed between March 22 and April 19, 2005. The principal dependent variable was level of support for the banning of possession of handguns except for police and security personnel. 2 tables, 1 figure, 45 references, and appended bivariate correlation matrix
Main Term(s): Crime prevention planning
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Gun Control; Gun control legislation; Handguns; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime
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