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NCJ Number: 47870 Find in a Library
Title: IS GUN CONTROL LIKELY TO REDUCE VIOLENT KILLINGS?
Journal: UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW REVIEW  Volume:35  Dated:(1968)  Pages:721-737
Author(s): F ZIMRING
Date Published: 1968
Page Count: 17
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE USE OF BOTH GUNS AND KNIVES AS WEAPONS IN ATTACKS IS STUDIED IN ORDER TO EVALUATE WHETHER GUN CONTROL WOULD REDUCE THE HOMICIDE RATE.
Abstract: THE DEBATE OVER WHETHER GUN CONTROL LAWS WILL KEEP A PERSON FROM KILLING OR WHETHER A PERSON MOTIVATED TO KILL WILL FIND A WEAPON, REGARDLESS, IS ADDRESSED. THIS REPORT ANALYZES DATA RECEIVED FROM THE CHICAGO (ILLINOIS) POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR THE YEAR 1967. GUN CONTROL LAWS WOULD HAVE NO EFFECT IF THE ONLY INTENT OF KILLERS WERE TO KILL. STATISTICS FROM CHICAGO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON THE DEGREE TO WHICH HOMICIDES RESULT FROM AN AMBIGUOUS, RATHER THAN A SNGLE-MINDED, ATTACK. MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF ALL KILLINGS INVOLVED SPOUSES, LOVERS, FRIENDS, OR TAVERN GUESTS AS VICTIM AND ATTACKER. THE NATURE OF THE ATTACK IS SIMILARLY RELATED -- 82 PERCENT OF THE HOMICIDES WERE A RESULT OF DOMESTIC, LIQUOR, OR MONEY ALTERCATIONS. IN 54 PERCENT OF THE HOMICIDES, THE VICTIM, THE OFFENDER, OR BOTH HAD BEEN DRINKING PRIOR TO THE ATTACK. THESE DATA SUGGEST THAT OFTEN THE MOTIVE IN AN ATTACK IS NOT TO KILL AT ANY COST. THE RELATIVE POTENTIAL LETHALITY OF VARIOUS WEAPONS IS ASSESSED IN ORDER TO DETERMINE HOW THE WEAPON USED AFFECTS THE HOMICIDE RATE. THE ACQUAINTANCE OF THE VICTIM AND OFFENDER AND THE LOCATION OF THE ACT SHOW THAT THE WEAPON RANGE IS NOT NECESSARILY A CRITICAL FACTOR IN THE ATTACK. MANY ATTACK INSTRUMENTS ARE POSSIBLE, BUT THE MOST COMMON, NEXT TO FIREARMS, ARE KNIVES. THE ABSENCE OF GUNS WOULD PRODUCE A GREAT MANY MORE KNIFE ATTACKS AND A SUBSTANTIALLY GREATER NUMBER OF ATTACKS USING HANDS OR FEET AS POTENTIALLY HOMICIDAL WEAPONS. KNIVES ARE PROBABLY THE MOST GENERALLY DANGEROUS WEAPONS AFTER FIREARMS. THE NUMBER OF SERIOUS KNIFE ATTACKS IN 1967 WAS 2.3 TIMES THAT OF GUN ATTACKS. HOWEVER, THE DEATH RATE PER 100 REPORTED KNIFE ATTACKS WAS ONE-FIFTH THE RATE OF GUN DEATHS. THIS MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE INTENT TO KILL, WHICH WAS ASSESSED BY THE LOCATION OF WOUNDS (I.E., SERIOUS WOUNDS ARE ON HEAD, NECK, BACK, CHEST, OR ABDOMEN). PROBLEMS WITH THIS MEASURE ARE NOTED; E.G., MINOR KNIFE WOUNDS MAY BE DUE TO THE VICTIM'S EFFECTIVE SELF-DEFENSE. MULTIPLE WOUNDS MAY ALSO INDICATE THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE ATTACKER'S INTENT TO KILL. DATA SHOW THAT PROPORTIONS OF REPORTED GUN AND KNIFE ATTACKS WHICH MAY BE CONSIDERED SERIOUS ARE APPROXIMATELY EQUAL. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT BY TAKING EVEN THE MOST NEGATIVE INTERPRETATIONS OF ATTACK STATISTICS -- THAT IS, ASSUMING ONLY SERIOUS PUNCTURE KNIFE WOUNDS REFLECTED INTENT TO KILL WHILE ALL GUNSHOT ATTACKS WERE IN EARNEST -- THE DEATH RATE PER 100 ATTACKS BY GUNS IS STILL 2.5 TIMES THAT OF KNIFE ATTACKS. FINALLY, IN SUGGESTING FURTHER RESEARCH CONCENTRATED ON THE DEADLY ATTACK, IT IS NOTED THAT VICTIMS AND ATTACKERS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY BLACK AND DISPROPORTIONATELY MALE. (BAC)
Index Term(s): Assault and battery; Gun Control; Handguns; Homicide; Motivation; Studies; Weapons
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47870

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