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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64140 Find in a Library
Title: LOOK AT GUN CONTROL ENFORCEMENT
Journal: JOURNAL OF POLICE SCIENCE AND ADMINISTRATION  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:(DECEMBER 1979)  Pages:439-448
Author(s): P BENDIS; S BALKIN
Corporate Author: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ENFORCEMENT OF GUN LAWS IS EXAMINED, AS THE EXISTENCE OF ENFORCEMENT PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE CONTINUING ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST GUN CONTROL.
Abstract: GUN CONTROL STUDIES ARE UNDERMINED BY THEIR SIMPLISTIC COMPARISONS OF CRIME RATES BETWEEN LOCALITIES WITH STRICT GUN CONTROL LAWS AND THOSE WITH WEAK LEGISLATION. MOREOVER, STUDIES HAVE FAILED TO ADEQUATELY ASSESS THE IMPACT OF GUN AVAILABILITY AND GUN CONTROL LAW ENFORCEMENT. CHICAGO WAS CHOSEN FOR THE STRICTNESS OF ITS LAWS FOR A STUDY OF GUN CONTROL LAW ENFORCEMENT. CASES WERE SAMPLED FROM THE DAILY COURT CALL OF A COUNTY CIRCUIT 'GUN' COURT FOR THE YEARS 1966 TO 1973. THE TIME FRAME ENCOMPASSED A FEW YEARS BEFORE AND AFTER THE PASSAGE OF GUN REGISTRATION LAWS TO COMPLEMENT THE EXISTING STATUTE AGAINST UNLAWFUL USE OF WEAPONS. THE INQUIRY WAS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE NEW LAWS MADE A DIFFERENCE IN CONVICTION RATES AND PUNISHMENT SEVERITY. THE DATA REVEALED A PATTERN OF LOW AND STEADILY DECLINING ENFORCEMENT RATES OF GUN CONTROL LAWS. GUN LAW DEFENDANTS WERE OFTEN DISCHARGED BECAUSE THE SEARCH WAS RULED ILLEGAL. A LOW CONVICTION RATE FOR REGISTRATION VIOLATIONS OCCURRED BECAUSE THEY GENERALLY ACCOMPANIED ADDITIONAL CHARGES. THE SEVERITY OF PUNISHMENT UPON CONVICTION FOR VIOLATION OF A GUN LAW IN CHICAGO WAS A FINE OF ABOUT $90. THE PROBABILITY OF GOING TO JAIL ON SUCH A CONVICTION WAS ONLY 5.7 PERCENT. IT WAS ESTIMATED THAT FOR EVERY PERSON ARRESTED FOR VIOLATION OF A GUN LAW, 99 OTHERS CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON REMAINED UNDETECTED. THE PRACTICE OF CHICAGO COURTS WAS TO CONFISCATE AND DESTROY GUNS RECOVERED IN AN ARREST, THUS REDUCING TO QUANTITY OF GUNS AVAILABLE ON THE STREET. FROM THIS STUDY IT APPEARS THAT ENFORCEMENT IS THE WEAK LINK CONNECTING GUN CONTROL LAWS TO REDUCED CRIME RATES. IN EFFECT, CHICAGO DID NOT HAVE STRONG GUN LAWS BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT HIGHLY ENFORCED. TABULAR DATA AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Firearms acts; Gun Control; Illicit firearms; Law enforcement; Laws and Statutes; Weapons violations
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64140

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