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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83007 Find in a Library
Title: Role of Firearms in Violent Crime - An Interpretive Review of the Literature (From Criminal Violence, P 236-291, 1982, Marvin E Wolfgang and Neil Alan Weiner, ed. - See NCJ-83002)
Author(s): P J Cook
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 56
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Focusing on the literature and on the role of firearms in violent crime, the paper predicts the effects of changes in gun availability on the rates and incidence of violent crimes, based on an analysis of the patterns of weapon use in violent crime. It reviews and evaluates each prediction.
Abstract: It discusses recent trends in gun availability (patterns in gun ownership, regulations governing handgun commerce and the difficulty in circumventing these regulations, and the propensity to go armed in public). The paper explores the relationship between the offender's task and weapon type, the perpetrator's intent, and the effects of gun availability. It looks at patterns of gun use in robbery, murder, and assault; the role of weapon type in determining the outcome of violent attacks; and an evaluation of gun control ordinances. The paper concludes that the role of firearms in violent crime is still largely unexplored. Gun availability does not have much effect on the rates of robbery and aggravated assault but does have a direct effect on the fractions of such crimes that involve guns. Since gun attacks are intrinsically more deadly than attacks with other weapons, gun availability is directly related to the homicide rate. Increased gun availability promotes a relative increase in robberies and homicidal attacks on relatively invulnerable targets. There is persuasive evidence that several gun-related legal interventions have been effective in reducing violent crime. Evaluations of the impact of legal interventions and interviews with violent criminals are needed. The new gun control regulations reviewed are the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Bartley-Fox amendment, and the Firearms Control Act of 1975. Tables, a graph, a flow chart, and about 75 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Firearms acts; Gun Control; Handguns; Violent crimes; Weapons violations
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