The case for legal restrictions on gun ownership and use as a strategy for reducing criminal violence relies on factual assumptions about the nature of gun ownership and violent behavior. Five of the most crucial ones are identified and subjected to a comparison with the available empirical evidence. All of the following assumptions were found to be substantially at variance with the evidence: (1) Guns are five times deadlier than the weapons most likely to be substituted for them in assaults in which guns are not available. (2) The sight of a gun can elicit aggression, due to the learned association between guns and violence. (3) If guns are made more expensive, more difficult to obtain, or legally risky to own, people will do without them. (4) Guns are useless for self‐defense or protection of one's family, home, or business, and have no deterrent effect on criminals. (5) Homicides are largely “crimes of passion” committed by otherwise law‐abiding citizens not distinguishable from other people. Therefore, control must be directed at all gun owners rather than select criminal subgroups.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||28|
|Journal||Law & Policy|
|State||Published - Jul 1983|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science