The Effect of Gun Availability on Violent Crime Patterns

Journal Article

Social scientists have started to find answers to some of the questions raised in the ongoing debate over gun control. The basic factual issue in this debate concerns the effect of gun availability on the distribution, seriousness, and number of violent crimes. Some evidence is available on each of these dimensions of the violent crime problem. The distribution of violent crimes among different types of victims is governed in part by the "vulnerability pattern" in weapon choice. The seriousness of robbery and assault incidents is influenced by weapon type, as indicated by the objective dangerousness and instrumental violence pattern. A reduc tion in gun availability would cause some weapon substitution and probably little change in overall robbery and assault rates—but the homicide rate would be reduced.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cook, PJ

Published Date

  • May 1, 1981

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 455 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 63 - 79

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3349

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-7162

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/000271628145500107


  • en