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HOW WELL DOES THE HANDGUN PROTECT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TECHNICAL REPORT 2

NCJ Number
35035
Author(s)
M G YEAGER; J D ALVIANI; N LOVING
Date Published
1976
Annotation
THIS REPORT PROVIDES DATA AND STATISTICAL ANALYSES ON VICTIMIZATIONS AND THE USE OF HANDGUNS IN SELF DEFENSE TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE DANGERS OF HANDGUN OWNERSHIP AND THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF HANDGUNS AS A DEFENSE METHOD.
Abstract
STATISTICS ARE REVIEWED WHICH SHOW THAT A GUN IN THE HOME IS FAR MORE LIKELY TO LEAD TO THE DEATH OR INJURY OF A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND THAN TO THE DEATH OF AN INTRUDER. DATA ON VICTIMIZATIONS AND THE USE OF FIREARMS FOR SELF DEFENSE ARE THEN EXAMINED FOR THE CRIMES OF BURGLARY, ROBBERY, ASSAULT, AND RAPE. IN EACH CASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GUNS IN PREVENTING OR DETERRING THE CRIME IS ANALYZED, AND COMPARED TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OTHER SELF DEFENSE METHODS. THE DATA PRESENTED IN THIS REPORT INDICATE THAT PRIVATE HANDGUN OWNERSHIP PROVIDES NO SIGNIFICANT DETERRENT TO BURGLARY AND VIOLENT CRIME. IT MAY, IN FACT, ESCALATE THE SEVERITY OF THE VIOLENCE IF OFFENDERS BELIEVE THEY MUST BE MORE HEAVILY ARMED THAN THE CITIZENRY. THE STATISTICS ALSO SHOWED THAT THE USE OF A WEAPON IN RESISTANCE TO A CRIMINAL ATTACK USUALLY RESULTS IN GREATER PROBABILITY OF BODILY INJURY OR DEATH TO THE VICTIM. OTHER METHODS OF RESISTANCE, SUCH AS FLIGHT OR VERBAL RESISTANCE, WERE FOUND TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE IN ABORTING THE CRIME WHILE HAVING LESS PROBABILITY OF CAUSING HARM OR DEATH TO THE VICTIM. IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE OFFENDER IS ARMED, NON-RESISTANCE MOST LIKELY RESULTED IN THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF HARM TO THE VICTIM. THE AUTHORS CONCLUDE THAT BECAUSE OF THE SURPRISE NATURE OF MOST VIOLENT CRIME AND THE FACT THAT IT IS LIKELY TO OCCUR BETWEEN STRANGERS, IT IS IMPROBABLE THAT THE VICTIM WOULD HAVE TIME TO USE THE HANDGUN IN ANY EVENT. THEY ARGUE THAT IN LIGHT OF THE RISKS OF HANDGUN OWNERSHIP - THE POSSIBILITY OF ESCALATING THE VIOLENCE OF THE CRIME, AND THE RISK OF ACCIDENTS AND SUICIDES AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS - OTHER SAFER METHODS OF CRIME PREVENTION MUST BE ADOPTED. FOR THE FIRST VOLUME OF THIS SERIES, SEE NCJ-35034. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED) (SNI ABSTRACT)