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Influence of Automatic Firearms on the Presence of Multiple Victims of Violence: A Research Note

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2009 Pages: 89-105
Nicholas E. Libby; James D. Wright
Date Published
February 2009
17 pages
This study investigated the impact of automatic firearm usage on the presence of multiple victims within a violent encounter.
Findings indicate that automatic firearms significantly increase the chances of an incident involving multiple victims. Furthermore, results show that the incidents occurring in nonresidential indoors locations are also significantly more likely to have more than one victim when compared to residences, although locations that are outdoors do not have significant differences on the likelihood of multiple victim involvement. Residences likely have a smaller potential victim pool, and outdoor locations provide for more mobility of potential victims as well as more space for multitudes of people to occupy. Within nonresidential inside locations, such as retail stores, bars, office buildings, and the like, there is the combination of a higher potential victim pool and limited space for people to occupy, forcing people closer together and reducing victim mobility. The firing mechanism of a firearm does not necessarily alter the dangerousness of the weapon; however, automatic weapon use does have the possible effect of increasing collateral damage by affecting multiple victims, including bystanders. Bullet size, wound location, and marksmanship all serve as predictive factors in lethality of firearm usage. The most dramatic variable which contributed to the likelihood of multiple people becoming victims in a violent encounter was multiple offenders. Finally, incidents arising out of criminal activity and romantic conflict were more likely to involve multiple victims compared to arguments. Data were collected from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for 2005 collected by and obtained directly from the FBI. Tables, note, and references