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Gun Control And Violence In The United States

641 words - 3 pages

G un ownership has been mentioned in connection
with situational crime prevention
for some time.' Empiric research, however,
has provided rather weak and inconsistent support
for increased efforts at gun control.2 One reason may
be that it has focused on cross-sectional analyses in
the United States3 or on evaluations over time of
specific gun control measures in certain states or
counties.4 The difficulty with such research designs
is that neither strict gun control nor passage of a new
law in some states necessarily affects the number of
guns in the hands of citizens, since guns continue to
be sold in neighbouring states in most cases. This is
well illustrated by the limited variation in the
prevalence of gun ownership across US regions: 29%
of households in the east, 44% in the west, 46%
in the midwest and 54% in the south.5 Therefore,
changes in gun control policies at the state level
may not affect gun availability or rates of violent
Rates of gun ownership tend to vary much more
among countries than within them. However, international
research has received relatively little attention
so far,6 despite the potential of the few such
studies that have been done. Clarke and Mayhew,7 in
comparing homicide rates in the United States and
Britain, found that the US rate of homicides committed
by means other than a gun was 3.7 times
higher than the British rate, whereas the rate of
homicides committed with a handgun was 175 to 1.
They concluded that the much higher gun ownership
rate in the United States may have accounted for
this difference. Sloan and associates8 reached similar
conclusions in a comparison of crime rates in Seattle
and Vancouver. The two cities had the same rates
of burglary, assault and robbery and similar rates of
homicide and assault without a gun. However, in
Seattle the rates of assault with a firearm and of
homicide with a handgun were 7 and 4.8 times

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