Because most aggressors have less-than-lethal intentions, most of them may perceive guns this way, causing many to refrain from attacking at all rather than risk killing their victim. Although intimidation might be achieved through an attack, it is usually achieved through threats alone—most robberies do not involve injury to the victim. By alone at least 18 studies had been conducted that, without exception, confirmed this fact. This phenomenon can be labeled a redundancy effect, because gun possession makes it unnecessary for the aggressor to actually attack the victim.
Merely threatening to attack is sufficient to induce the victim to comply, because the weapon is perceived as such a lethal one. In contrast, many robbers without weapons must attack their victims at the outset of a robbery, as a way of immediately gaining control. The redundancy effect is not limited to robbers. People committing assaults, without any intent to steal, are also less likely to actually attack their victims, instead of confining their aggression to a threat, if the assaulter possesses a gun.
This moral complexity may explain why these effects are rarely addressed in the public debate over guns. It is easier to think in black-and-white terms, and the idea that empowering bad people could have any good effects is unthinkable to some people. Nevertheless, the evidence indicates that, when one takes into account all of these various gun effects on attack, the net effect of offender gun possession is that it reduces the likelihood of attack.
Injury If an attack does occur, it may or may not result in injury e. The attributes of weapons that can facilitate attack may also reduce the attack completion rate by encouraging attacks at a longer range, against more formidable opponents, or under more difficult conditions. It is possible to shoot a victim from a great distance, but the rate at which this is achieved is lower than the share of thrown punches that strike the victim.
Regarding the more common close-range gun attacks, people unfamiliar with firearms marksmanship might assume that shooters are virtually certain to hit their target. The rate of success in an aggressor inflicting injury on a victim is far lower in attacks with guns than in attacks with knives and other attacks.
Even individuals trained and presumably emotionally prepared to shoot under stressful conditions, such as police officers, usually cannot hit their targets. Police shooting policies usually forbid firing warning shots, and thus when the officers fire their guns they intend to shoot suspects. This success rate is probably even lower among civilians, who have not had the training and experience of police officers, and the NCVS data support this expectation. Thus, there is strong reason to believe that the net effect of offender gun use in violent crimes is that it decreases the fraction of attacks resulting in injury.
Death About 1 of 7 assaultive gunshot woundings known to the police results in death Kleck, Because many less serious nonfatal gunshot woundings never come to the attention of authorities, the true death rate is almost certainly lower than this.
Nevertheless, gunshot wounds are more likely to result in death than are those inflicted by a knife, the weapon that is generally assumed to be the next most lethal among those that could be used in the same circumstances as guns.
One of the central mysteries of the guns—violence field is the degree to which the higher fatality rate of gunshot attacks is due to the greater inherent lethality of firearms or to the greater degree to which people who use guns with which to attack are more willing to kill their victims. In other words, is the difference in fatality rates due to differences in weapon lethality or differences in attacker lethality? Attackers do not randomly choose their weapons or merely use whatever is available.
It is a rare gun homicide that occurs when a knife or blunt instrument is not also available, and all gun killers obviously also have hands and feet with which they could have attacked the victim.
Thus, guns are chosen by aggressors over other available weapons. Furthermore, scholars generally agree that aggressors choose weapons suited to their goals and that the aggressors who choose guns probably have more lethal intentions than those who choose knives.
Consequently, some of the higher fatality rates of gun attacks are due to attacker differences instead of weapon lethality differences.
The comparison of gun lethality versus knife lethality, however, is something of a red herring, or at the very least a distraction from more policy-relevant issues. The vast majority of existing gun laws and proposed control measures apply exclusively to, or with greater strictness toward, handguns, whereas long guns, such as shotguns and rifles, are left relatively unregulated. Thus, many offenders are free to substitute long guns when handgun-only controls deny them the preferred handgun.
Most homicides are committed under circumstances in which it was not essential that a handgun be used concealability or easy portability of the weapon was not essential , so the substitution issue that is most frequently relevant to debates over handgun controls is the substitution of long guns for handguns, not the substitution of knives for guns. There is little doubt that long guns are more lethal than handguns.
Long guns are also more accurate than handguns; a shooter using a long gun is more likely to wound the victim. To the extent that handgun controls attain their proximate goal of denying handguns to at least some prospective attackers, but do not significantly restrict access to long guns, they are more likely to lead to substitution of more lethal weapons than less lethal ones.
The policy implication is that if a subset of the population is to be legally denied guns, the restriction should cover all gun types, not just handguns. Offender Gun Use in Robbery Weapon effects in the context of robberies merits its own separate discussion. Federal Bureau of Investigation, a. The effects of offender possession and use of guns on the frequency and outcomes of robberies are quite complex, but research supports the following conclusions: Total gun ownership levels criminal and noncriminal combined have no net effect on total robbery rates.
On the other hand, we do not know the impact of gun ownership among criminals, or rates of gun carrying—and thus the immediate availability of guns for robbery—on robbery rates. Higher gun ownership levels probably increase the rate of gun robberies, and decrease the rate of nongun robberies, thereby increasing the fraction of robberies involving guns.
Injuries are less common in gun robberies than in nongun robberies; therefore, decreases in gun use among robbers would probably increase the fraction of robberies that result in injury. When injuries are inflicted on robbery victims, those inflicted by gun-armed robbers are no more likely to result in hospital treatment of some kind than those inflicted by other robbers.
Injuries inflicted by gun-armed robbers are more likely to result in hospitalization overnight than those inflicted by unarmed robbers, but they are about the same in this respect as injuries in knife robberies and somewhat less likely to result in overnight hospitalization than injuries inflicted by robbers armed with weapons other than guns or knives. Thus, there is currently no empirical basis for believing that if knives were substituted for guns, the fraction of injuries requiring hospital treatment or overnight hospitalization would decrease.
This is partly due to the fact that victims are less likely to resist gun-armed robbers. Thus, if fewer robbers were armed with guns, more victims would probably manage to retain their property. Guns enable robbers to tackle more lucrative and risky targets, such as businesses, instead of more vulnerable ones, such as women, children, and the elderly.
Reducing gun availability could cause robbers to switch from the former to the latter targets, shifting the burden of robbery to those most vulnerable to injury and least able to bear the financial losses. Gun robberies are more likely than nongun robberies to result in the death of the vulnerable victims. It is unknown, however, whether this is due to the lethality of guns or the greater willingness to kill of robbers who use guns.
Gun reductions therefore may or may not produce any reduction in robbery murders, depending on the impact of gun scarcity on a the number of robberies; b how much of an increase in the number of injuries this causes; and c how much the fatality rate declines among this increased number of injuries, assuming it declines at all.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that most gun control legislation restricts primarily or only handguns, but most incarcerated felons say they would substitute long guns, such as sawed-off shotguns, if they could not carry handguns.
This suggests that laws that reduce only the availability of handguns would increase the fraction of robbery attacks resulting in death by inducing the substitution of more lethal long guns. On the other hand, gun scarcity would also probably increase the number of robbery injuries and shift the burden of victimization to victims less able to bear the burden, without reducing the number of robberies and without necessarily reducing robbery killings. Therefore, it is unclear whether the overall set of social consequences of gun scarcity would be favorable with regard to robbery.
Crime-Disrupting Defensive Effects of Victim Use of Guns Defensive gun use by crime victims is both common and effective in preventing injury to the victim and property loss. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Compared with other industrialized nations, the United States has higher rates of violent crime, both fatal and nonfatal, and a higher rate of gun ownership Kleck, , p.
This belief in a causal effect of gun levels on violent crime rates has in turn led many people to conclude that limiting the availability of guns would substantially reduce violent crime, especially the homicide rate. It is not so widely known, however, that large numbers of crime victims in America also use guns in the course of crimes, in self-defense. Bridge, T. Chen, and L. Perper, C. Allman, G. Moritz, M. Wartella, and J. Perper, G. Baugher, and C. Schweers, and C. Bridges, F.
Stephen, Kimberly M. Tatum, and Julie C. Briggs, J. Britt, Chester L. Oppel, Jr. Brent, J. Schweers, C. Roth, and L. Department of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury, July Department of Justice, a. Department of Justice, b. Department of Justice, January 27, Cagle, M.
Christine, and J. Webster, J. Kozio-McLain, C. Block, D. Campbell, M. Curry, F. Gary, N. Glass, J. McFarlane, C. Sachs, P. Sharps, Y. Ulrich, S. Wilt, J. Manganello, X. Xu, J. Schollenberger, V. Frye, and K. Cantor, D. Kasprzyk, G. Duncan, G. Kalton, and M. Singh, eds. Carbone, Paul S. Clemens, and Thomas M. Cavanagh, J. Carson, M.
Sharpe, and S. Cavanaugh, Joseph E. Alpers, K. Agho, and M. Chaudri, V. Chauhan, P. Cerda, S. Messner, M. Tracy, K. Tardiff, and S. Cherney, Samantha, Andrew R. Morral, and Terry L. Teplin, and K. Coben, J.
Steiner, M. Barrett, C. Merrill, and D.In analyses that used the voting, veteran population, and outdoor magazine instruments individually each of which was statistically significant in the first stage , the authors found no statistically significant effect of firearm prevalence on firearm homicides for two of the instruments voting, veteran population and a statistically significant negative relationship between firearm prevalence and firearm homicides for the third outdoor magazine subscription rate. Other methodological issues are specific to studies that examine specific types of homicides, such as those committed by youth or by an intimate partner. Tatum, and Julie C. The effects of offender possession and use of guns on the frequency and outcomes of robberies are quite complex, but research supports the following conclusions: Total gun ownership levels criminal and noncriminal combined have no net effect on total robbery rates. Stronger study designs may be available to more persuasively establish the causal effects of gun ownership or gun prevalence on violent crime; however, many such study designs are currently hampered by poor information on the prevalence of gun ownership and the consequent reliance on proxy measures of availability and prevalence.
The effects of offender possession and use of guns on the frequency and outcomes of robberies are quite complex, but research supports the following conclusions: Total gun ownership levels criminal and noncriminal combined have no net effect on total robbery rates. Tardiff, and S. Carbone, Paul S.
Long guns are also more accurate than handguns; a shooter using a long gun is more likely to wound the victim. Cook, eds.
Conclusion and Bibliography I. Cagle, M. On the other hand, gun scarcity would also probably increase the number of robbery injuries and shift the burden of victimization to victims less able to bear the burden, without reducing the number of robberies and without necessarily reducing robbery killings.