10 October 2009

Self-Defensive Gun Use by Crime Victims

Timothy C. Hart; Terance D. Miethe: Self-Defensive Gun Use by Crime Victims: A Conjunctive Analysis of Its Situational Contexts, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:25 Issue:1 Dated:February 2009 Pages:6-19


The study found results similar to other research; after examining self-defensive gun use with National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data analysis revealed that victims of violence rarely used a firearm self-defensively during a criminal incident. It was found that only 1 percent of the over 20,000 violent offenses in the sample involved self-defensive gun use. The average level of self-defensive gun use was also infrequent (2 percent) when the unit of analysis was the 42 situational contexts observed in this study (situational contexts include such crimes as assault, rape, robbery, time of day or night, etc.). Even in the most prevalent context for defensive gun use, rape, only 17 percent of the victims in these situations said that they used a gun for self-protection. The likelihood of defensive gun use varies widely across contexts and is most often effective at helping the victim rather than hurting them in those situational contexts in which self-defensive gun use occurs. However, because NCVS data do not include homicide victims and may be susceptible to various types of social desirability factors that minimize the expression of negative feelings about one’s self-protective actions in general, it is suggested that these results be viewed as tentative until confirmed through other data sources. Data were collected from 20,631 respondents who experienced nonfatal violent victimization.