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Have Gun Will Shoot?

Have Gun Will Shoot? The weapon instrumentality hypothesis suggests that guns contribute to the escalation and lethality of violence. But the relationship between guns and violence might be spurious if the aggressor's violent tendencies or the aggressor's situation-specific intent to harm is the common cause of the presence/use of a gun and the violent outcome. To examine such rival explanations, we draw on interviews with 100 men imprisoned for an aggravated assault or homicide that stemmed from an interpersonal conflict. Each respondent described a matched pair of conflicts: the violent conflict that led to incarceration and a similar nonviolent conflict from the same time period. The matched pair design allows us to control for both potential sources of spuriousness: violent tendencies and situation-specific intent to harm. The results suggest that guns contribute to the violent escalation of conflict, but the impact of guns attenuates substantially after accounting for situation-specific intent to harm. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Homicide Studies: An Interdisciplinary & International Journal SAGE

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References (36)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
1088-7679
eISSN
1552-6720
DOI
10.1177/1088767907306507
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The weapon instrumentality hypothesis suggests that guns contribute to the escalation and lethality of violence. But the relationship between guns and violence might be spurious if the aggressor's violent tendencies or the aggressor's situation-specific intent to harm is the common cause of the presence/use of a gun and the violent outcome. To examine such rival explanations, we draw on interviews with 100 men imprisoned for an aggravated assault or homicide that stemmed from an interpersonal conflict. Each respondent described a matched pair of conflicts: the violent conflict that led to incarceration and a similar nonviolent conflict from the same time period. The matched pair design allows us to control for both potential sources of spuriousness: violent tendencies and situation-specific intent to harm. The results suggest that guns contribute to the violent escalation of conflict, but the impact of guns attenuates substantially after accounting for situation-specific intent to harm.

Journal

Homicide Studies: An Interdisciplinary & International JournalSAGE

Published: Nov 1, 2007

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