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Collective Security and the Ownership of Firearms for Protection

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1987) Pages: 47-62
R L Young; D McDowall; C Loftin
Date Published
16 pages
This study examined the hypothesis that people purchase firearms for protection when confidence in collective institutions of justice and security declines.
Data were drawn from a 1979 Detroit survey of 644 respondents, of whom 219 were adult males. Results indicate that perceptions of the effectiveness of justice and security institutions had a direct impact on the tendency of white males to own guns, suggesting that gun ownership is related to perceived threat of victimization. Further, citizens' confidence in the ability of police and courts to control crime and punish offenders was conceptually and empirically independent of such factors as fear of crime and belief that police should have greater power in the pursuit of criminals. Overall, results suggest generalized fear is not strongly related to the decision to own a gun, but that perceptions of collective security are. Variable descriptions are appended. 35 references.