Department of Justice Study Declares Gun Possession as a Crime Deterrent

Affirmative Argument

By: Sam Bourassa

A study conducted by professors of the Social and Demographic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, James D. Wright and Peter Rossi, provides strong evidence in opposition to this common belief that less guns will equal less crime. This study, funded by the Department of Justice, allowed the researchers to interview 1,874 convicted felons in 10 different states about how they felt victim’s gun possession would affect their decisions to commit crimes. The results were indisputable:

81% of interviewees agreed that a “smart criminal” will try to determine if a potential victim is armed

74% indicated that burglars avoided occupied dwellings, because of fear of being shot

57% said that most criminals feared armed citizens more than the police

40% of the felons said that they had been deterred from committing a particular crime, because they believed that the potential victim was armed.

57% of the felons who had used guns themselves said that they had encountered potential victims who were armed.

34% of the criminal respondents said that they had been scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed citizen.

It should be noted that these researcher’s original belief was that strict gun control would prevent crime, however the evidence was conclusive enough to change both researcher’s beliefs.

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The logic is simple; when a potential victim is armed, suddenly attempting to victimize the citizen is much more dangerous for the offender. Further evidence of this fact can be found everywhere, both nationally and globally. In 1982, the city of Kennesaw Georgia mandated gun ownership in every home (with some exceptions, such as religious conflictions). After the implementation of this law, the city saw an 89% decrease in crime. It is true that crime in general was on the decline during these years anyway, but the 89% decrease is much more drastic compared to the 10% crime decrease in the remainder of the state

Globally, one can look at countries such as Russia or Norway to see the lack of effect that gun control has on crime rates. A study was conducted by the University of Harvard which compared the United State’s homicide rates with the homicide rates of dozens of other countries of varying gun control laws. Russia, which had less than half of the amount of firearms in the country than the U.S. did, still had three times the amount of homicides per capita. In contrast, Norway, which had nearly three times the amount of firearms in the country than the U.S., had a mere one-fifth of the amount of homicides per capita. Clearly, if any relationship exists between gun control and violent crime rates, it’s that civilian gun ownership prevents crime.

Cruz, Jennifer “Harvard Study Concludes That Gun Control Does Not Prevent Murders, Other Violent Crime.” Gunscom. 30 September, 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

This article summarizes the study conducted by Harvard quite nicely. Tables are presented which only discredit the theory that gun control prevents crime. Countries other than Russia and Norway can also be examined to see the same effect, though these are admittedly the most notable countries for this argument.

Hamilton, Jonathan & Burch, David. “Gun Ownership – It’s The Law in Kennesaw.” Accessed on 15, November 2014. Retrieved from:

This article examines the affects of Kennesaw, Georgia’s mandatory gun ownership law. The evidence is very conclusive. When the likelihood of a victim having a gun is increased (or in this case, nearly guaranteed), crime rates will drop.

Wright and Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms (N.Y.: Aldine de Gruyter, 1986)

In this study, 1,874 inmates were interviewed on how greater gun ownership would affect their willingness to commit crimes. Coming from criminals themselves, I find this to be indisputable evidence that gun ownership is a great deterrent of crime.