Crime Essay, Research Paper
This research is important to complete because it could shed some light on alternative ways to deter and prevent crime. Many believe that concealed handgun laws, also referred to as ?shall issue? laws, if enacted, would cause lawlessness similar to the days of the Wild West. I believe that reliable and valid research may be completed to prove just the opposite.
States that do not have shall issue laws in place could benefit because it would enable them to analyze the effects of such a law and aid legislatures in determining whether or not such a law would be feasible for adoption in their respective states. Those states that have already enacted such a law could examine the results of this study and make adjustments in specific policies. These benefits, among others, would add another tool in the fight against crime.
The theoretical base for this research is straightforward: more guns, less crime. If law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, the occurrence of violent crimes will be reduced. This is due to the effect of deterrence.
The key concepts that will be used in this research are violent crimes, concealed handgun laws, and deterrence effect.
Violent crimes- those crimes including murder, murder with guns, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Concealed handgun laws- also referred to as ?shall issue? laws; laws mandating that authorities ?shall issue? permits to concealed handguns.
Deterrence effect- refers to the notion that allowing citizens to carry firearms will increase criminals? uncertainty regarding an armed response and increase criminals? certainty in being punished, thus leading to less crime.
For my related research I chose to use ?Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns? by John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard, and ?Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement? by John R. Lott, Jr. and William M. Landes.
The Lott and Mustard study is a quasi-experiment using secondary data. This is a cross-sectional time series (longitudinal) study spanning from 1977 to 1992. The main reason for completing this research was to determine if allowing concealed handguns make it likely that otherwise law-abiding citizens will harm each other or if the threat of citizens carrying weapons will primarily deter criminals. It is basic and explanatory research. Secondary data was the method used for data collection.
The independent variable used in the research was the concealed carry law and this was operationally measured by a very long list of variables. Number of concealed weapons permits, number of police in the state, and personal characteristics such as race, age, and sex are just a few of the variables used as measurements.
The dependent variables used in this research were crime and accidental deaths from guns. These were operationally measured by crime rates (murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, etc.), population characteristics (county population, state population, race, sex, income, etc.), and arrest rates.
The findings of this study show that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without increasing accidental deaths.
The Lott and Landes study is also a quasi-experiment using secondary data. This is a cross-sectional time series (longitudinal) study spanning from 1977 to 1995. The main reason for completing this research was to compare whether a ?shall issue? law will produce a bigger deterrent effect on multiple shootings than on ordinary murders and other crimes. It also is basic and explanatory research. Secondary data was collected from the Lexis/Nexis computerized database and then analyzed.
The independent variable used in the research was the concealed carry law, also referred to as a ?shall issue? law, and was operationally measured using personal characteristics (race, sex, age, income, etc.), number of states with shall issue laws, and number of states without shall issue laws.
The dependent variable used in this study was crime, specifically multiple victim public shootings and bombings. This was measured by number of public shootings, number of murders in public shootings, number of injuries in public shootings, number of actual and attempted bombings, number of actual and attempted incendiary bombings, number of actual and attempted other bomb related incidents and total explosive incidents. The findings of this research show that shall issue laws reduce the number of multiple victim public shootings and provides evidence that the harm from crimes that still occur can be mitigated.
In my research I will use a quasi-experiment research design. For the sampling procedure, I will use secondary data. Rather than completing research on all states with shall issue laws, I will focus on one state in particular: the state of Texas. The reason for narrowing the study is because the Lott and Mustard study used a time span that ended at 1992. Since then Texas has enacted a shall issue law of their own. Data will be gathered from the Bureau of the Census for demographic characteristics, from the Unified Crime Report for crime rate and from county records for arrest rates, crime rates, and permit data.
DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT
The data will be collected by means of secondary data analysis. This research will be done in the same manner as the Lott and Mustard study. That is, independent variables, dependent variables and operationalization will be the same, but applied only to Texas. The use of the same
data collection instrument that Lott and Mustard used would reduce concerns of validity and reliability because it has already been tested.
Lott, John R., Jr. and David B. Mustard, ?Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to Carry Concealed Handguns,? Journal of Legal Studies 26 (January 1997): 1-68.
Lott, John R., Jr. and William M. Landes, ?Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement,? John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No.73 (2D Series): 1-43