Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1–19

Measuring Civilian Defensive Firearm Use: A Methodological Experiment

Authors

  • David McDowall
    • Violence Research Group, School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New York
  • Colin Loftin
    • Violence Research Group, School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New York
  • Stanley Presser
    • Department of SociologyUniversity of Maryland
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007588410221

Cite this article as:
McDowall, D., Loftin, C. & Presser, S. Journal of Quantitative Criminology (2000) 16: 1. doi:10.1023/A:1007588410221

Abstract

Estimates of the incidence of victim gun use from the National CrimeVictimization Survey (NCVS) are consistently lower than are those fromother studies. To examine the divergence, we conducted a survey that gaugedthe impact of methodological differences between the NCVS and the otherstudies. For half of the sample, we asked questions from the NCVS, followedby questions from the other surveys. For the other half of the sample, wepresented the questions in the reverse order. We examined two hypotheses:(1) survey methods account for the divergent results, and (2) the questionscover unrelated activities. The results provided some support for the firsthypothesis, but respondents also reported many more defenses to thequestions from the other surveys than to the NCVS questions. Consistent withthe second hypothesis, this suggests that the NCVS and the other surveysmeasure responses to largely different provocations.

defensive gun usefirearmssurvey researchexperimental designscrossover designs

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000