Reassessing the Association between Gun Availability and Homicide at the Cross-National Level

Abstract

This paper had two objectives. First, to examine the association between gun availability, gun homicide, and homicide in a manner that better accounts for potential simultaneity than previous cross-national research. Second, to examine the manner that the relationship between gun availability and violence is shaped by socio-historical and cultural context. The results lend little support to the notion that gun availability operates uniformly across nations to influence levels of violence. Rather, these results suggest that the nature of the relationship between gun availability and violence is shaped by the socio-historical and cultural processes occurring across nations.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    When considering the relationship between gun availability and homicide, instrumental variables must meet three conditions. First, they must be highly correlated with actual levels of gun availability. Second, they must not be correlated with the error term. Third, they must not affect homicide rates. Hoskin (2001) did not include instrumental variables that meet these conditions in his models. Nor did he provide results from post estimation tests that can support the notion that his instruments were valid. This raises the possibility that the models reported by Hoskin (2001) were misspecified.

  2. 2.

    For a detailed discussion of cultural theories of homicide see Corzine et al. (1999)

  3. 3.

    Available online at http://www.siuc.edu/~fsolt/swiid/swiid.html

  4. 4.

    Post hoc analyses conducted using gross Gini indicators did not differ substantially from analyses using the net Gini indicator.

  5. 5.

    We also considered the possibility that lagged gun homicide and homicide drove levels of gun availability (i.e. the reciprocal effects of crime on gun availability). These models showed no lagged effects of gun homicide on gun availability.

  6. 6.

    We also explored combinations of the advanced nations such as including Asian industrial nations or other non-Western nations. Some differences were also found between the models that included industrial nations and those Western nations.

  7. 7.

    The number of observations decreased substantially in the regional models. As such, the .10 alpha level was reported in the tables that included these models. This is common in cross-national research (cf. Pratt & Godsey, 2003).

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Correspondence to Irshad Altheimer.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 5 Nations included in analyses
Table 6 Correlations and descriptive statistics for nations included in analysis (N = 233)

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Altheimer, I., Boswell, M. Reassessing the Association between Gun Availability and Homicide at the Cross-National Level. Am J Crim Just 37, 682–704 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-011-9147-x

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Keywords

  • Gun availability
  • Homicide
  • Cross-national
  • Comparative