Sights set on curbing gun crime

December 15, 2020

A community or sub-culture encouraging young men's exposure and obsession with guns - as well as ready access to firearms and drugs - can make gun violence 'all too easy', with Flinders University experts promoting a new direction on managing the global problem.

Flinders criminologists conclude that the need to 'dematerialise' the attraction to gun has "never been greater" than "in a post-COVID-19 world in which guns have gained greater salience in many countries".

The Flinders University study published in the international journal Criminology & Criminal Justice, argues that guns and drugs need to be more difficult to acquire and importantly less valued in popular culture to make them less attractive for criminals.

Flinders University Strategic Professor in Criminal Justice Andrew Goldsmith says broad social changes are needed to ensure guns are less attractive and less necessary for criminals seeking to instill fear and seem invincible while carrying out illegal drug related activities.

"Attempts to reduce the harms arising from the incidence, accessibility and use of guns in serious crime could pay more attention to how we might move to 'dematerialise'.

"In essence, the importance and attractiveness of guns in everyday life needs to be reduced.

"It's generally accepted that access to guns increases the levels of violence, particularly in cases of murder, domestic violence, and suicide attempts. Aside from their role in the infliction of violence, guns more often induce a sense of fear and intimidate audiences by their sheer presence as well as being shown to elevate aggressive thinking and hostility."

As well, if there was less illicit drug trafficking, there would be less need for guns among those dealing in drugs, Professor Goldsmith adds.

The Flinders researchers analysed data from in-depth interviews with 75 offenders convicted of serious crimes involving guns to determine how possession of weapons during crimes affected their sense of power and how this lifelong affiliation with weapons supported their drug trafficking activities.

"Most of our 75 interviewees imprisoned for serious gun-related crimes had been deeply mired in illicit drug trafficking," he adds.

The study outlines the power weapons have over victims for criminals which is often coupled with an ongoing social attachment to guns among some criminals that ensures guns are attractive, or prized assets that are often considered necessary among marginalised groups.

"An important part of reducing the appeal of crime guns also relates to tackling the sense of marginalisation and economic precarity that can promote early gun attachment for these groups," Professor Goldsmith says.

"In terms of government policy where effective gun supply restrictions already exist, gun buyback schemes may offer some possibility of reducing gun possession through the exchange of cash or other resources for the guns surrendered, whether those guns are legal or illegal in status," the experts from the Flinders Centre for Crime Policy and Research conclude.
-end-
The article, Taking crime guns seriously: A socio-material perspective (November 2020) by Andrew Goldsmith, Mark Halsey and David Bright (Flinders University) has been published in Criminology & Criminal Justice (SAGE perspectives)
DOI: 10.1177/1748895820971319

Flinders University

Related Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

Combined intimate partner violence that includes sexual violence is common & more damaging
Women who experience sexual violence combined with other forms of intimate partner violence suffer greater damage to their health and are much more likely to attempt suicide, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care published in the International Journal of Epidemiology today [12 November 2020].

As farming developed, so did cooperation -- and violence
The growth of agriculture led to unprecedented cooperation in human societies, a team of researchers, has found, but it also led to a spike in violence, an insight that offers lessons for the present.

The front line of environmental violence
Environmental defenders on the front line of natural resource conflict are being killed at an alarming rate, according to a University of Queensland study.

What can trigger violence in postcolonial Africa?
Why do civil wars and coups d'├ętat occur more frequently in some sub-Saharan African countries than others.

Another victim of violence: Trust in those who mean no harm
Exposure to violence does not change the ability to learn who is likely to do harm, but it does damage the ability to place trust in 'good people,' psychologists at Yale and University of Oxford report April 26 in the journal Nature Communications

Victims of gun violence tell their stories: Everyday violence, 'feelings of hopelessness'
Invited to share their personal stories, victims of urban gun violence describe living with violence as a 'common everyday experience' and feeling abandoned by police and other societal institutions, reports a study in the November/December Journal of Trauma Nursing, official publication of the Society of Trauma Nurses.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Teen dating violence is down, but boys still report more violence than girls
When it comes to teen dating violence, boys are more likely to report being the victim of violence -- being hit, slapped, or pushed--than girls.

Preventing murder by addressing domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence are at a high risk to be murdered -- or a victim of attempted murder -- according to a Cuyahoga County task force of criminal-justice professionals, victim advocates and researchers working to prevent domestic violence and homicides.

'Love displaces violence'
Art historian Eva-Bettina Krems on persistent motifs of peace in art from antiquity to the present day -- dove, rainbow or victory of love: artists draw on recurring motifs.

Read More: Violence News and Violence Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.