American Homicide Exceptionalism

41 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2017

See all articles by Daniel D. Polsby

Daniel D. Polsby

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Don B. Kates

Deceased

Date Written: March 16, 1998

Abstract

The instrumentality theory of homicide posits that Americans kill each other off at exceptionally high rates because the lethality of interpersonal violence is dictated by the lethality of the instrumentalities, specifically guns, at their disposal. This article argues that the instrumentality theory gets causation backwards and that the perpetrator theory, which asserts that homicides are mostly committed by people with deep personal histories of predatory crime and substance abuse, more accurately explains homicides.

Keywords: homicide, crime rate, gun control

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Polsby, Daniel D. and Kates, Don B., American Homicide Exceptionalism (March 16, 1998). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 69, No. 4, 1998, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2934688 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2934688

Daniel D. Polsby (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Don B. Kates

Deceased

N/A

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