Do Higher Gun Ownership Levels Reduce Community Feelings of Safety?

16 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Gary Kleck

Gary Kleck

Florida State University - College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date Written: May 28, 2013

Abstract

Fear of crime can have detrimental effects on health and feelings of well-being. People who own guns for self-defense say that they feel safer because of their guns. Hemenway et al. (1995), asserted, based on responses to one hypothetical question on a single survey, that gun ownership, even by noncriminals, reduces community feelings of safety. This study tests the hypothesis that higher community levels of gun ownership reduce feelings of safety, especially among persons who do not own guns. The study used a multi-level design in which the feelings of safety and fear were measured in national surveys and then linked with community-level measures of gun ownership, controlling for community crime rates and police levels, as well as various individual-level determinants of fear of crime. The sample was composed of 2,897 residents of large U.S. cities who responded to the General Social Surveys. No significant fear-increasing effects of community gun levels were found, for either the full sample, or separately for those who do not own guns. Higher levels of community gun ownership show no evidence of increasing fear among those who do not themselves own guns.

Keywords: gun levels, fear

Suggested Citation

Kleck, Gary, Do Higher Gun Ownership Levels Reduce Community Feelings of Safety? (May 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3607107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3607107

Gary Kleck (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

Eppes Hall
112 S. Copeland Street
Tallahasse, FL 32306-1206
United States

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