New Book Review: Guns, Violence and Criminal Behavior: The Offender's Perspective
Haven't we been saying this all along...
Gun-related crime focus of new book | coloradoan.com | The Coloradoan,
Gun-related crime focus of new book
Research suggests harsher laws not deterrent
BY NATE TAYLOR
Research by two CSU professors shows convicts involved in gun-related crimes aren't deterred by laws designed to limit the availability of firearms.
The research is presented in a book co-authored by the Colorado State University professors set to be released later this month.
Titled "Guns, Violence and Criminal Behavior: The Offender's Perspective," the interview-based book examines conceal carry laws, guns and gang culture, motives for criminal gun use and how incarceration shapes criminal gun use.
CSU professor Prabha Unnithan wrote the book with colleague Paul Stretesky, who is leaving CSU to join Mark Pogrebin as a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver.
The three professors said they wrote the book after realizing there wasn't much research conducted from the perspective of criminal gun users.
"It goes to the source," said Unnithan, director of the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice at CSU.
Conducting interviews with 73 inmates, 67 men and six women, serving prison sentences for gun-related crimes, the book shares the criminals' perspective and stories.
Unnithan said the content of the interviews lends itself to both sides of the gun control issue because criminals indicated they have ways to get around conceal carry laws.
"This shows that gun control only affects law-abiding people and not criminals," Unnithan said. "But the majority of offenders also say (gun laws) really don't affect how they do business if someone has a conceal carry permit. They said if they are in a situation where they feel threatened, they'll fire first."
One criminal interviewed in the book, who was convicted of aggravated assault for using a gun during an altercation with another person, said when the criminal and the victim have a gun during an armed robbery, it possibly could turn into a murder because both parties are armed and threatened.
Pogrebin said one aspect of the research he found most intriguing was criminals who indicated they were more likely to carry guns after becoming hooked on methamphetamine.
"When they got into meth, it was a different mindset and there was a different group of people they starting hanging out with and they started carrying weapons," Pogrebin said.
The three researchers said they had criminal records for the convicts they interviewed and used that as background to help ensure they weren't being lied to.
"Everyone tries to put their best face forward," Stretesky said. "Of course they're going to exaggerate, but in terms of some of the questions we asked, yeah, I think they were being as honest as they could be."