Gun crime
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Flinders University study, supported by the ARC, 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.

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.

They found that the power weapons have over victims for criminals 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.

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 instil fear and seem invincible while carrying out illegal drug related activities.

'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.

 

Photo credit: 

Image: Pxhere (Public Domain).