The Gun Survey



The Gun Survey


The Gun Survey, led by Dr. Rick Frei, is an ongoing student-driven interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at developing a better understanding of gun violence and facilitating community discussion through education.  The project began in 2009 as part of an Applied Psychology course project at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP).  Students conducted focus groups throughout the city of Philadelphia to gain a better understanding of gun behavior and people's attitudes towards the guns.  From these focus groups, we concluded that both life experiences and situational factors influence people's attitudes towards guns.  We developed hypotheses regarding the relationship between gun attitudes and life experiences (ie., exposure to violence growing up, drug use).  The students developed a survey to test their hypotheses, which they adminsitered to nearly 1500 Community College students. 

Bloom, Adi 2009 www. the victims of bullying who wrecked terrible revenge. 

this article was actually narrates an investigation carried out by proff. Laurie Bennette, professor of Education at the Denver University; on why some victims of bullying turn to violent anti-social behaviors while others achieve success. (2005)  Minnesota Killer Admireed Hitler.

Minnesota teenager who was allegedly teased and considered weird and anti-social by other pupils, shot and killed nine people including his grandfather, then killed a further seven people at his high school before turning the gun on himself.

100,000 students carry a gun to school bullying statistics say.  

Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.

Here is more of what the Post found was going on at Columbine:

Bullying was rampant and unchecked. For instance, a father told Post reporters about two athletes mercilessly bullying his son, a Jew, in gym class. They sang songs about Hitler, pinned the youngster to the ground, did "body twisters" on him until he was black-and- blue, and even threatened to set him on fire. The father reported the bullying to the gym teacher, but it continued. When the father took his complaint to the guidance counselor, he said, he was told, "This stuff can happen." The outraged father had to complain to the school board to get relief for his son.


How important were these injustices to Harris and Klebold? Did they care about them, or even know about them? They both knew and they cared. In fact, the Post reports that dozens of interviews and court records alike show that the pair's homicidal anger ". . . began with the injustices of the jocks." 



People with guns in their homes are almost twice as likely to be killed by guns as people who do not keep them at home, researchers reported yesterday in The Annals of Emergency Medicine. And, the researchers found, people with guns are 16 times as likely to commit suicide using guns.


Stolzenberg, L ; D'Alessio, S (2000)  Gun Availability and Violent Crime: New Evidence from the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Using four years of county-level data drawn from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for South Carolina and a pooled cross-sectional time-series research design, we investigate whether gun availability is related to violent crime, gun crime, juvenile gun crime, and violent crimes committed with a knife. We contribute to the literature by distinguishing between illegal and legal gun availability and by using a comprehensive measure of gun crime. Results show a strong positive relationship between illegal gun availability and violent crime, gun crime, and juvenile gun crime. Little or no effect for the legitimate gun availability measure is observed in any of the estimated models. Findings also reveal that illegal guns have little influence on violent crimes committed with a knife. Offenders seem not to be substituting knives or other cutting instruments when illegal firearms become less available. A supplemental analysis also indicates no evidence of simultaneity between gun availability and violent crime. The strong and consistent effect of illegal rather than legal gun availability on violent crime has important policy implications, because it suggests that greater attention should be directed at devising ways for legitimate gun owners to better secure their weapons



Research Summary: Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which for the past several years has been the major federal initiative to combat gun violence, includes several elements (such as gun locks and other efforts to reduce gun availability) that research suggests are likely to have at best modest effects on gun crime. In general, enforcement activities targeted at the “demand side” of the underground gun market currently enjoy stronger empirical support. However much of PSN's budget has been devoted to increasing the severity of punishment, such as by federaliz-ing gun cases, which seems to be less effective than targeted street-level enforcement designed to increase the probability of punishment for gun carrying or use in crime. Policy Implications: PSN and other enforcement activities could be made more effective by redirecting resources toward activities such as targeted patrols against illegal gun carrying. Given the substantial social costs of gun violence, an efficiency argument can also be made for increasing funding beyond previous levels.


Easy Access to Deadly Weapons:


Currently, an estimated 34.5% of households have a gun, while 24% have a handgun.

As of 2004, there were approximately 283 million privately owned firearms in the U.S -- 40 percent of them handguns.

In 1998 alone, licensed firearms dealers sold an estimated 4.4 million guns, 1.7 million of which were handguns. Additionally, it is estimated that 1 to 3 million guns change hands in the secondary market each year, and many of these sales are not regulated.


Young Lives Cut Short

In 2005, nearly 8 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns everyday.

In 2005, firearm homicide was the second leading cause of injury death for men and women 10-24 years of age - second only to motor vehicle crashes.

In 2005, firearm homicide was the leading cause of death for black males ages 15-34.

From 1999 through 2005, an average of over 1,000 children and teenagers took their own lives with guns each year.

Each year during 1993 through 1997, an average of 1,621 murderers who had not reached their 18th birthdays took someone's life with a gun.


Exposure to Gun Violence Increases Teen Violence

Thursday May 26, 2005
Exposure to gun violence makes adolescents twice as likely to perpetrate serious violence in the next two years, according to a University of Michigan study. Researchers found there is a substantial cause and effect relationship between exposure and perpetration of violence.

Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer, a doctoral student in health behavior and health education, analyzed five years of data from adolescents living in 78 neighborhoods in Chicago. Bingenheimer is lead author on a paper in this week's journal Science.

Using a statistical method called propensity stratification, Bingenheimer and coauthors Robert Brennan and Felton Earls aimed to establish a firm cause and effect relationship between exposure to gun violence and later perpetrating violence.

"We wanted to know whether these just tend to occur in the same populations or if one actually caused the other, Bingenheimer said. "These findings suggest there is a substantial cause and effect relationship between exposure and perpetration". Violence can be transmitted from person to person by means of exposure in the community."

Bingenheimer used data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, a longitudinal study that conducted extensive interviews with more than 6,000 young people and their primary care givers on everything from reading proficiency to family members with legal problems to delinquency in their peer groups. Bingenheimer used data from about 1,500 adolescents who were within six months of their 12th or 15th birthday at the time of their first interview.

The project is based at Harvard University, with involvement from Columbia University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins, and Pennsylvania State University, among others. Brennan and Earls are faculty members at Harvard.

A change in leadership at the state Capitol helped open the doors to the gun-related bills and put Tennessee at the forefront of a largely unnoticed trend: In much of the country, it is getting easier to carry guns.

A nationwide review by the Associated Press found that during the last two years, 24 states, mostly in the South and West, have passed 47 laws loosening gun restrictions. Among other things, legislatures have allowed firearms to be carried in cars, made it illegal to ask job candidates whether they own a gun, and expanded agreements that make permits to carry handguns in one state valid in another. 

By Guest Columnist

December 12, 2009, 9:13AM



The domestic violence murders staining our region in the past month have been horrific and relentless. In total, 18 people have lost their lives in less than 30 days. Along with seven women, two young children were shot and killed along with their mothers, and an adult son died trying, unsuccessfully, to protect his mother. All eight male perpetrators committed suicide.

These tragedies have occurred across Oregon, in both urban and rural communities. One thing is clear: Domestic violence is a public health and safety crisis in our state with far-reaching consequences. Individuals, workplaces, schools and agencies are negatively affected. The toll on victims, children, families and communities cannot be measured.

We have a responsibility to our families and our communities to do better .

In the wake of daily stories about gun violence and death, Senator Vince Fumo defends PA's weak gun laws.

The Facts About Kids and Guns

Each year, there are 34,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. How many of those dead are children, and has that number increased in the last few years? Here are the facts.

Safety expert Gavin de Becker found out while researching his books, The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift, that:

Every day, about 75 American children are shot. Most recover — 15 do not.  


The majority of fatal accidents involving a firearm occur in the home.  

Gunshot wounds are the single most common cause of death for women in the home, accounting for nearly half of all homicides and 42 percent of suicides. 

An adolescent is twice as likely to commit suicide if a gun is kept in the home.

More teenage boys in America die from gunfire than from car accidents.

Gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death for teenage boys in America (white, African-American, urban, and suburban).

Researchers at have collected the following statistics on kids and guns:

Twenty-nine percent of high-school boys have at least one firearm; most are intended for hunting and sporting purposes.

Six percent say they carry a gun outside the home.

The National Institute of Justice, 1998


From 1980 to 1997, gun killings by young people age 18 to 24 increased from about 5,000 to more than 7,500.

During the same period, gun killings by people 25 and older fell by almost half, to about 5,000.

The U.S. Department of Justice


There are about 60 million handguns in the United States.

About 2 to 3 million new and used handguns are sold each year.

U.S. Senate Statistics


Nearly 500 children and teenagers each year are killed in gun-related accidents.

About 1,500 commit suicide.

Nearly 7,000 violent crimes are committed each year by juveniles using guns they found in their own homes.

Senator Herb Kohl, sponsor of the safety-lock measure.


Every day in 1994, 16 children age 19 and under were killed with guns, and 64 were wounded in this country.

National Center for Health and Statistics, 1996           

What are the latest developments in the U.S. gun control controversy?

In a major victory for gun control opponents, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2008 that the 2nd Amendment does protect the strictest forms of gun control by rejecting the argument of a more narrow interpretation - that the right is limited to militias. The ruling does not prevent reasonable efforts at gun control but it does prohibit the kind of outright ban of handguns that has existed in Washington D.C..

Gun control was not a major issue in the 2004 Presidential campaign nor does it appear to be a prominent issue in the 2008 campaign. The percentage of Americans who consider "gun control" as an important issue has declined from 3% to 1%. Fewer Americans are supportive of gun control in general  and handgun control in particular.    While the issue has dropped in overall public concern, it remains what politicians consider a "wedge issue" as many opponents of gun control are passionate about their right to unfettered gun ownership and may make voting decisions on this issue alone. Gun control opponents raise far more money than do gun control advocates. The 2008 Democratic platform affirms the 2nd Amendment right of Americans to own weapons while supporting the extension of the assault weapon ban and closing the "gun show" loophole. The Republican Platform contains a strong affirmation of the right to own guns and supports the June 2008 Supreme Court decision.

What is the present level of gun control in the United States?

Like many other aspects of public policy, gun control is a matter of federal, state and even local legislation.

Federal Gun Control

The first major gun control initiative was enacted by Congress in 1934 which regulated the sale of fully automatic firearms like machine guns. This legislation was followed in 1938 by a new federal law which required gun sellers to be licensed and which prohibited persons convicted of violent felonies from purchasing guns. No further legislation was passed by Congress until 1968. The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulated imported guns, expanded gun-dealer licensing requirements, and expanded the list of persons not eligible to purchase guns to include persons convicted of any non-business related felony, minors, persons found to be mentally incompetent, and users of illegal drugs. In 1986, federal legislation established mandatory penalties for the use of a gun in the commission of a federal crime. Also prohibited were "cop killer" bullets capable of penetrating bulletproof clothing. In 1990, legislation was passed which banned the manufacturing and importation of semi-automatic assault weapons.In 1994, Congress passed what has been regarded as the most comprehensive effort at national gun control. The "Brady Bill" named for the press aide who was seriously injured in the assassination attempt on President Reagan imposed a five day waiting period for purchasers of handguns and required local law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks of all purchasers. The Supreme Court held that the background check provision was unconstitutional because it infringed on state's rights. Presently, the law has been revised so that the background check is instantly complished by gun dealers through a national computer system and there is no longer a waiting period. Also in 1994, Congress passed a ban on certain types of assault weapons. This ban expired in 2004. By a narrow margin , the Senate voted to extend the ban but the House did not take action and the ban was allowed to expire. Efforts to revive the ban have been unsuccessful.


Articles about Experiences with Gun Violence 

Bohn, Kevin. (2007). Philadelphia- Teen “afraid everyday as gun violence soars”

This article explains the feelings of a Philadelphian youth who fears for his life because of the alarming rise in gun in his neighborhood. He tells of how he is not sure if he will make it home alive at the end of the day because guns have become easily accessible to ruthless users. His experiences are heartfelt, and his attitude is shared by many people who are against gun usage or advocates for strengthening gun laws. This article is perfect for those who would like to make the argument that weak gun laws are a danger for inner city youth.

Fagan, Jeffery & Wilkinson D.L. (2001). What We Know About Gun Use Among Adolescents. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 4(2), 109-132.

The authors explain of how the current generations of inner city youth have been raised surrounded by gun violence. It details the role of guns in the lives of young people and how their attitudes and behavior are affected. The article provides scientific data on gun acquisition and usage, along with in-depth interviews with 377 active gun offenders from two socially isolated inner-city neighborhoods.


Flam, Faye. (2009). Penn Study: Carrying Guns raises risk of getting 

 This article explains the study done by Charles Branas of the University of Pennsylvania that attempts to prove that carrying a gun makes one more likely to be a victim of gun violence. The study compared the lifestyles of one group of shooting victims to a control group of people who were not shooting victims and came to the conclusion that the shooting victims were four times as likely to be victims of gun violence because they themselves were gun carriers. This article provides prevalent ideas about why some gun violence may occur . 

Raine, Adrian. (2004).Biological Key ‘to unlocking crime’. 

 Dr. Raine discusses his theory of how a person’s biological make- up can contribute to their thoughts of committing a crime. He expresses that biological factors play an equal, if not greater, role than social factors in committing a crime. This article a good for our research because it contrasts the environmental approach to explaining why one may commit a crime.

Tonso, Karen. (2006). Not “Getting Some Guns and Doing Some Damage”: Listening to teens and learning from a Ragtime Festival. Educational Studies, 39 (2), 102-123

This article discusses how the attitudes of teased or antisocial school students have focused heavily on gun violence after the Columbine High School retaliation attacks. Students who are social outcasts are more likely to think of violent acts of crime like murder to solve a social issue than ever before; making the school setting almost as violent as the streets. It also tells the story of how some of those students were directed to the Ragtime Festival as performers to vent their social animosity in a positive manner.

In this article The Obama administration is fudging when it claims that 90 percent of guns used in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. The bogus statistics are being used as an excuse to push gun control. The Obama administration has proposed spending $400 million to stop U.S. guns from going to Mexico. A major part of this plan would be to clamp down on gun shops in America. As with all gun control, new laws will not stop the criminals from getting guns but will curtail the rights of law-abiding individuals and businesses.

Here is Republican US Senate candidate Pat Toomey view on gun control and he disagrees with Governor Rendell's views.

Despite a recent spate of killings, the president and fellow Democrats choose not to wage war on assault weapons.

This is a positive story about gun use and how it saved a woman's life.

annotated biblography from the group research on some oppositional variables relating to Guns and Gun Violence.