Academic Minute Podcast
Teddy Wilson, University at Albany – The Co-Occurrence of Illegal Gun Carrying and Gun Violence Exposure
On Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy Week: Gun violence is a sad fact of life in the United States.
Teddy Wilson, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice, examines efforts to limit the number of guns on the street.
Theodore “Teddy” Wilson is an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice in Rockefeller College at the University at Albany, SUNY. Teddy’s primary research interests include decision making (both on the part of offenders and criminal justice practitioners) and quantitative methods. His current research focuses on exapting constructs from behavioral economics that can be applied to improve understanding of offender and criminal justice practitioner decision making. He is also interested in unpacking and explaining racial and social inequalities arising throughout the criminal justice process. He earned his BA, MA, and PhD in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland.
The Co-Occurrence of Illegal Gun Carrying and Gun Violence Exposure
The US continues to experience a gun violence crisis with roughly 14,000 victims of gun homicide and an additional 100,000 people injured in nonfatal shootings each year. Many are also struggling with issues of police legitimacy and broader trust or faith in the police to keep them safe from this surge in violence in their communities. An important adaptation to these dual crises lay in carrying a gun.
Our study was directed at understanding the consequences attending gun carrying. Specifically, we looked at the relationship among illegal gun carrying and gun violence exposure as a witness and as the victim.
In this study, we wanted to look at gun carrying as a dynamic or episodic factor instead of trying to neatly separate people into those that do and those that do not carry guns. Instead, we adopt the position that people shift in and out of periods of gun carrying due to a host of reasons stated by research including the difficulty in acquiring a gun, losing said gun, having that gun stolen, and so forth.
We completed this study using data from the Pathways to Desistance Study, a study of youth found guilty of a serious crime in Phoenix or Philadelphia in the early 2000s. These individuals were tracked for several years and interviewed every 6 months on their offending and victimization experiences. This let us look deeper into the co-occurrence of gun carrying and gun victimization over time.
We found strong evidence that gun carrying is highly episodic for this high-risk sample, and we found further evidence that gun carrying and gun violence exposure co-occur at a very high rate. This strong co-occurrence of these factors would suggest lowering one would lower the other, and gun carrying is more amenable to immediate policy change than gun violence is.
[American Journal of Epidemiology] – The Co-Occurrence of Illegal Gun Carrying and Gun Violence Exposure: Evidence for Practitioners From Young People Adjudicated for Serious Involvement in Crime