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Risk Factors Associated with a Potential Armed Aggressor

Literature review

Finigan-Carr et al. (2014) examined the impact of discerned behavioral control, including decision-making and self-control, as being part of the general structure for the comprehension of the protective and risk factors associated with carrying a gun and aggressive behavior. The examination was founded on the theory that carrying a gun and aggressive behavior are an indication of youth violence. The study used a survey as the tool of data collection, from an intervention trial. Data was collected from 452 students in sixth grade from an urban middle school. The sample was comprised of 52% girls, 96.6% African Americans with a mean age of 12 years. The study results showed that 18.4% of these students had carried a weapon in the last 12 months, with the likelihood to carry a weapon to school higher among boys than in girls at 22.5% to 14.2%. 78.4% of the youth has aggressive behavior experiences with no major differences between boys and girls (81.3%:75.5%). Using logistic regression analysis, the study shows that youth who engage in problematic behaviors are five times more likely to engage in aggression than those who have no or little problematic behavior. For youth whose parents oppose aggressive behavior (confidence interval [CI] = 0.66, 0.88; Odds Ration [OR] = 0.76) and used self-control methods (OR = 0.59; CI = 0.39, 0.87) had less aggressive behavior. With regard to carrying a weapon, protective factors were being a girl (OR = 0.56; CI= 0.32, 0.97) and practicing self-control (OR = 0.52; CI = 0.29, 0.92). Based on these findings, Finigan-Carr et al. (2014) recommends that planned behavior theory could be useful in developing programs for the prevention of violent behavior.

Monuteaux et al. (2015) sought to establish the relationship between the level of firearm ownership in a state and the level of violent crime. They employed a qualitative study using surveys as the study tool. They surveyed the rates of state-level household firearm ownership and the rates of acts of crime annually for three years; 2001, 2002, and 2004. The levels of firearm ownership in a state were from the national survey and crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports. Criminal behavior rates were estimated to be a function of household firearm ownership and negative binomial regression models were used for data analysis. This was done by controlling various demographic factors. The study findings showed that a higher level of firearm ownership within a state was related to a higher level of firearm assault and recovery. In addition, the study showed a significant relationship between firearm ownership within a state and firearm-related homicide as well as homicide in general. The study conclusion was that, based on the study findings, the popular assumption that higher level of firearm ownership reduces firearm associated crime is misleading and to the contrary, those states that have higher firearm ownership levels are at an increased risk of violent crime using a firearm.

Similar to the immediate above study, Altheimer (2010) examined the relationship between the availability of guns and crime prevalence in a sample of cities nationally. The study examined three competing hypothesis; an increase in the availability of guns increases crime, an increase in the availability of guns reduces crime, and an increase in the availability of guns doesn’t have an impact on crime. Data from the International Crime Victimization Survey was used with both endogenous and exogenous variables being used in the analysis. Five endogenous variables were used; gun assault, assault, gun robbery, robbery, and gun availability. Exogenous variables were used in considering; factors that impact on crime at a large scale level, variables that act as instruments for the availability of guns, and the issues related to analyzing small samples, in particular, minimizing multicollinearity and maximizing degrees of freedom. Seven exogenous variables were used; unemployment, age structure, family disruption, sex ratio, the percentage of persons going out at night, concern about crime, and percentage of residents with high income. Data was analyzed through limited information maximum least squats regression and the results suggested that the availability of guns had an influence on the rates of gun assault, assault, gun robbery, and robbery. Based on these findings, the study concluded that an increase in the availability of guns in the cross-national city samples increased the likelihood of a violent crime being committed and with guns being used in the perpetration of these crimes. More importantly, the study findings didn’t seem to suggest an increase in the availability of guns reduces crime.

Sharma, Sharma & Pal (2013) investigated the association between the environment within a family and adolescent adjustment (health, home, social, and emotional.) this study was based on the theory that, the family environment has a role in the likelihood of an adolescent engaging in violent crime. The study assesses a sample of 100 males and 100 female adolescents using the Moos and Moos Family Environment Scale and Bells Adjustment Inventory. The data collected was analyzed through correlation, regression analysis, and t-test. Through regression analysis, the findings showed that family environment had an impact of 80% variance in gender at 32% males and 48% females and 92% variance in schools at 18% for government public school and 74% for private schools. Through t-test, the study showed that in terms of gender, females have better adjustment compared to males and in terms of school; students in private schools have better adjustment compared to students in government public schools. Based on these findings, the study concluded that family environment has a major role in the adjustment of an adolescent.

To determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of violent death in the home and whether the risk varies the type of gun, the practice of storing the gun, and the number of guns in the home, Dahlberg, Ikeda & Kresnow (2004) undertook a qualitative study. The study utilized data from the US mortality follow-back survey. Regression analysis was used for data analysis. The results showed that individuals who have guns in the home are at greater risk of dying from a homicide in the home as compared to those without guns (OR = 1.9, 95%: CI = 1.1, 3.4). Persons with guns were also at a higher risk if dying from firearm homicide, but risk did vary by age and depending on whether the individual was living with others at the time of death. For males, the risk to die of suicide in the home was higher for those with guns in the home as compared to those without guns (OR = 10.4, 95%; CI – 5.8, 18.9). In addition, individuals with guns in their homes were at higher risk of dying from firearm suicide as compared to other suicide methods (OR = 31.1, 95%; CI = 19.5, 49.6). Based on these findings, the study conclusion was that regardless of the practice of storing a firearm, the type of a firearm, or the number of firearms in the home, the mere fact of having a gun in the home was related to a higher risk of homicide and/or suicide using firearm in the home.

Koper (2014) studied the impact of illicit gun markets through identification of the characteristics of sellers, buyers, firearms, and transactions as to predict the probability of using a firearm obtained through illegal purchase in crime. A qualitative research using data of about 72,000 guns purchased in the Baltimore metropolitan areas between 1994 and 1999 was used. Through the period, over 1,800 recoveries of those guns through 2000 were made by the police. A multivariate survival analysis was used to analyze the data. Study findings showed that, with adjusting for time of exposure, firearms sold in the study area had a 3.2% chance of being recovered by the police within five years. Firearms were likely to be recovered if semi-automatic, easily concealed type, middle to large caliber, and cheap; buyer was black, live in or close to the city, female, young, and buyer previously bought a firearm recovered by police; dealer had a history of selling crime guns in or near the city, and the firearm was acquired through multiple transactions. Based on these findings, the study conclusion was the risk factors in the study offered a guide towards understanding the trafficking of firearms, regulations of firearm dealers, and the development of preventive programs. The findings also seem to provide justifications for some of the policies in place for the regulation of some types of firearms.

Johnson et al. (2012) examine the factors that influence lifetime gun-carrying tendencies among urban out-of-treatment women using drugs and substances. A qualitative study was used and a sample of 858 out-of-treatment women using substances from a large Midwestern city used. Data was collected from 2000 to 2004 and the data collection tools used assessed the ownership of firearms, firearm carrying and access, psychopathology, and lifestyle risk factors for the women. Data analysis was done using logistic regression. Study results showed that the most significant factors towards predicting firearm-carrying were participation in illegal activities for income and lifetime violent victimization.


Altheimer, I. (2010). An Exploratory Analysis of Guns and Violent Crime in a Cross-National Sample of Cities. Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 6(3). pp. 204–227.

Dahlberg, L.L., Ikeda, R.M. & Kresnow, M. (2004). Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 160 (10):929-936.doi: 10.1093/aje/kwh309

Finigan-Carr, N. M., Cheng, T. L., Gielen, A., Haynie, D. L., & Simons-Morton, B. (2014). Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to predict aggression and weapons carrying in urban African American early adolescent youth. Health Education & Behavior, 42(2), 220-230. Doi: 10.1177/1090198114548479

Johnson, S. D., Cottler, L. B., Ben Abdallah, A., & O’Leary, C. (2012). Risk Factors for Gun-Related Behaviors Among Urban Out-of-treatment Substance Using Women. Substance Use & Misuse47(11), 1200-1207. doi:10.3109/10826084.2012.694132

Koper, C. (2014). Crime Gun Risk Factors: Buyer, Seller, Firearm, and Transaction Characteristics Associated with Gun Trafficking and Criminal Gun Use. Journal Of Quantitative Criminology30(2), 285-315. Doi: 10.1007/s10940-013-9204-3

Monuteaux, M.C., Lee, L.K., Hemenway, D., Mannix, R. & Fleegler, E.W. (2015).Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime in the U.S.: An Ecologic Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Sharma, A., Sharma, J., & Pal, K. (2013). Family environment as a predictor of adjustment in adolescents. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology4(1), 193.

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