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Research Article

Armed Resistance to Crime
The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun

Crime victims used to be ignored by criminologists. Then, beginning slowly in the 1940s and more rapidly in the 1970s, interest in the victim’s role in crime grew. Yet a tendency to treat the victim as either a passive target of another person’s wrongdoing or as a virtual accomplice of the criminal limited this interest. The concept of the victim precipitated homicide highlighted the possibility that victims were not always blameless and passive targets, but that they sometimes initiated or contributed to the escalation of a violent interaction through their own actions, which they often claimed were defensive.

Gary Kleck is the David J. Bordua Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Florida State University and the author of Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control; The Great American Gun Debate: Essays on Firearms and Violence (with Don B. Kates); Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America; and Patterns of Firearms Ownership, Use and Regulation in Illinois (with David Bordua and Alan Lizotte).

Marc Gertz is a professor at Florida State University.

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