86 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 150 (1995-1996)
Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun

handle is hein.journals/jclc86 and id is 162 raw text is: 0091-.4169/95/8601-0150
THE JOURNAL OF CRIMiNAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY                   Vol. 86, No. 1
Copyright @ 1995 by Northwestern University, School of Law  Printed in U.S.A.
ARMED RESISTANCE TO CRIME: THE
PREVALENCE AND NATURE OF SELF-
DEFENSE WITH A GUN*
GARY KLECK
MARC GERTZ
I. INTRODUCTION
Crime victims used to be ignored by criminologists. Then, begin-
ning 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 accom-
plice 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 initi-
ated or contributed to the escalation of a violent interaction through
their own actions, which they often claimed were defensive.
Perhaps due to an unduly narrow focus on lower-class male-on-
male violence, scholars- have shown little openness to the possibility
that a good deal of defensive violence by persons claiming the moral
status of a victim may be just that. Thus, many scholars routinely as-
sumed that a large share of violent interactions are mutual combat
involving two blameworthy parties who each may be regarded as both
offender and victim. The notion that much violence is one-sided and
that many victims of violence are largely blameless is dismissed as
naive.
A few criminologists have rejected the simplistic mutual combat
model of violence, though they sometimes limit its rejection to a few
special subtypes of violence, especially family violence, rape, and,
more generally, violence of men against women and of adults against
* The authors wish to thank David Bordua, Gary Mauser, Seymour Sudman, andJames
Wright for their help in designing the survey instrument. The authors also wish to thank
the highly skilled staff responsible for the interviewing- Michael Trapp (Supervisor), David
Antonacci, James Belcher, Robert Bunting, Melissa Cross, Sandy Hawker, Dana R. Jones,
Harvey Langford, Jr., Susannah R Maher, Nia Mastin-Walker, Brian Murray, Miranda Ross,
Dale Sellers, Esty Zervigon, and for sampling work, Sandy Grguric.
I MARVIN E. WOLFGANG, PATRNs IN CRIMINAL HOMICIDE 245 (1958).

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