Why Criminals Carry Guns

June 26 2009, 11:11 AM

Professors at two Colorado universities have completed a book featuring interviews with 67 state prisoners, all of whom committed crimes that involved guns. In "Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The Offender's Perspective," the criminals tell the professors that guns give them power in the world of street violence, providing an "often-overlooked" view on the factors that lead to shootings, writes The Denver Post. "It's an explanation really of what happened before, during and after the crime has been committed," says Mark Pogrebin, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver, who was joined by CU-Denver colleague Paul Stretesky and Colorado State University professor Prabha Unnithan. "Some of the participants told us about carrying guns in social situations--after work, at a party and so on--but a common thread that was repeated was the notion of a street code in which many of the felons believed that carrying guns was necessary for going out," Pogrebin adds in this press release, which points out that laws both limiting or expanding access to guns would have little impact on criminal behavior. Westword looks at the interviews, including one with a 28-year-old man named Zack who discusses shooting a man in the stomach: "I was gonna fight him, but I had a gun. Why fight, you know, when you have a gun?" In this month's edition of 5280, meanwhile, Eli Gottlieb explores Colorado's "gun-happy landscape."

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