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Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The Offender’s Perspective

Mark Pogrebin, Paul B. Stretesky, and N. Prabha Unnithan
Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The Offender’s Perspective
ISBN: 978-1-58826-665-1
ISBN: 978-1-58826-843-3
2012/155 pages/LC: 2009009889
"This qualitative study succeeds in probing past false stereotypes and stereotypical definitions of criminal behavior.... [It] is a timely work that answers the critical questions of why and how these gun offenses occur.... An important read for academics and non-academics alike."—Contemporary Sociology

"Outstanding.... Superbly designed and executed, and full of insights into the attitudes of inmates who had committed gun crimes."—Randolph Roth, Criminal Justice Review

"Provides rich, firsthand insights into the extended motivations and justifications of offenders.... An excellent addition. Highly recommended."—Choice

"What comes through strongly from the [book's] interviews is the street code so deeply ingrained in many felons, including the notion that guns are just part of the essential equipment for going out on the town."—Alan Prendergast, Westword
"First rate, and the kind of work that is desperately needed.... This book fills a major gap in the gun violence literature."—Tomislav Kovandzic, University of Texas at Dallas

"This important and innovative book will have a significant and prolonged impact on our understanding of gun violence and its related prevention efforts."—Dean Dabney, Georgia State University


How are guns used and viewed by criminals? Where do criminals obtain guns? And how do laws make firearms more or less accessible? Confronting these contentious questions, Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior offers a comprehensive exploration of the social processes surrounding illegal firearm use and criminal behavior. 

The authors draw on in-depth interviews with felons convicted of gun-related crimes and previous quantitative studies to offer a fresh look at the key issues of gun violence. Highlighting the overlooked symbolic power of guns in criminal situations, their findings underscore the influence of social and cultural forces in affecting gun use.


Mark Pogrebin is professor in the department of criminal justice at the University of Colorado- Denver. His most recent book is About Criminals: A View of the Offender's World. Paul B. Stretesky is professor of sociology at Northumbria University, Newcastle. N. Prabha Unnithan is professor of sociology and director at the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice at Colorado State University. He is editor of Social Science Journal and coauthor of Currents of Lethal Violence: An Integrated Model of Suicide and Homicide.


  • Foreword—Jay Corzine.
  • Introduction: The Gun Offender’s Perspective.
  • Motives for Criminal Gun Use.
  • Guns and Street Gang Culture.
  • How Incarceration Shapes Views and Use of Guns.
  • Changing Concealed Carry Laws.
  • Conclusion: Limiting Gun Violence.