Perceived Effects of Concealed Handgun Ownership by Private Citizens Among Law Enforcement Officers in Texas

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Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security


On January 1, 1996, a new law took effect in Texas granting certain state citizens the privilege to carry a concealed handgun on their person for the first time since 1871. As a result of this dramatic shift in state law, Texas is now among the growing number of states across the nation who have adopted similar statutory provisions in one form or another. While at least one empiricals study of citizen’s attitudes toward concealed handgun ownership was conducted prior to the law’s effective date, no similar efforts were undertakens to assess the beliefs, perceptions and attitudes of the state’s law enforcement officers about this important social policy. The present study was therefore undertaken in response to the lack of serious attention which the issue of concealed handgun ownership among private citizens has received as it directly relates to the law enforcement profession. Subjects for this study (N=327) were drawn from four Texas law enforcement agencies representing various organizational sizes and missions. While the responses of officers who participated in the study indicate optimism about the law’s potential to deter various types of crime, they also reflect a certain degree of concerns about concealed handgun ownership among private citizens especially as this policy directly relates to perceive inadequacies in statemandated requirements and issues affecting officer safety.

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Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology





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