1st Edition

Gun Crime in Global Contexts

By Peter Squires Copyright 2014
    418 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    418 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Every year around three-quarters of a million people die (directly or indirectly) as a result of gun violence, with most deaths occurring in the poorest, yet also most highly weaponized parts of the world. Firearm proliferation -- 875 million global firearms -- is a direct contributor to both regional conflicts and to crime. This book attempts to understand the inter-related dynamics of supply and demand which are weaponizing the world.

    Now over ten years after Peter Squires’s Gun Culture or Gun Control?, the issues pertaining to gun violence and gun control have developed dramatically. With Gun Crime in Global Contexts, Peter Squires offers a cutting-edge account of contemporary developments in the politics of gun crime and the social and theoretical issues that surround the problem. This book contains:

      • an innovative political analysis of neo-liberal globalization and weapon proliferation;
      • an overview of recent gun control debates and gang strategies in the UK;
      • an updated analysis of US gun politics: self-defence, race and the ‘culture war’;
      • a critical analysis of US school and rampage shootings, how they have impacted the gun debate and how different societies have responded to mass shootings;
      • an examination of the UN's development of an Arms Trade Treaty (2001--13);
      • a discussion of weapon trafficking;
      • discussions about youth gangs around the world, including those in Brazil, Kenya, West Africa, Mexico and South Africa.

    With its interdisciplinary perspective and global reach, this book will be important reading for academics and students interested in youth and gang crime, violent crime and comparative criminal justice, as well as peace and security studies and international relations.

    Section 1: Introduction  1. Guns as a global issue  Section 2: Safe European Home?  2. Gun Crime in the UK: The Supply-side Story  3. Consequences of UK Gun Crime: Politics, Policy and Policing  Section 3: The land of the Free and the Home of the Gun  4. American exceptionalism? Weaponising the Neo-liberal Homeland  5. American Gun Crime: Themes and Issues, violences and silences  6. "Tell me why I don’t like Mondays": School and ‘Rampage’ Shootings  Section 4: Global Dimensions  7. The ‘American Dream’ and the Kalashnikov Nightmare  8. When the Shooting stops: from national responses to global arms control  9. Conclusion.


    Peter Squires has been a Professor of Criminology and Public Policy at the University of Brighton since 2005, having worked at the Univesity of Brighton since 1986. He has published ten books (single or jointly authored, or edited), and has made numerous contributions to journals and other media. Professor Squires has a significant media profile, contributing regularly to TV, radio and news media debates on crime and criminal justice, and was profiled in The Guardian’s ‘leading academic experts’ series in 2007 [http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/oct/16/academicexperts.society]. His teaching and research interests extend across many sub-divisions of contemporary criminology, but specifically gun crime and gun control, gangs and youth crime. Professor Squires recently joined the ACPO Police National Independent Advisory Group on Criminal Use of Firearms.

    ‘In the hyperbolic issue of gun control, comparisons of gun habits across nations are too often made based on too little credible analysis. Squires’s sensible cross-national examination of the gun issue from a truly international perspective brings welcome sobriety and thoughtfulness to this pressing and timely subject.’ - Robert J. Spitzer, Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, The State University of New York College at Cortland, USA

    ‘Peter Squires’s impressive new book provides a rigorous and authoritative examination of recent developments in gun crime and gun control and their inter-relationships. Applying a criminologist’s perspective, the book not only provides a detailed and revealing analysis of trends in gun crime and control measures in the contrasting cases of USA and UK, but also situates these in the wider context of firearms deaths and injuries across the world, in developed, industrialising, fragile and conflict prone states, and of global efforts to improve regulations on gun flows. Strongly recommended.’ - Owen Greene, Director, Centre for International Co-operation and Security, University of Bradford, UK

    ‘Admirable for its international perspective and scope of thought, this is a "must-read" for anyone who wonders where the world is heading with guns. Squires examines current debates: gun crime and spree shootings, domestic violence and "gun culture", the UN and global gun trafficking – then breaks open emerging discussions: the militarisation of self-defence and the neo-liberalisation of firearm ownership. This is the breadth of canvas we need to draw effective policy.’ - Philip Alpers, GunPolicy.org

     'Synthesizing five communities of academic interpretation in the gun proliferation and violence debate - criminology of gun violence, conflict studies of failed states, studies of weapon proliferation or trade, ethnography of violence and peacemaking, and the inter/national politics of gun control - Squires concludes that the metaphor of the authoritarian Western game of chance - rock, paper, scissors - may be used to illustrate the concept of the separation of unequal powers in liberal democracies that permit the hegemony of the powerful gun lobby, despite overwhelming evidence that the gun is a defective product that does more harm than good to the social contract... Summing up:Highly recommended.' - Onwubiko Agozino, Professor of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Choice Review, January 2015

    "Peter Squires is one of the leading criminologists focusing on gun crime, and his latest book is a substantial global survey of the issue. Running to 400 pages, this impressive volume draws on an extensive and growing literature covering the extent of gun crime, the dynamics of the international small arms trade, and the political debates and legislative attempts to regulate gun proliferation and use. This book will likely serve for several years to come as the most useful starting point for anyone seeking an introduction to the area. Squires rightly advocates an interdisciplinary approach, arguing that only the combined efforts of such disciplines as criminology, politics, war studies, international relations and development studies can hope to grasp the dynamics of what has become a truly global phenomenon." - John Lea, Honorary Professor, University of Leicester, British Journal of Criminology