Firearm legislation is a hotly debated topic in the light of recent mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and elsewhere. President Obama has introduced a firearm policy directed at curtailing firearm homicide. The literature on gun laws and their effect on crime are mixed. Some jurisdictions operate under strict firearm policies and others believe greater access to guns will deter potential criminals. This study uses social disorganization theory to test the effect of restrictive firearm policy in Chicago, Illinois from 1971 to 1993.

In particular, this thesis seeks to determine the rate of firearm homicides in the eleven years prior to the 1982 gun ban in Chicago versus the eleven years following 1982. Furthermore, social disorganization theory is tested when comparing gun murders in gentrifying communities to different community area types from 1983 to 1993. The results suggest Chicago’s 1982 ban may have lowered the city’s firearm murder rate during the eleven years after the ban. Moreover, gentrifying communities, while sharing common characteristics of social disorganization theory, had a moderating impact on firearm homicides. The odd ratios from 1983 to 1993 Chicago gun murders increased in every community area type as compared to gentrifying neighborhoods.

Date of publication

Spring 4-5-2016

Document Type




Persistent identifier



Masters in Criminal Justice