Date of Degree

2-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Criminal Justice

Advisor

Valerie West

Advisor

Candace McCoy

Committee Members

Kitty Gelberg

Subject Categories

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Keywords

Cook's Index, Rural Urban Continuum, Firearm Suicide, Guns, Validation Test, New York

Abstract

Cook's Index is the most commonly used proxy for firearm prevalence. This research uses New York's Pistol Permits to measure legitimate firearm prevalence and compare it to Cook's Index. In this study, Cook's Index predicted impossible values for several counties that together contained a clear majority of New York State citizens. Cook's Index was also shown to be unreliable across types of counties. Rural and Urban counties had significantly different ratios of Cook's Index to Pistol Permits in New York. The models show a general finding that the relationship between Cook's Index and legitimate firearm ownership varies depending on the Rural-Urban Continuum. A more precise and non-linear model is needed to estimate the prevalence of firearms. Finally, the way in which Rural and Urban culture affect the use of firearms needs further research.

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