Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Grace Telesco

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Michael Kamorski

Abstract

Gun control measures, referred to as “risk protection orders” or “Red Flag” laws, are expanding with widespread public support. Currently, 19 states have similar legislation, varying in procedural approaches and enforcement to reduce firearm-related homicide, emphasizing mass homicide. However, little is known about whether the legislation is effective. The following questions are presented: (1) Is there a difference between rates of firearm related homicide incidences prior to and after the creation of Florida’s “Red Flag” law? (2) Do risk protection orders target individuals demonstrating known mass homicide offender typology characteristics? The study used data derived from open-source resources. An interrupted time-series analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of the intervention on firearm-related homicides. Data for firearms-related-homicides were obtained from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from 1999 to 2020, while suicide data were obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The study revealed that rates of firearm-related homicides statistically significantly increased after implementing the legislation, p=.003, adj.R2=47.7%, F(3,18)=6.889. Firearm-related suicide rates, on the contrary, decreased significantly after intervention, p<.001, adj.R2=65.3%, F(3,18)=14.169. Data of risk protection petitions (N =556) filed from March 2018 to March 2019 were collected from Pinellas, Broward, and Seminole counties. Bivariate analysis using a chi-squared test for association showed that statements involving intent to commit mass homicide (N=76) was negatively correlated with only one statutory variable, unlawful or reckless display of a firearm, but positively correlated with three of the added variables: (1) evidence of suicidal ideation; (2) evidence of planned revenge; and (3) evidence of precipitating factors, including strain. The fourth added variable, domestic violence, negatively correlates with the outcome.

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