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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Gun Issues: Statistics and Reference

Guide for Library Research on Gun Issues



Here is a list of some statistical sources available for the John Jay College Library:

Criminal Justice Statistics Database List
A listing of all Criminal Justice databases that deal with criminal justice oriented statistics made available by the LLoyd Sealy Library. If you are accessing them from home, you will need a username and password.

General Statistics Database List
A listing of all Statistics databases that deal with general statistics made available by the LLoyd Sealy Library. If you are accessing them from home, you will need a username and password.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics
Statistics from the current Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics with ongoing updates and the archive back to 1994. The print version is available at the Reference Desk.

Statistical Abstract of the United States (Proquest)
Provides government statistics, business, trade and research information, and private and international statistical information. U.S. governmnet statistics go back to 1973 and private and state sources go back to 1980.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Provides statistics about crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government in the United States.

Uniform Crime Reports (FBI)
The FBI's compendium of crime statistics. It includes volumes from 1995 to the present. The print version is available at the Reference Desk.

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Statistics
A branch of the Justice Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is responsible for the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving guns, arson, and illegal alcohol and tobacco. This site lists ATF statistics.

Legal Rulings

Three key Supreme Court cases have dealt with modern interpretations of the second amendment:

Legal Rulings

Miller vs US 1939

307 U.S. 174, *59 S. Ct. 816, **83 L. Ed. 1206, ***1939 U.S. LEXIS 1162

This case, argued over endless by both second amendment supporters and gun control activists, set the tone for legal interpretations of the second amendment over the bulk of the twentieth century. Interpretations vary; on one end the case could be intepreted as supporting an individual right to bear arms but only on weapons that could be used for militia service while on the other end it could also be intrpreted as saying that citizens only have the right to bear arms if they are members of a militia and for no other reason.

 Heller vs DC 2008

554 U.S. 570, *128 S. Ct. 2783, **171 L. Ed. 2d 637, ***2008 U.S. LEXIS 5268

This case, having been decided relatively recently, settled the law if not the debate over the question of whether an individual citizen has the right to bear arms, deciding that a Washington D.C. ban on individuals having handguns in their homes was unconstitutional.

 McDonald vs Chicago 2010

130 S. Ct. 3020, *177 L. Ed. 2d 894, **2010 U.S. LEXIS 5523, ***78 U.S.L.W. 4844

This case, also having been decided relatively recently, clarified the question of whether the decision in Heller vs DC applied to the states or not via the 14th amendments Due Process clause. The court decided that it does apply to the states.


CQ Researcher
Comprehensive source of information on a wide variety of topics. Topics can be searched by typing in a term or selecting from a broad list of topic categories. Each entry contains an in-depth overview, pro and con arguments, a chronology of the important events related to the topic including legislation and court decisions, statistics and links to further information. This is a great database to use when beginning research on a topic.
CQ Supreme Court Collection
Easy-to-use database that provides overviews of Supreme Court cases,the Constitution and all concepts relating to these subjects. One can search using drop-down menus listing "Law and Society topics" or Constitutional articles and amendments. Click on "Supreme Court Encyclopedia" on the left side of the screen for overviews of constitutional topics.
Encyclopedia of the American Constitution
This encyclopedia contains informative essays on topics, people and theories pertaining to the Constitution and Constitutional law. This is a great "first stop" to research a concept or constitutional amendment. The encyclopedia also contains entries on court cases.
Gale Virtual Reference Library

Collection of fulltext articles from a wide variety of encyclopedias, dictionaries and reference books in a wide variety of disciplines (social sciences, law, history, etc). Articles may be printed, emailed or saved. Look for Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law which contains "practical guides dealing with the law and its everyday effect upon citizens." It is particularly usefule for finding detailed information about all aspects of firearm laws and contact information for various related associations. 

Opposing Viewpoints
Provides a concise summary and overview of the issue, including an explanation and narrative of the ethical, legislative, and social implications of the issue. Other reports are also available for each topic under the heading "Reference" The unique benefit of the database is that it provides news articles and scholarly or academic articles that support each side of an issue. Statistics and links to other sources are included as well.