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Gary Kleck

Kleck's recent research on illegal gun markets has found that organized gun trafficking is largely irrelevant to the arming of America's criminals, and that high-volume trafficking is virtually nonexistent. Instead, gun theft is central to the channeling of guns into criminal hands. Other recent research has found that higher general gun ownership rates reduce homicide rates, probably because the violence-reducing effects of guns among noncriminal victims and prospective victims outweigh the violence-increasing effects of guns among criminals.

Gary Kleck

David J. Bordua Professor of Criminology
314B Eppes Hall


Ph.D. 1979, University of Illinois at Urbana; Sociology
M.A. 1975, University of Illinois at Urbana; Sociology
B.A. 1973, University of Illinois, with High Honors and with Distinction; Sociology

Courses Taught

  • Research Design and Causal Inference
  • Survey Research
  • Criminology
  • Applied Statistics
  • Regression
  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Law Enforcement
  • Research Methods in Criminology
  • Violence Theory Seminar
  • Crime Control
  • Assessing Evidence
  • Guns and Violence

Research Interests

  • Gun Control
  • Deterrence
  • Crime control
  • Violence

Select Publications

  • (with James C. Barnes) “Article productivity among the faculty of criminology and criminal justice doctoral programs, 2011.” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 22(1).
  • (with James C. Barnes) “Deterrence and macro-level perceptions of punishment risks: is there a “collective wisdom?” Crime and Delinquency 2013.
  • (with James C. Barnes) “Do more police generate more crime deterrence?” Crime and Delinquency (forthcoming).
  • Kleck, Gary, Brion Sever, Spencer Li, and Marc Gertz. 2005. “The Missing Link in General Deterrence Research.” Criminology 43(3):623-659.
  • Kleck, Gary and Jongyeon Tark. 2005. “Resisting Crime: The Effects of Victim Action on the Outcomes of Crimes.”  Criminology 42(4):861-909.
  • Kleck, Gary and Theodore Chiricos. 2002. “Unemployment and Property Crime: a Target-Specific Assessment of Opportunity and Motivation as Mediating Factors.” Criminology 40(3):649-680.
  • Kleck, Gary and Don B. Kates. Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control . N.Y.: Prometheus Books. Selected to Choice Current Reviews for Academic Libraries' 39th annual “Outstanding Academic Title List,” awarded for “excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to their field, and their value as an important treatment of their topic.”
  • Kleck, Gary and Michael Hogan. 1999. “A National Case-control Study of Homicide Offending and Gun Ownership.” Social Problems 46(2):275-293.
  • Kleck, Gary. 1997. Targeting Guns: Firearms and their Control .  Hawthorne, N.Y.: Aldine de Gruyter.
  • Kleck, Gary and Don B. Kates, Jr. 1997. The Great American Gun Debate: Essays on Firearms and Violence . San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.
  • Kleck, Gary, Charles Crawford, and Ted Chiricos. 1996. “Defendant's Race and Sentencing as a Habitual Offender.”  Criminology 36(3):481-511.
  • Kleck, Gary and Marc Gertz. 1995. “Armed Resistance to Crime: the Prevalence and Nature of Self-defense with a Gun.”  Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 86(1):150-187.
  • Kleck, Gary. 1991. Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America .  Hawthorne, N.Y.:Aldine de Gruyter. Winner of the Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology.
  • Gary Kleck. 2009. “Guns and crime.” Pp. 85-92 in 21st Century Criminology: A Reference Handbook, edited by J. Mitchell Miller. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Gary Kleck. 2009. “How not to study the effect of gun levels on violence rates.” Journal on Firearms and Public Policy 21:65-93.
  • Gary Kleck. 2009. “The worst possible case for gun control: mass shootings in schools.” American Behavioral Scientist 52(10):1447-1464.
  • Gary Kleck and Shun-Yung Wang. 2009. “The myth of big-time gun trafficking.” UCLA Law Review 56(5):1233-1294.
  • Gary Kleck and Tomislav Kovandzic. 2009. “City-level characteristics and individual handgun ownership: effects of collective security and homicide.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 25(1):45-66.
  • Gary Kleck, Marc Gertz, and Jason Bratton. 2009. “Why do people support gun control?” Journal of Criminal Justice 37(5): 496-504.


  • Testing a Fundamental Assumption of Deterrence-Based Crime Control Policy, $80,590, awarded by the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation to study the link between actual and perceived punishment levels, 1997.