Gun Type Risks in Battered Spouse and Police Shooting Scenarios

Glenn E. Meyer, Trinity University
Tiffany N. Gerondale, Trinity University
Christine Kiriazes, Trinity University

Weapons appearance may influence jury simulations in gun usage situations. Assault rifles have led to stiffer recommended sentences than other types of firearms. We termed this a gun type risk. These effects may vary by gender of shooter and subject. we test two scenarios. First, a woman, seemingly suffering from Battered Wife's Syndrome, uses various weapons to kill her husband. The question of interest was whether the type of weapon used would influence the jury decision. we found that unlike our previous scenarios, weapons type and gender were not significant factors in verdict, sentence or juror confidence. The premeditated action seems to outweigh the weapons factor. A second scenario was based on a real police shooting. An officer arrived at a convenience story robbery where shots were fired. As the three victims fled from the store, the officer mistakenly shot them. We investigated whether the gender of the officer and the weapon used influenced several hypothetical decisions: a criminal verdict and sentence, department sanctions and confidence in the subjects' decisions. Both college students and police officers were subjects. Of interest is the comparison of the layperson and the profession as well as officer gender, subject gender and gun type.

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Updated 05/20/2006