An Examination of the Situated Transactions of Firearm Homicides

Pizarro, J. M., Holt, K., & Pelletier, K. R. (2019). An examination of the situated transactions of firearm homicidesJournal of behavioral medicine42(4), 613-625.


This study employs a mixed methods approach, using quantitative analysis to discuss significant patterns, and qualitative analysis to provide descriptive accounts of homicide incidents. Seven hundred and five homicides that occurred in a northeastern city between January 1999 and December 2007 are examined to answer the following research question: Do the situated transactions of firearm homicides differ from those involving other weapons? The quantitative analyses found distinct patterns in offender intent, criminogenic tendencies, and situational attributes between firearm and other weapon homicides. The qualitative analysis revealed that firearms are most often utilized in homicides that can be understood as “doing crime,” where offenders and victims are engaged in a criminal lifestyle and firearms are an extension of this activity. Other weapons are associated with homicides concerned with “establishing moral order,” or defending values and ideals, between individuals who are intimate. The methodological and policy implication of these findings are discussed.