Committee Chair

Dierenfeldt, Rick

Committee Member

Basham, Sherah; Hancock, Katelyn; Iles, Gale


Dept. of Criminal Justice and Legal Assistant Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Criminologists have long noted the exacerbated rates of firearm-related offending in the United States in comparison to other developed nations. There has been a renewed focus on gun crime in the wake of a recent dramatic reversal of the long-trending decrease in firearm-related violence. Explorations of the factors that contribute to firearm offending are often restricted to large metro areas like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia—which may have limited generalizability to more common small and medium sized cities in the United States. This study attempts to address this concern through examination of the factors that contribute to firearm re-offending among arrestees in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Specifically, multi-level analysis is used to explore the relative influence of neighborhood conditions, arrestee demographics, gang involvement, and offense characteristics on the odds of repeat firearm offending among a sample of individuals arrested for gun crimes committed between 1/1/21 and 4/30/23 (n = 937).


First and foremost, I must extend my gratitude to Dr. Dierenfeldt. His guidance proved invaluable throughout this process. As predicted, I underestimated the enormity of the task at hand, but thanks to his unwavering support, I prevailed over my own self-sabotage and the daunting blank screen and created a thesis I can truly be proud of. I am also indebted to Dr. Basham, Dr Hancock, and Dr. Iles who generously devoted their time to serve on my committee and champion my thesis. Their willingness to prioritize my endeavor amidst their already demanding schedules humbles me. Finally, I want to recognize the entire faculty and staff of the Criminal Justice Department and the Graduate School at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Choosing to pursue my master’s degree at 34 amidst raising four children was no small decision. However, the exceptional individuals within these departments became pillars of support- offering intellect, empathy, and passion throughout my time at the university. Their contributions have left an indelible mark on my life.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




Firearms--Law and legislation--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Firearms and crime--Tennessee--Chattanooga; Juvenile recidivists; Recidivism--Tennesee--Chattanooga--Statistics


gun crime; firearm offending; juvenile crime; criminal justice; gun violence

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 47 leaves