Where Criminals Get Their Guns

by
posted on February 8, 2013
oneshot2015_fs.jpg (2)

Across all media these days the information is far from accurate when it comes to the culture war waged against gun owners. The topic the other day on a Fox News program was Chicago’s “gun problem.” Of course everyone knows Chicago’s problem is crime committed by thugs who disobey the law, but that didn’t stop one woman from insisting “universal” background checks would cut down the number of guns on the city’s streets. Believe it or not I actually heard her say, “A lot of criminals get their guns from gun stores.” Really? Let’s look at the facts.

A 1997 Justice Department survey of more than 18,000 state and federal convicts revealed the truth:

• 39.6% of criminals obtained a gun from a friend or family member
• 39.2% of criminals obtained a gun on the street or from an illegal source
• 0.7% of criminals purchased a gun at a gun show
• 1% of criminals purchased a gun at a flea market
• 3.8% of criminals purchased a gun from a pawn shop
• 8.3% of criminals actually bought their guns from retail outlets

Note that less than 9 percent of all guns obtained by criminals in this survey came from retail outlets, hardly “a lot” compared to the almost 40 percent of convicts who obtained guns from friends or family or the almost 40 percent who obtained them illegally on the street. The gun-show loophole? Less than 1 percent of criminal guns came from gun shows. Nothing there, either.

The survey data were analyzed and released in 2001 then revised in 2002, but while the eye-opening details are more than 10 years old it’s hard to believe criminal responses have changed much over the last decade.

“Universal” background checks won’t work. The fact is we have them now. Anytime a law-abiding citizen purchases a gun from a brick-and-mortar or online retailer, pawn shop owner or private dealer—essentially any licensed dealer who sells more than a handful of firearms per month—he or she must submit to a background examination via the National Instant Check System. What’s more, it is already a crime to knowingly transfer a gun to someone who is not authorized to possess one. Neither safeguard has stopped criminals from doing what they do—break the law. How so-called “universal” background checks will stem the tide of guns in Chicago—or anywhere else—is lost on me.

Latest

HH 09SLN A Render 2
HH 09SLN A Render 2

First Look: Heat Hog Blind Heater

Looking for a way to stay warm in your deer or duck blind this late season? The Heat Hog portable propane heater may be just your ticket.

How to Field Judge a Pronghorn

Failure to consider all aspects of a pronghorn buck’s headgear could lead to ground shrinkage. Here’s how the “Rule of 6’s” and three important “X-Factors” play crucial roles when field judging hard-to-judge speed goats.

#SundayGunday: Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410

Get a closer look at the Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Why Your State Fish and Game Agency Needs to Build More Public Shooting Ranges

The surge in gun sales and shooting sports participation in recent years has fueled the need for ever-more places to shoot. Here’s an in-depth look at how state fish-and-game agencies use funds collected from excise taxes paid by gun and ammo buyers to build public shooting ranges.

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Debating Anti-Hunters Part II

The author had an exchange about the local coyote population in Northern Virginia with a woman on social media. Their discussion serves as a good follow-up to his last article on handling anti-hunters.

Mozambique Common Sense Hunting Tips

Hunters should always be on the lookout for know-how they can use. On a buffalo hunt in Mozambique, the author was all too happy to soak up some bushcraft that can be of use to us all in North America.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.