The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > General Discussion Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 10, 2019, 03:08 PM   #1
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 8,714
Where Criminals Get Their Guns

I thought this to be of interest, not all of it good news.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a report earlier this year titled Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016.. There are several interesting results but probably the most interesting is the result about where these prisoners got their guns. Keep in mind that the survey does not include criminals not in prison and that prison inmates may not be the most forthcoming.
  • 25.3% obtained the gun from an individual (with subcategories). Gifts or purchases for the prisoner accounted for 10.8% of guns used.
  • Only a total of 1.2% came from flea markets or gun shows.
  • A whopping 43.2% came from the street or underground market. This doesn't include the 6.4% obtained directly by theft.
Table 5, page 7.

The low rate obtained from flea markets or gun shows cuts against the argument for stricter regulation at these places. It's not entirely clear, but I believe this only includes purchases from merchants since it is lumped into the retail sales section.

On the other hand, the fact that 1/4th of the guns were obtained from individuals is potential ammunition to more strictly regulate private transfers. There is no mention if the 10.8% purchased or given to prisoners were straw purchases. That would probably be hard to track in this sort of survey.

Still, the fact that half the guns were obtained directly by theft or from an underground market (probably stolen) is proof that gun bans won't work to prevent criminal use of firearms.

Last edited by Unclenick; June 11, 2019 at 03:43 PM. Reason: typo fix
KyJim is offline  
Old June 10, 2019, 03:55 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 12,105
I once met a guy who had a friend who sold a gun (on a street corner, late at night) because he needed money. My acquaintance felt badly that his friend had to sell his gun, so my acquaintance put the word out, and a week or two later he bought the gun back, on a street corner, late at night. FWIW, face-to-face transfers of handguns were not legal in my state at the time (and are not legal in my state today).

A different friend is an FFL. His previous location was on the fringe of the inner city. One day he had a young man come in looking for 9mm ammunition. so my friend sold him a box of 9mm ammunition. The next day the young man came back with a friend and complained that the ammunition wouldn't go into his gun. He brought the gun, so my friend the FFL took it and tried to show the kid how to load it. The gun was a Beretta 92.

And my FFL friend couldn't get the 9mm ammo to load in the magazine. He happened to look down at the gun and he saw on the side

BRUNI MOD 92
kai 8mm k - made in Italy

Right -- it wasn't a Beretta, it was an 8mm blank-firing gun that the kid had bought thinking he was getting a real Beretta. Needless to say, the kid took a lot of ribbing from his companion. But the story doesn't end there. Several days later a young man walked in looking for a box of 9mm ammunition ...

https://blankgunarmory.com/bruni-8mm...iring-pistol/#

Which is an amusing little story, but it illustrates where bad guys are getting their guns, and it shows why all the background checks in the world aren't going to make any difference. The people selling stolen guns on dark street corners late at night are NOT going to call NICS to get authorization for the transfer to be processed.
Aguila Blanca is online now  
Old June 11, 2019, 05:56 AM   #3
Hal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 8,117
Interesting....

Which begs the legal question of:

What would be the criminal charge - if any - of selling a blank gun to someone & fooling them into thinking they are buying a real full auto M92?

I can see where meeting up with some punk and ripping off a burst of blanks - full auto- and then quickly exchange the blank gun for $500 could be a real easy way to make money.
Hal is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 11:36 AM   #4
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 12,105
Quote:
Interesting....

Which begs the legal question of:

What would be the criminal charge - if any - of selling a blank gun to someone & fooling them into thinking they are buying a real full auto M92?
Let's not go there.

I used the story only to offer anecdotal but real-world evidence of the futility of expecting background check and waiting period laws to make any dent on the availability of guns used in crimes. As the article reports, criminals aren't buying guns in gun stores, or at gun shows. Anti-gun activists may dispute this, but if I -- just one person -- know personally of multiple "late night, dark street corner" purchases, in my small corner of the universe, how many such incidents must there be across the country as a whole?

The blank gun story is amusing, but the important fact is it could just as easily have been a real Beretta 92. The two dudes (or duds) who bought it certainly thought it was.
Aguila Blanca is online now  
Old June 11, 2019, 12:02 PM   #5
Prndll
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2017
Location: Texas
Posts: 123
Here is an answer the the question:

Police: 4 in custody after 7 break into Spring Branch gun shop, lead police on chase
https://www.click2houston.com/news/p...olice-on-chase
__________________

Texas State Rifle Association

<====Angels and ministers of grace defend us!====>
Prndll is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 01:54 PM   #6
Fishbed77
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2010
Posts: 4,586
Quote:
On the other hand, the fact that 1/4th of the guns were obtained from individuals is potential ammunition to more strictly regulate private transfers.
Of course, we are relying on criminals to honestly communicate that these firearms were legally rather than illegally obtained.
Fishbed77 is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 02:37 PM   #7
zukiphile
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 13, 2005
Posts: 3,461
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishbed77
Of course, we are relying on criminals to honestly communicate that these firearms were legally rather than illegally obtained.
Maybe they only polled the ones who assured the pollster they were wrongly convicted.
zukiphile is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 03:38 PM   #8
TailGator
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 3,585
Quote:
25.3% obtained the gun from an individuals (with subcategories). Gifts or purchases for the prisoner accounted for 10.8% of gun used.
Were straw purchases in this category? I would expect them to be a significant proportion of guns used in crime.
TailGator is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 03:38 PM   #9
L2R
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 5, 2010
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 331
Data regarding flea market would not curb anyone.

If it saves just one life is used often to refute real numbers.

(everyone here knows that is half the story that is rarely told)
__________________
L2R


Evil cannot be reduced thru Legislation!
L2R is offline  
Old June 11, 2019, 09:14 PM   #10
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 8,714
Quote:
Were straw purchases in this category? I would expect them to be a significant proportion of guns used in crime.
It doesn't really say, but I assume straw purchases are included in this category as they are guns purchased by someone else for the prisoners.
KyJim is offline  
Old June 12, 2019, 12:14 AM   #11
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 22,319
From the article:
Quote:
An estimated 287,400 prisoners had possessed a firearm during their ofense. Among these, more than half (56%) had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it of the street or from the underground market (43%). Most of the remainder (25%) had obtained it from a family member or friend, or as a gift. Seven percent had purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm dealer.
Direct theft--6%. The criminal found with gun personally stole it directly from the previous owner.

Found it at the scene of the crime--7%. I'm not sure how this is different from stealing it. It wasn't their gun, they committed a crime and were found with the gun, claimed they "found it at the scene of the crime" and yet, somehow it wasn't actually "stolen"? If a crook commits a crime against me and then "finds" one of my guns at the scene of the crime and has it in their possession when they are apprehended, I'm pretty sure they stole it from me. I sure didn't give it to them. They didn't steal it ahead of time in preparation for the crime, but they surely stole it at some point.

Obtained it from the street or underground market--43%. Let us think, for a moment, about all the ways a gun could get onto the "underground market" or be sold "on the street". I can think of some potentially legal ways for that to happen, but it's not hard to see that, as the link indicates, theft is clearly a large source of "underground market" guns.

Obtained it from a family member, friend, or as a gift--25%. Again, how did these family members and friends get these guns? Some were, no doubt, legally purchased guns, but criminals often have criminal family members and criminal friends and it stands to reason that at least some of the guns being passed around between these people as "gifts" are stolen.

Purchases from licensed dealers--7%. This is the one source for criminals' guns that we can be fairly certain does not include stolen guns.

Anyway, when we start thinking about what the stats mean, instead of just looking at them, the picture is a little different.

Maybe it's true that only 6% of criminals actually personally go out before a crime and steal the guns they intend to use in a crime. But the idea that the other sources don't involve stolen guns doesn't hold water. What it comes down to is that a much larger percentage of guns used in crime are stolen, not just 6%.

Here's another article related to this topic:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...?noredirect=on

Let's cut through all the crap and just look at the bottom line:
"In the study, led by epidemiologist Anthony Fabio of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, researchers partnered with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to trace the origins of all 893 firearms that police recovered from crime scenes in the year 2008.

They found that in approximately 8 out of 10 cases, the perpetrator was not a lawful gun owner but rather in illegal possession of a weapon that belonged to someone else."
Frankly, I don't care if they stole it themselves before the crime, bought it on the black market from someone else who stole it, got it as a gift from someone else who stole it, or stole it at the scene of the crime.

The bottom line is that criminals get their guns illegally, and 80% of the time (at least in the Pittsburgh study), the guns being used in crimes were NOT owned by the person using the gun in the crime.

Other similar studies provide varying results, but it seems safe to say that somewhere around half of guns used in crime belong to someone other than the criminals using them. Maybe it's really important to some people to know that only 6% of criminals actually do their own gun stealing while a much larger percentage prefers to buy guns someone else stole, but I don't think it really makes much difference to most people.
__________________
Do you know about the TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old June 12, 2019, 01:01 AM   #12
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 12,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Other similar studies provide varying results, but it seems safe to say that somewhere around half of guns used in crime belong to someone other than the criminals using them. Maybe it's really important to some people to know that only 6% of criminals actually do their own gun stealing while a much larger percentage prefers to buy guns someone else stole, but I don't think it really makes much difference to most people.
Point of order, Sir. The fact that a particular goblin didn't directly steal the gun he had in his possession at the time of his arrest doesn't prove that he didn't steal guns. He might have belonged to the back-alley weekly gun swap club, in which the local gangstas all meet on their favorite street corner every Thursday night, look at all the guns each has stolen over the past week, and play "I'll trade you this S&W Shield for that Glock 29."
Aguila Blanca is online now  
Old June 12, 2019, 08:54 AM   #13
riffraff
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 21, 2016
Posts: 520
There are so many guns in the US, probably many more than they try to estimate because NIC's checks do not necessarily constitute one sale (ie when I buy I tend to put in order together and routinely buy 3 to 5 guns via one check when the stuff all arrives, when people buy 10 stripped lowers etc.. etc..), and there are many guns from before there were checks etc.. etc..

Once the guns float into the grey market, ie become "cold steel" where somebody died and an estate was liquidated (legally or illegally), they are stolen, or otherwise get into circulation - they tend to stay in circulation - and this has been going on a long long freakin time. I don't know when they started tracking serial numbers to the point where they can go back to where guns were originally transferred but that hasn't been going on forever either.

The really bad guys have ways to get piles of guns, imported if needed. There are probably bad guys building/finishing receivers and selling them at a 4X premium by the case to other bad guys..

Meanwhile many states, ie NH is one, you can't legally sell a pistol to somebody you do not know who lacks a permit. Sure, a felon might be able to buy a rifle but those aren't what show up in crimes..

If they really cared about private sales potentially supplying felons it would be very easy for police to setup a sting - ie procure 10 shotguns, rifles, whatever, list them private sale - buyer is surprised by police upon meeting the seller, if the buyer checks out they get a gun, if they don't they get arrested - that would net up all those bad guys trying to get guns private sale and make the rest think twice.

I guess in short, even if gun shows or private sales were the source, which they aren't, there are so many guns in circulation you can't treat them like some rare thing that's hard to obtain on the street - they are out there and will always be. And then catching criminals trying to buy guns private sale would be very easy. Attempting to close all "loopholes" in the law hurts everyone, is very difficult, and won't work anyway.
riffraff is offline  
Old June 12, 2019, 03:07 PM   #14
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 12,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by riffraff
If they really cared about private sales potentially supplying felons it would be very easy for police to setup a sting - ie procure 10 shotguns, rifles, whatever, list them private sale - buyer is surprised by police upon meeting the seller, if the buyer checks out they get a gun, if they don't they get arrested - that would net up all those bad guys trying to get guns private sale and make the rest think twice.
Maybe in states where face-to-face sales between private parties are legal this is a potential venue for crooks to get guns. I live in a state where face-to-face sales of handguns hasn't been allowed in living memory, and that was expanded to include long guns a number of years ago. The same is true for many (dare I say "most"?) of the northeast states. If all legal handgun sales have to go through an FFL, you can be fairly confident that the bad guys are not getting their off-the-books handguns by responding to ads in Craigs List. They just put the word out on the street that they're looking to buy or sell a gun, the word reaches the interested party, and the deal is consummated on a dark street corner or in a vacant apartment or house somewhere.
Aguila Blanca is online now  
Old Yesterday, 06:58 PM   #15
TDL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 25, 2013
Posts: 283
I think we need to keep in mind that there is a fungiblilty, a whack-a-mole, phenomena as well. I do some work with a major federal regularly agency on behalf of a couple of clients, and there are quite powerful substitution effect forces in such environments.

In other words if we determine a given channel or mechanism that is the source of 30% of guns used in crime; even completely shutting down that channel would not mean a 30% overall reduction, and may well result no reduction at all in acquisition and use by criminals.

For the channels that are illegal, eg straw purchase, I'd like to see data on average time served as well.
TDL is offline  
Old Today, 03:07 PM   #16
spacemanspiff
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 16, 2002
Location: alaska
Posts: 3,447
Quote:
25.3% obtained the gun from an individual (with subcategories). Gifts or purchases for the prisoner accounted for 10.8% of guns used.
Only a total of 1.2% came from flea markets or gun shows.
A whopping 43.2% came from the street or underground market. This doesn't include the 6.4% obtained directly by theft.
I'm going to have to call cow-poop on these stats. For the past two decades at the very least we have been inundated with reports that 142% of criminals are buying guns without background checks from gun shows or on the internets.
__________________
"Every man alone is sincere; at the entrance of a second person hypocrisy begins." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." - Soren Kierkegaard
spacemanspiff is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07826 seconds with 9 queries