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April 05, 2004

Some Random Noise on Guns and Crime.

From the Bureau of Justice Statistics :

Offenders

According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from -

-a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
-a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
-family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%

NB: Note that huge loophole at work here. 2%. Vice the 12% that came through legally licensed dealers - who are either crooked or not doing their job (doing s/n checks on firearms coming into the store). The one stolen weapon I ever owned I bought properly (as in doing the paperwork) at a retail store, and when I subsequently resold it - the dealer buying it ran the s/n and it turned out to be stolen. I had to give the merchant his money back. And the police returned the pistol to it's rightful owner. The original dealer said, "Tough shit, not my fault." That got him a visit from the ATF. I never did get my money back, but he doesn't sell guns anymore, either. So, why all the noise about gun shows and flea markets? Simple. Good press, and a seemingly easy kill, though that hasn't really turned out to be the case. All shutting those venues down will do is shift the stuff back into the much-harder-to-catch column - the street, and stealing 'em. Ask the Brits and Aussies how well shutting down legal gun-sales venues has helped their firearms-related violence numbers.

During the offense that brought them to prison, 15% of State inmates and 13% of Federal inmates carried a handgun, and about 2%, a military-style semiautomatic gun.

On average, State inmates possessing a firearm received sentences of 18 years, while those without a weapon had an average sentence of 12 years.

Among prisoners carrying a firearm during their crime, 40% of State inmates and 56% of Federal inmates received a sentence enhancement because of the firearm.

Just thought y'all might be interested.

Don't believe me? Wanna look for yourself? Right here.