View Full Version : Research question

02-19-2009, 11:56 AM
Does anyone know how many of the gun crimes that occur every day happen with illegal firearms as opposed to legally owned ones? I realize this question becomes quite foggy when in most states a gun does not need to have its serial number registered to its rightful owner. Is there a resource that will give me this sort of information, or is it considered confidential and only accessible to those involved? It would be a very interesting study to find out how many guns used in crimes were owned rightfully and lawfully.

02-19-2009, 1:53 PM
The data isn't broken out that way, so far as I can determine.

Lots of other info here: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/guns.htm

A little bit of info is known from state prison inmates surveyed in 1997:
In 1997, 14% of State inmates who had used or possessed a firearm during their current offense bought or traded for it from a retail store, pawnshop, flea market, or gun show (table 8). Nearly 40% of State inmates carrying a firearm obtained the weapon from family or friends. About 3 in 10 received the weapon from drug dealers, off the street, or through the black market. Another 1 in 10 obtained their gun during a robbery, burglary, or other type of theft.

02-19-2009, 4:56 PM
I can't find it now, but I once read a study by the FBI on firearm assaults on officers. They interviewed officers and suspects in about 100 cases. From memory:

99% of the weapons were obtained illegally
100% were carried concealed
0% used a holster
the suspects practiced shooting at least twice as much as the cops (and had much higher accuracy)

Here's another great resource (the one I found when searching for the old study) from the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2006/federalofficers.html

Download the tables into Excel, and you can get totals and easily figure out some interesting statistics. For example, in 2007, on the national average, firearms were the the tools of 68% of murders committed. In CA, they were used in 71.4% of murders. In NH, they were used in 63% of murders. Alaska enjoyed far less gun violence at 48.8%, but Vermont (the other unregulated carry state) endured a rate of 75%. (To be fair to Vermont, they only had 12 murders, so each murder represents more than 8% - two more knifings or clubbings and they're on par with the rest of us.) What does this prove? Probably nothing. It seems to show that places with less restrictive gun laws suffer fewer deaths by guns - though without thorough statistical analysis, it's hard to tell if the data even has any relevance at all to gun laws.

Also interesting, 109 officers were assaulted with firearms, injuring 7 (7/109=6.42% injury rate). 96 officers were assaulted with vehicles, resulting in 29 injuries (29/96=30.2% injury rate). From this data, we may consider vehicle possession to be almost 5 times as dangerous to officers as firearms possession.

Hopefully this helps your research.