Saturday, April 06, 2013

Where do criminals actually get their guns? What about the gun show loophole?

When President Obama announced his gun-violence task force results back in January, he declared:
“The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun.  But it’s hard to enforce that law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” [Emph. added]
Does this mean that we should close the "gun show loophole"?  The most recent numbers on this come from a 1997 survey (full text available here) conducted by the US Bureau of Just Statistics.  Here is the actual data (from p.10) on where criminals got their guns:
Source: US Bureau of Justice Statistics
Gun shows account for a statistically insignificant 1.7% of guns possessed by criminals.  That is because criminals get their guns overwhelmingly from the sources one would expect: friends, family, drug dealers, the black market, and theft.

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