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Background Checks and Homicides — 5 Comments

  1. I have a question

    The “crime guns in strict gun law areas disproportionately come from lax law areas” is primarily based on ATF Firearms Trace Data.

    That data has this

    “ The firearms selected for tracing are not chosen for purposes of determining which types, makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes. The firearms selected do not constitute a random sample and should not be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or any subset of that universe. Firearms are normally traced to the first retail seller, and sources reported for firearms traced do not necessarily represent the sources or methods by which firearms in general are acquired for use in crime.”

    Is this disclaimer that firearm trace data is not even a random sample enough to pit serious doubt in the hypotheses “ “crime guns in strict gun law areas disproportionately come from lax law areas”?

    • You misread the ATF’s definitions.

      Traces are requested by local law enforcement agencies for guns that they have confiscated. Hence the “larger universe” of crime guns are those not recovered.

      What is true is that police normally only request traces for crime guns, for there is little reason to trace non-crime guns.

  2. Traces are requested by local law enforcement agencies for guns that they have confiscated. Hence the “larger universe” of crime guns are those not recovered.

    So wouldnt that still mean that the data isnt reliable enough to make the claims of a nationwide iron pipeline?

    • Sundry FBI/ATF reports also disclose the type of crime for which the gun was associate. The number of guns being trafficked is always at the bottom of the list.

      Apply critical thinking here based against the known universe of knowledge:

      1) Nearly all confiscated crime guns ar traced.

      2) Of those, nearly none are being trafficked.

      3) ATF trace reports show the bulk of guns come from inside the same state as the crime, and most of the rest from neighboring states (typically vis legal migration).

      Now, as to your concern: Felon interviews show their acquire guns in local underground markets. These are well supplied with recirculated guns and stolen guns (all local events). This include guns not recovered. Hence, the ATF trace reports remain the most comprehensive data source for evaluating many elements. In 2020, the ATF performed nearly 500,000 traces (contrast to approx 11,000 gun homicides). Clearly, this remains a gold standard data source.

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