Universal Isn’t — 6 Comments

  1. Even though the Table 14 shows 2004 data, I see that its from the latest 2013 report,, so its not your fault this is 2004 data. Most likely, as they tighten the laws, this 40% number will increase.

    You’ve made a huge point.

    So what’s the solution? Making it easy for bad guys to get the guns legitimately doesn’t help anyone, but how do you stop the illegal trade?

    • John…
      The same way we do with illegal drugs. This is the honest answer.
      You can not live a risk-free life. Even if we could somehow do away with all guns, you would still be in danger from violent knife crime.
      Consider: entire wars were fought before guns. Violent crime does not rely on guns, but instead on people who want to commit violent crime.

  2. It is quirky that the BJS report presents 1997-2004 data. But I decided to triple check, and the May 2013 report has that table. That being said, the 2002 BJS “Firearm Use by Offenders” report has a similar table showing 1997, and the percentages were not materially different (39.6% for friends/family and 39.2% for street sources).

    As to the appropriate cure, I think we have to address the motivation for criminals to have and use guns. Changing gang-related inner-city learned behavior is a very tall order, but it is the root cause of the most addressable gun violence.

    Though I don’t have the funding (and hence the time) to perform a complete analysis, I deeply suspect addressing repeat violent offenders is the long-term approach. It was tried in California via both the 10-20-Life and Three Strike laws, and the effect appears to be amazing.

  3. If the BJS were to repeat these surveys today, I don’t believe the results would be that much different.
    Here’s a study that was just released by a college professor from the University of Chicago who asked convicts specifically what type of gun, where did you get it, and why did you choose that source. No surprises, unless you get all your gun news from Moms Demand.

    • I agree about the stats not changing much.

      The BJS had another report (“Firearm Use by Offenders, 2002) that had data from both 1991 and 1997. There was a significant shift from 1991 to 1997, but in that time violent crime was dropping, NICS was in works, California pass the 10-20-Life law, etc.

      The assumption is that criminals changed there MO and started doing more business through “friends/family” because crime gun purchases at retail declined as “friends/family” acquisitions increased.

      After 1997 the stats stayed stable until the 2004 data, which as you say would likely remain the same today.

  4. We have very effective, strict gun laws in this country. What we do NOT have are prosecutors who will prosecute gun criminals to the fullest extent of the law. And in those instances where the gun criminals are prosecuted, sitting judges do not give out maximum sentences. Politicians who scream for more gun laws don’t know what laws are currently on the books! Right now the easiest thing to do is just vote Republican so we can keep President Donald J. Trump in the White House, regain control of the House of Representatives and keep control of the Senate. Then President Donald J. Trump can do his job.

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