Monday, July 14, 2014

Interesting Survey on Illegal Gun Sales

New York Times
A recent survey of gun dealers on illegal transactions yields new information on how criminals obtain guns.
Conducted by Garen J. Wintemute,  a renowned gun researcher , public health expert and professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of California at Davis, thesurvey canvassed 1,601 federally licensed dealers and pawnbrokers in 43 states on how often attempts were made to acquire guns illegally and how sellers reacted to such attempts. Before the survey, there were almost no answers to those questions.

Among the findings, 67 percent of sellers had experienced at least one attempted straw purchase in the year before the survey, for an estimated 2,051 attempts, while 43 percent had experienced at least one attempted undocumented purchase.  Extrapolated to nearly 10,000 similar sellers nationwide, that works out to 33,800 attempted straw purchases a year, and 37,000 attempted undocumented purchases. Firearm theft was also common.
The respondents said they refused the sales when they detected illegal purchase attempts, but most did not subsequently alert law enforcement or other retailers.
The survey also asked the dealers and pawnbrokers for their opinion of the prevalence of other retailers’ knowing participation in illegal sales. The median estimate was 3 percent. Extrapolating to roughly 57,000 retail licensees in the United States as of mid-2012, that’s an estimated 1,719 dealers and pawnbrokers nationwide selling firearms illegally.
Asked what motivated gun retailers to sell guns illegally, the number one reason was “he wants the extra income,” followed by “he thinks there is little risk of being caught and prosecuted,” and “he is supplying guns to a specific criminal group or extremist organization.”

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