Stricter gun laws don’t stop criminals from obtaining guns
The passage of tougher gun-control laws in the U.S. in the 1990s may have deterred criminals from buying guns at firearms stores and flea markets. But it didn't stop them from arming themselves. They simply obtained them from family members and friends. Nearly 40 percent of American state prison inmates in 1997 who used or possessed a firearm during a crime got the weapon from a friend or relative compared to 34 percent in 1991.
That is the conclusion of a report issued yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department, authored by Caroline Wolf Harlow.
Over the same period, the proportion of inmates who brought or traded for their gun at a pawn shop, flea market or retail outlet fell from 21 percent to 14 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of state prisoners who used guns to commit their crimes rose from 16 percent to 18 percent between 1991 and 1997.
Federal prisoners followed the same trend, increasing their gun possession from 12 percent to 15 percent over the same period.
"What this shows is that making it harder for stores to sell guns does nothing to deter criminals from getting weapons," Jeffrey Wendell, a criminal justice professor at the University of Texas, comments.
Source: Associated Press, Weapons Laws Alter Acquisition Patterns, Washington Times, November 5, 2001.
For text http://www.washtimes.com/national/20011105-91316327.htm
For U.S. Department of Justice http://www.usdoj.gov
For more on Crime & Gun Control http://www.ncpa.org/iss/cri/
FMF Policy Bulletin\13 November 2001
Publish date: 20 November 2001
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.