The Corner

U.S.

New Report on Where Criminals Get Their Guns

From the Department of Justice. It’s nothing earthshattering, but it’s a good update to old surveys of prison inmates.

Among prisoners serving time for a crime during which they possessed a gun, about half got their weapons either on the underground market (43 percent) or through theft (6 percent). Meanwhile, 10 percent bought guns from a retail source, including 0.8 percent who bought them at gun shows.

Another 11 percent of the time, someone else bought the gun for them, either as a gift or as a straw purchase (situations I wish the survey separated). Roughly 15 percent got guns from family and friends (buying, renting, trading, borrowing). And 12 percent of the time, the guns were either brought to the crime by someone else or found at the scene.

An obvious policy implication is that it would be very difficult to regulate most of these transactions — the underground market is by definition unregulated; people in criminal social networks are not going to follow gun laws; theft is already illegal; licensed dealers already conduct background checks. A fair counterargument, though, is that most guns begin life with a legal sale from a dealer, so there may be ways to stop guns from entering the illegal market to begin with.

Most Popular

Elections

Will Biden Live Up to His Own Principles?

In the midst of the Democrats’ campaign to deny Brett Kavanaugh confirmation to the Supreme Court, Lawfare’s editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes, took to the pages of The Atlantic to argue that traditional concepts of due process were not applicable under the circumstances. Justice, he wrote, was merely an ... Read More
Elections

Will Biden Live Up to His Own Principles?

In the midst of the Democrats’ campaign to deny Brett Kavanaugh confirmation to the Supreme Court, Lawfare’s editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes, took to the pages of The Atlantic to argue that traditional concepts of due process were not applicable under the circumstances. Justice, he wrote, was merely an ... Read More
Media

The Political Media Are Failing America

Here are some of the public figures and institutions that Americans hold in higher esteem than the media according to Gallup: Hospitals Their child's school and daycare centers State governments Their employer CDC and NIH Mike Pence Donald Trump Congress Only one institution that Gallup ... Read More
Media

The Political Media Are Failing America

Here are some of the public figures and institutions that Americans hold in higher esteem than the media according to Gallup: Hospitals Their child's school and daycare centers State governments Their employer CDC and NIH Mike Pence Donald Trump Congress Only one institution that Gallup ... Read More