Friday, January 11, 2019

New Bureau of Justice Statistics Report Confirms Small Number of Criminals Get Guns Through Retailers

The Crime Report has this story that says there is very little proof that gun background checks cut crime.  They are able to make this statement thanks to a new Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report released yesterday that says Less than 2% of all prisoners obtained a firearm from a retail source and possessed (1.9%) or used (1.3%) it during their crime.
Overall, an estimated 287,400 prisoners possessed a firearm during their offense. Among prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 90% did not obtain it from a retail source. More than half (56%) of prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43%). Fewer than 1% had obtained the firearm at a gun show (0.8%).
These numbers are similar to other BJS studies of prisoners.  Now it is possible that after the background check was instituted in 1993 that criminals turned to other sources other than retailers for their guns but those looking to say there is a gaping "loophole" at gun shows where private sales are not required to under go background checks can take no solace from this report.  Less than 1% of the prisoners went to gun shows to get their guns.

Duke University public policy expert Philip Cook did tell the Crime report that it is possible that as state that dedicates resources to enforcing "universal" background checks will have good results but added not all programs are going to be equally effective.

We've already seen in states like Colorado that have "universal" background checks that even when a state dedicates large resources, much of that appropriation goes unused, mostly because the projected surge in background checks never materializes, either due to non-compliance, or more likely, the number of privates sales has always been overstated.

Either way, we have confirmation from the new BJS story that "universal" background checks will not reduce crime.

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