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New Evidence Confirms What Gun Rights Advocates Have Said For A Long Time About Crime

Law­ful gun own­ers com­mit less than a fifth of all gun crimes, accord­ing to a nov­el analy­sis released this week by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pitts­burgh.

In the study, led by epi­demi­ol­o­gist Antho­ny Fabio of Pittsburgh’s Grad­u­ate School of Pub­lic Health, researchers part­nered with the Pitts­burgh Bureau of Police to trace the ori­gins of all 893 firearms that police recov­ered from crime scenes in the year 2008.

They found that in approx­i­mate­ly 8 out of 10 cas­es, the per­pe­tra­tor was not a law­ful gun own­er but rather in ille­gal pos­ses­sion of a weapon that belonged to some­one else. The researchers were pri­mar­i­ly inter­est­ed in how these guns made their way from a legal pur­chase — at a firearm deal­er or via a pri­vate sale — to the scene of the crime.

All guns start out as legal guns,” Fabio said in an inter­view. But a “huge num­ber of them” move into ille­gal hands. “As a pub­lic-health per­son, I’d like to be able to fig­ure out that path,” he added.

More than 30 per­cent of the guns that end­ed up at crime scenes had been stolen, accord­ing to Fabio’s research. But more than 40 per­cent of those stolen guns weren’t report­ed by the own­ers as stolen until after police con­tact­ed them when the gun was used in a crime.

One of the more con­cern­ing find­ings in the study was that for the major­i­ty of guns recov­ered (62 per­cent), “the place where the own­er lost pos­ses­sion of the firearm was unknown.”

We have a lot of peo­ple with a lot of guns,” Fabio said, ref­er­enc­ing sta­tis­tics onthe large num­ber of guns in cir­cu­la­tion. “And some of them aren’t keep­ing track of them for dif­fer­ent rea­sons — maybe because they have a lot of them and they don’t use them that often.”

A num­ber of fac­tors could lead to legal firearms enter­ing the black mar­ket. Own­ers could mis­place them, or they could be stolen — either through care­less­ness on the owner’s part (leav­ing a gun in an unlocked car, for instance) or deter­mi­na­tion on the part of thieves.

It’s also like­ly that many guns on the black mar­ket got there via straw pur­chas­es — where a per­son pur­chas­es a gun from a deal­er with­out dis­clos­ing that they’re buy­ing it for some­one else. This is ille­gal under fed­er­al law. One poten­tial sign that straw pur­chas­ing is a fac­tor in the Pitts­burgh data: Forty-four per­cent of the gun own­ers who were iden­ti­fied in 2008 did not respond to police attempts to con­tact them.

The top-line find­ing of the study — that the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of gun crimes aren’t com­mit­ted by law­ful gun own­ers — rein­forces a com­mon refrain among gun rights advo­ca­cy groups. They argue that since crim­i­nals don’t fol­low laws, new reg­u­la­tions on gun own­er­ship would only serve to bur­den law­ful own­ers while doing lit­tle to com­bat crime.

But Fabio’s research sug­gests that this strict dichoto­my between “good guys” and “bad guys” isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly help­ful for fig­ur­ing out how to keep “good” guns — those pur­chased legal­ly — from get­ting into “bad” hands. And there may be mod­est, non-bur­den­some ways to help keep guns in the hands of the good guys.

Read The Full Sto­ry Here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/27/new-evidence-confirms-what-gun-rights-advocates-have-been-saying-for-a-long-time-about-crime/

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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