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Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1986
247 pages
A self-administered questionnaire completed by 1,982 inmates imprisoned in 10 States throughout the United States focuses on the criminal acquisition and use of firearms, a typology of armed criminals, patterns of weapons ownership and use, the effects of socialization on weapons behavior, motivations to carry arms, confrontation of the armed victim, the criminal as a firearms consumer, patterns of gun acquisition, gun theft, and substitution patterns under handgun controls.
Based on data regarding the acquisition of firearms by the respondents, legitimate firearms retailers play a minor role as direct sources of the criminal handgun supply. Most of the respondents obtained weapons from theft, either directly or indirectly. Weapons obtained through cash or trades from friends or relatives were most likely stolen weapons. This suggests that the weapons market for felons can only be seriously affected by thwarting weapons theft and the informal sale of weapons. Regarding a ban on the manufacture or sale of cheap handguns, the study data indicate that the handguns preferred and most recently owned by the respondents, particularly those most inclined to use guns in crime, were more expensive, larger handguns. When respondents were queried about their response to various types of handgun controls, there was no indication that such controls would result in the use of less lethal weapons. Respondents would either secure more expensive, larger handguns or resort to the use of sawed-off shoulder weapons. Tabular data, subject index, 65-item bibliography. For individual chapters, see NCJ-118889-98.

Date Published: January 1, 1986